I am a Teacher Consultant of Visually Impaired Students in Northern Central Michigan. I have been able to use the LightAide with some of my students and wanted to share some of the experiences I have had with it.
First, I took it to the home of a low-vision 2-year-old. Her mom found a plug to power it on and we got started.
The little girl did a great job with the tracking programs. She especially liked two activities:
- I put it on the “Column Tracking” program and she was able to focus and visually follow the light across the page. She even began to look for the light at the left after the page was full.
- When I put it on “Track the Dot” she visually followed the dot across the LightAide and looked for it at the left when it went to the next line. I was impressed that she was able to track it so consistently!
I have a preschool student with severe multiple impairments who was only watching what was going on around him. I took the LightAide into his classroom and tried it with him. I started with just a solid color while I was positioning him. I could tell he was immediately attracted to it.
Here are some of the ways this student interacted with the LightAide:
- I used the “Name the Color” program and clicked the switch myself to move through the colors. He was very attentive to it and even reached for the LightAide.
- He uses head switches so I positioned the switch so he could hit it with his head. Almost immediately he connected the changing colors with hitting the switch.
- I positioned him as close to the LightAide as I could and put the switch by his head. He immediately began clicking through the colors. When it was on the blue he would leave it until he bumped the switch and it changed. He would then rapidly click through the red and yellow and green until it was on the blue again. He was demonstrating a preference for something for the first time!
I explained to his teacher and aide what he could do with it and they were surprised. I left the LightAide in the classroom with him and provided instruction to the staff on how to use it. I would love to try it with other students, but his response to the LightAide was so amazing that I could not take it away from him. They are excited to have a tool to begin to develop cause and effect. Before I left they were brainstorming all of the ways he could now participate in the group instruction with the LightAide.
The district I am working for does not have the money to purchase more. I am filling in for another Teacher Consultant for Visually Impaired while she is on maternity leave and had just met these students I have told you about. I am just getting started with my business, Living Without Looking, to assist school districts to continue services for students with visual impairments when they are struggling to find qualified staff to provide them. If there is any way I could get a LightAide for my business I would do so, because I would love to demonstrate it to staff across North Central Michigan who work with students and show them what a difference it can make.
Thank you for developing this very useful and visually attractive tool. It is already making a difference is one student’s life and I am sure will have an impact on many more!
Jennifer Burch is a Teacher Consultant for Visually Impaired and a Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist in Northern Central Michigan. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.