Barbara Smith holds the Communiclock for Sabrina, who uses the device to participate in circle time alongside her peers.
With the help of Helen Virga, Brockton's computer specialist, Barbara Smith, a teacher at the Diagnostic Center in Brockton, Massachusettshas, has discovered a range of technologies that enable her students with disabilities to participate in all aspects of her typical preschool curriculum. Barbara's classroom moved from a self-contained model to an integrated model two years ago. About the change she says, "Integration is easily twice the work in terms of preparation, but when we consider the progress these kids have made, we could never go back."
Integrating students with disabilities into a classroom with non-disabled children presents many challenges. How will children who cannot speak make themselves heard? How will students who have limited movement participate in activities with their peers? And how can students achieve some degree of independence so that they can interact without adult help?
These are just some of the issues that Barbara Smith has tackled in her classroom of 14 children, 8 of them typically developing and 6 with severe speech and physical impairment (SSPI).
All of Barbara's students with disabilities share a strong need for augmentative
communication strategies to help them interact. Barbara has always relied on relatively
simple approaches such as communication boards and picture charts, and has only in the
past two years turned to more sophisticated computer-based tools to supplement these
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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts. NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013. Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information. If you do so, please cite NCIP. Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government. This site was last updated in September 1998.
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