* A Week of Silence

I hope you enjoy reading Catlin’s amazing adventure as she spends a week in silence, using assistive technology.  For some folks, losing their voice might come after a lifetime of natural communication.  For others, like one of my students, gaining a voice is both exhilarating and frustrating.   Caitlin experiences exactly what my student does: misunderstandings and awkwards delays.  Uncertainty from those around her.  

My student also struggles with invalidation: He is not TRULY communicating.  Mrs. Everson, you are acting like a Ouija board, manipulating what he says or what you want to hear.  While it’s true that I miss some of his signals, just imagine the heartache of not being heard OR believed.  Thank goodness for low tech eye gaze and the awesome Tobii Dynavox!  And thank you, Caitlin, for sharing your experiences. 



Hey all! Hope you are all well! Thank you for your continued support and kind words! I really couldn’t have done it without all your support! So I guess I will start with how my day started! I decided to have a home day as I had a few odd jobs around the house to […]

via Day 4- The Slip Up… — Week of Silence

* Smartbox

SmartBox is an assistive technology company which designs hardware and software for eye gaze use.  Their Look to Learn eye gaze activities are excellent, allowing for initial success and subsequent growth in targeting.  Not only does Smartbox provide fun games and challenges, but each activity captures your student’s eye movements in images similar to heat mapping.  This makes it easier to determine where your kiddo needs more help focusing and provides feedback for teachers, parents, and kids.  In the coloring activity below, the burnt orange color shows where my student focused his eyes the most.  Clever!

burnt orange 2

For more information on Smartbox activities, here’s a terrific video.  I’m sure you’ll find the burnt orange color in this, too.

Thank you, Jennifer Wells, for your Color Your World crayola blogging challenge!

* Eye gaze charts

I’ve been asked about low tech eye gaze charts.  I’m an experimenter with these, not an expert.  I made the two charts below using clear acrylic sheets and permanent markers. I like clear eye gaze charts so I can watch the student’s eyes as we use the charts.  I can also point to something and get an easy confirmatory response (such as looking at me through the chart).  Black electrical tape around the edges protects my student from sharp edges!

This 12′ by 24′ chart (resting on a white board so the letters are visible) is for word responses that need to be spelled.  My student uses this during the writing process if I haven’t included specific words in the First Author word banks.

eye gaze 1

I use the chart below for most eye gaze interactions.  I provide two to four answer choices (A,B,C, or D) or ask for a simple YES/NO.  I flip the board around, depending upon what kind of answer choice is needed.  I am going to cut another 12′ by 12′ board because this chart is too long and bumps into trays or a desk when I hold it at the student’s eye level.  eye gaze 2

Here’s a link to other types of eye gaze charts: Writing with Alternative Pencils.  If you have experience using eye gaze charts, I love to hear about it!