Staff at Teepee Creek School describe Grade 4 student Liam Brumwell (above) as a friendly, kind hearted, hardworking and creative boy. After a diagnosis of communication delays in Kindergarten, the school-based collaborative team consisting of Liam's classroom Teacher, the school Principal, a Speech Language Pathologist, an Inclusive Education Learning Coach, and his Educational Assistant recommended supportive strategies to address Liam's desire to communicate with others.
An Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device was trialed based on its ability to promote communication skills growth while fostering personal language development. With the help of his dedicated and tech-savvy Educational Assistant, Kimberley Green, Liam began learning to use his AAC device in Grade 3.
The school purchased an iPad and a symbol-supported app called Proloquo2Go to reflect what Liam was using on his personal iPad at home. The first time Liam was able to participate in science class discussions by raising his hand and playing "his voice", his classmates and the adults in the room were reduced to tears.
The school reports that Liam's actual speech is becoming much clearer, thanks to the literacy activities and fun challenges Mrs. Green provides, in combination with his daily iPad use. They love sharing jokes, and earlier this year, Liam created and presented AAC in the Classroom, an informative slideshow for younger students.
"Using the ACC device is an integral part of Liam's day," says Naomi Anderson, Liam's Grade 3-4 teacher. "Liam has gained confidence in his abilities to communicate in class and with his friends. It has been wonderful to watch Liam grow as an independent student because of his device and Mrs. Green's guidance."
Mrs. Green has continued to support Liam at a distance since schools transitioned to home learning in March.
"To find out on a Sunday that Liam wouldn't be returning to school was terrifying," says Heather Brumwell, Liam's mother. "Right away, Mrs. Green and Ms. Anderson created a game plan for him. It was comforting to know as a parent that the largest support system in our lives was still there, but in a new way. Watching how Mrs. Green uses an iPad to teach Liam to communicate and learn is amazing. She is able to unlock ways to help him learn, even from the other side of a computer monitor. She encourages, motivates and challenges us to use his iPad in our everyday lives. I appreciate the support more than words can express. We are so lucky to have her in our life!"
In Liam's words, "Home school is great! I love Mrs. Green!"
Educational Assistant Kimberley Green (right) has continued to support Liam (left), a Grade 4 student with communication delays, since schools transitioned to home learning in March.