Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Letter to Communication Supporters

Tonight I got back from Philip's school open house wondering how I could help Philip's teachers maximize their success with supporting Philip in his communication methods at school.  At school Philip uses both a letterboard and a bluetooth keyboard for an iPad to communicate with his teachers.  He communicates with his lead teacher, a speech pathologist, a teacher's assistant, and 2 classroom aides.  As to be expected, his teachers vary in their ability to work with Philip.  With one teacher, Philip can produce sentences.  For a few, he types 1-2 word responses.  And with the brand new aide, he is still struggling to even get a word out.  Some days he is better than others.  What were the reasons for this, we all wondered.  How could Philip better show what he knows with different people and with better consistency?

When I got home, it was already 9 in the evening.  I asked Philip if he wanted to write a letter to his teachers to explain how they could best support him.  I gave him the option to write it tomorrow, but he wanted to write it now.  It was that important to him.  I thought Philip's letter was very insightful and asked if he would like to share it on his blog as it might help others in a similar situation.  "Yes," he typed.  So here it is... (typing is kept as is from his Assistive Express App)

dear teachers, to help support me, you should believe i can do it. hope for the best. try hard to wear each day a daring smile. dare to try reaching me by seating me in some real nice chair. i reallize i am too tiring sometimes. you each will do best if you understand i am trying my hardest. you really don't need to lecture me so much. i am open to erasing stims to answer. to help me drop stims, drop bead of sweat by witholding talking about how trying i am and instead hold me to each task to finish. outwardly i look defiant but i so so much want to open up to you. you have futility when you are unsure of yourselves. i can feel your tension and that blocks me from writing. try to relax with me. you are healing kids from torment of silence when you reach out to me with desire to really get to know me. from, philip

First Day of 6th Grade


1 comment: