“If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.”
-- Ignacio Estrada

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

DynaVox Mayer-Johnson

I thought that I would include a very well known site for this posting. A recent merger between DynaVox Inc. (primarily known for their voice output devices) and Mayer-Johnson (primarily known for creating the Boardmaker software) has created DynaVox Mayer-Johnson. According to their website, it is the”leading provider of speech generating devices and symbol-adapted special education software used to assist individuals in overcoming their speech, language and learning challenges.”

A day does not go by without a Boardmaker symbol being used within the classroom --- whether it be to cue a student to sit down, used to differentiate a lesson to a non-reader or used for a student to “ask” for snack by exchanging a picture. The Boardmaker line software is used to create interactive, symbol-based educational activities and materials for special education students. I have been doing just that for over 10 years. I try to incorporate a variety of these symbol sets into every theme unit we do. It is especially important and evident in the MeVille to WeVille reading program that I am currently implementing. The great thing about that reading program is that many of the basic materials are already created with the symbols which leaves me time to incorporate the symbols into worksheets or SmartBoard lessons. Using the symbols allows we to differentiate the reading/language lesson creating adapt text-based materials to symbol-based materials for students with limited reading skills. It not only helps that students with the limited reading skills, it also assists the students who are readers in developing their language skills, increasing comprehension and making the words more concrete and meaningful.

The website offers a variety of assistive technology products from software to low or high tech communication devices, computer accessories, and much more. One section that I thought would be helpful to families is the sections at the top marked “conditions”. In the drop down, it lists a variety of conditions (oral motor disorder, Autism, Down Syndrome, etc.) and it gives suggested products tailored to that condition. Although I do think this is a very narrow list of items available out there, I think it gives a good overview of the types of technology equipment that is available.

Lastly, if you are interested in Boardmaker and are not familiar with the product, they do offer a FREE 30 day trial  to “try before you buy”.

Until next time....

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