Thursday, 1 April 2010

I can... use my switch!

April 2010
Switches can be used to allow kids with physical disabilities to participate in a variety of activities including reading a book, playing on the computer, playing with a toy, making art, cooking, listening to music, taking photographs and making a movie. Get your students participating in fun and functional activities with their switch!

I can use my switch to get online!

Using a switch to access a computer can be a great way to get kids excited about using their switch.  If the program you are using only requires the equivalent of a click of the mouse, you can connect a switch to a switch adapted mouse. If the program needs some other key (space bar, enter etc.) you will need to connect your switch to a switch interface.  Check out some of these switch interfaces:  

I can use my switch to read on the computer!

·   Tar Heel Reader is a website with a collection of switch accessible books for all ages.  You can also create your own book to add to the collection.  Once you’ve selected a book, choose a voice on the left hand side to have the book read aloud.

·   Tumblebooks is an online library of children’s books.  Although this website is not specifically for switch users, books can be accessed with a switch by placing the mouse cursor over the turn page button and ensuring that the mode is set to manual. 

·   In London, you need to enter in your library card to access the books: click on the Tumblebooks link on the left hand side and enter in your library card.

·   In other communities check your local library website to see if you they have a subscription.  Some libraries do not require you to enter in a library card.  For example, if you go to the Waterloo Public Library website, you can click on the Tumblebooks icon on the left hand side of the screen.
·   Bookshare is a website that requires a subscription.   You can download e-books and use free software (Don Johnson’s Read Outloud) to have the books read aloud. You can place a cursor over the read button and have the student read at their own pace.

I can play online switch games! 

I can use today’s technology!
·    Check out this link to information on a switch adapted camera, camcorder and mp3 player:

No-Tech Ideas

·     Create a low-tech picture display of all the switch activities that your child can participate in, to allow for choice making. A symbol representing the activity can also be placed on top of the switch to reinforce the symbol/activity connection.

Light Tech Ideas

·     Try using an adapted switch toy.  Here are some commercially available products:
·     To see some switch adapted toys in action, type “Switch Adapted Toys” in the YouTube search box.
·     A switch toy interrupter cable makes simple battery operated toys switch accessible.  See a ‘how to’ video:
·    Care of Switches: To prevent damage, do not wrap the cord around the switch.  Instead, secure the wire to itself with an elastic.  When removing the switch from a port, hold the switch by the plug instead of pulling the cord.

High Tech Ideas

·     Use Ablenet’s Powerlink to connect a switch to a mixer, tape recorder or other simple electronic device.  Kids can then use their switch to turn the device on/off.  See these links for great ideas on how kids can use switches to participate in a variety of activities: 


I Can … be a star!

If you have a success story that you would like to share in the I Can Newsletter, please let us know. Our contact information can be found at the bottom of the page. 

October 21- 23rd, 2010
Minneapolis, Minnesota

This year's conference builds on a tradition of providing a comprehensive examination of the most current uses of technology by persons with disabilities and the professionals who work with them. 
Come and learn, first-hand, about the products and best AT practices and strategies by and for teachers, therapists, clinicians, parents and end users alike. See this link for more information and pricing:
Provincial (BC) Integration Support Program (PISP) Website
This website has exceptional videos and resources for classroom teachers and educational assistants.  Be sure to check out:  “How to..Videos” under the Videos and Tutorials section.

·   TVCC Equipment Services:  Clients of TVCC can borrow equipment (through their therapist) including jelly bean switches (11), switch adapted mice (13), toys and switch adapted equipment (38) and powerlinks (2). 

·   TVCC Resource Centre:  The following cause and effect software is available for clients of TVCC to sign out: Attention Teens, Switch Basics, Press to Play Zoo, Press to Play Speedy and Songs I Sing at Preschool.

·   Cause and Effect Software to Purchase: