Q: What is the difference between an “individual session” and a “workshop”?
A: An individual session is when a client works with Dana or one of her clinicians on a one to one basis (with parents). An initial assessment is completed and follow-up therapy/training is individualized based on the client’s identified areas of need. The topics and tools covered in workshops are considered to be “good for all”, regardless of individual learning needs. These include tools for organization, note taking, essay writing and/or studying.
Q: What should I expect at the first session?
A: The first session is used to assess the client’s needs and to determine which assistive technology tools will be necessary to help make school easier and more accessible for that individual. Dana uses an informal assessment procedure that gets the students involved right away in a variety of empowering activities on the technology, in order to determine the “best fit”.
Q: How many sessions will my child need to learn all of the tools and strategies that Dana or her clinician recommends?
A: This varies for each student and is dependent on many factors, however, the average number of therapy sessions, following the initial assessment, is 3-5.
Q: What do I need to bring to the first session?
A: Copies of psycho-educational assessments, IEPs, report cards and any other relevant reports should be brought to the first session. It is not necessary to bring anything else.
Q: Why iPads?
A: Dana has been working in the field of technology for over 20 years and has watched it evolve from what is now “outdated” technology to tablet devices. Given the nature of tablet devices, a student is able to capture information and demonstrate his/her knowledge in ways that are not possible on a computer. The multi-sensory/multi-dimensional input and output tools on tablets means there is something in it for everyone, no matter what type of learner. For example, instead of taking notes by handwriting on paper or typing in a word processing program, students can make use of such tools as keyboarding, writing and drawing with a stylus, audio and video recording, dictating, highlighting, etc.
Beyond all of that, students love to be able to touch, move and create directly on the screen and it has been able to captivate even the most distracted learners.
Q: What about computers?
A: Technology on computers, while similar, is not as easy to use as the iPad. Everything you can do on a computer can be done on the iPad, but in a much simpler and more motivating way. Dana has seen the positive change in students’attitude towards use of technology for school since making the switch to tablets.
Q: Can you access school board software on the iPad?
A: The Ministry of Education has made certain assistive technology programs available to students identified with a variety of different learning needs. The most commonly used programs are Dragon Dictate, Smart Ideas, and WordQ. Other commonly used programs are Kurzweil and Read and Write Gold. Although you can’t run computer software on iPads, each of these programs has an equivalent (exact or similar) on the iPad. For example, WordQ has an iPad app called iWordQ and Dragon is built directly into the iPad’s keyboard.
Q: My child’s school said that they can’t support the use of iPads. What should we do?
A: We have found that in almost all of the situations, the schools are simply unaware of how the iPad can be used to support the learning process. We have found that once students show their teachers what they can do on the iPad, the school teams are not only impressed, but also very supportive. One of the unique features of the iPad is how easy it is to use. Students gain proficiency and independence quickly on the iPad and require little to no support from their teachers. This is a big difference from the current computer technology.
Q: If my child uses assistive technology to help with his school work, will it be considered cheating?
A: ABSOLUTELY NOT! Is it cheating to wear glasses if your vision is not perfect? Is it cheating to use a wheelchair if you can’t walk? We are all wired differently and all learn differently. It does not mean that the student is any less intelligent, capable or worthy of a stimulating education. Using supportive tools to compensate for areas of “difference” enables students to learn and demonstrate their knowledge at a level that is consistent with their intellectual capabilities. Is it “cheating” to listen to an audio book? Is your knowledge different from that of someone who read it with her eyes? Moreover, what if you dictate an email or report using Siri? Is it not actually your writing? Why then is it considered cheating when our students use these same tools?
If you have a child or student who struggles with reading and writing, remediation of these skills is still very important, but that learning should not affect a student’s ability to fully participate in the classroom. Remediation can occur during “non-disruptive” times, including after-school.
For any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!