This was an emotional day for me. First of all I dropped Asa off at his last day at his old school and with his very first public school teachers. When Asa turned 3 and I was so nervous about leaving him with someone these ladies were the perfect fit! The class was small, they gave him all the time and attention he needed to adjust and grow, and I really couldn't have asked for a better fit! I'm excited for Asa's growth and development but I'm so sad to see this season pass!
After I dropped Asa off I headed to another school to watch a special presentation by Assistive Technology developer, RJ Cooper. He has developed apps, programs, switches, buttons, keyboards, etc that open up technology and communication to kids and adults with all kinds of disabilities. I really thought it would be kinda dry since most techy stuff is above my head! But it was amazing!! Truly amazing! Mr. Cooper was so good with the kids. He was so funny and personable.
He worked with one boy who could only use his foot to tap a button but that was all he needed to give Mr. Cooper a buzz from a connected massage toy. The little boy just lit up when he realized his foot button had made this silly grown man jump and hop around!
Then he used a head switch with a little girl diagnosed with Rhett's. One of her choices was "music" and he asked her therapist what kind of music she preferred...rap, hip hop, rock, heavy metal. The therapist replied just kiddie music and Mr. Cooper said that wouldn't do! She was 12 and she needed teenage options! He picked Hammertime! It only took once or twice before the little girl realized she could play the music by moving her head and she gave that button a workout! Again, she liked watching Mr. Cooper dance!
He used a 2 choice touch screen program for a girl with autism. She could request "goldfish" or "make friends". The "make friends" option was a big deal for her and just watching him introduce her to new people was eye opening. I learned a lot today. He said to be specific when cheering these guys on. Don't just say "good job" add why your proud...."good job by choosing to make friends". He also said that although this technology is great it isn't a baby sitter. You can't just sit a kid in front of an iPad and expect them to understand how to get their thoughts out! It's still work! Greeeaaatt!
I'm excited because tomorrow Asa will get to work with Mr. Cooper! I'm glad I went today to observe because there was tons of cheering and that's not how Asa rolls! I've realized asa is very intune to our facial expressions and tone of our voices. A huge grin and soft "great job" work just as well as cheering for a reward. A frowning face and low voice upsets him as much as yelling does. This makes it very hard to get onto the other kids!!! But that's another blog post! Tomorrow should be fun!
Oh and there's some YouTube videos by RJ Cooper if you want to check them out! Maybe I'll have one of Asa tomorrow night. Or I'll be too busy playing mom to video!