Discussion document about appropriate 'Communication Aids' for Deaf Children
The system allows speech and text to be saved for later re-use by the child or teacher or parent (eg to go over the work again explaining any words/concepts not understood and correcting any errors, both for the benefit of the child and to improve future recognition by the system).
Since the speech recognition system requires a laptop computer, the child could also use the laptop with other software (eg word-processing) if the specification ensured it did not degrade speech recognition performance.
The hardware will have to be very robust and portable. It is possible to use a remote wireless screen for the child. This would mean that the laptop (used by a teacher, learning support assistant or other staff member), would not need to be carried around a room by the child as the laptop screen would be replicated on the wireless screen.
Whether gathering thoughts about today's news or writing up a science experiment this type of programme is proving very successful with many ToDs and their pupils.
Look for easily accessible word processors - many with pictorial menus and most now talking eg Write out Loud, Textease and even Word will speak with help from some of the software programmes.
Whilst a dedicated notetaking system such as Stereotype is effective in some situations the remote touch sensitive screen linked to a Panasonic laptop has allowed several students the freedom to remain with a peer group without an adult 'velcroed' to them and still have access to a laptop situated remotely. Not only can a CSW type in 'minutes' of the lesson but the pupil concerned can also control the laptop from the remote screen and so be able to use various programmes.
One gizmo that dyslexic pupils find useful at a more advanced level is the Quickionary scan pen (www.dyslexic.com) Other possible materials were covered by Abi James in the Dec 2002 Magazine
Many digital cameras can record short video clips so a video camera is not essential. For those lucky groups with digital video cameras the ‘firewire’ technology means that filmed sequences can be transferred quickly to a computer. The new Windows platform XP provides a movie maker editing suite as part of the package. There are many helpful Magazines and courses are being developed to facilitate ToDs who want to use this technology.
Digital cameras offer a host of uses within education including:
One exciting development is the use of video conferencing with isolated deaf pupils in rural areas, providing and sharing quality training without having to travel huge distances (or even negotiate traffic jams!) for services and course providers. Most of the University training ToD courses also use electronic contact in various forms to enable students to take part in courses, do research and keep in touch with tutors.
Spice up coursework
Reminding deaf children of sequences, or what has happened at home to elicit language and conversation is greatly enhanced when photography is used. Getting familiar with digital (and therefore ‘instant’) photography (both still and video) will enable you to help your deaf youngsters produce some excellent work.
Improving language skills
Co-writer 4000 has such exciting possibilities when you are familiar with the programme - even suggesting the correct grammatical structure - that you will soon find it an essential tool on your computer. For secondary-aged pupils and those writing their dissertations for higher degrees Draft Builder is a valuable tool. Not only does it help to structure essay writing but it also has a bibliography and resource reference constructor so the painful task of finishing off a good piece of work is minimised.
DCCAP discovered many deaf youngsters who have cerebral palsy (CP) and who have no identifiable provisions made to help them. There are several articles available in BATOD Magazines in past years and the SCOPE website is also able to help.