2002 Conference Proceedings

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Using Songs I Sing at Preschool as an Assessment & Training Tool

Jo Meyer, MS
Teacher of preschoolers with disabilities, President of SoftTouch, Inc.

SoftTouch's newest release, Songs I Sing at Preschool has 27 songs. BUT, it is more than a software program. It can be used as an assessment tool to tell the teacher, speech therapist, or assistive technology specialist how the student best accesses the computer. It can then be turned into a training vehicle to move the student to a new level of computer access.

Many of our young children or children with more severe disabilities have a difficult time either accessing the computer, staying interested, or dealing with all the information on the screen or keyboard. As teachers we start small and add information to teach these children. In the past this has been hard to do with computer programs, but with SoftTouch's new software feature called "Add 'n Touch," it has become easy. Songs I Sing at Preschool also features IntelliKeys, touch screen and 3 types of switch access: single switch scanning with auditory or quiet prompts, two switch turn taking, and two switch step scanning. In addition the adult can choose whether the device is activated on switch up or switch down.

"Add 'n Touch" allows any device to function as a keyboard, or an assessment/training device. "Add 'n Touch" allows the adult to place a selection any where on the keyboard and change it on-the-fly. For example, if the adult wants to know which part of the keyboard a student can access, he can put the same song in several different places on the keyboard. The computer program will then count the number of times the student selected the song in each position. Once the adult knows which positions are the best, s/he can determine which songs the student likes by using those positions and placing different songs in each slot. The computer will again count the number of times the student selected each song.

Many times our students with physical disabilities have problems accessing all the keys on an adapted keyboard or on the screen. With the "Add 'n Touch" system, we can now train the student to reach to more difficult spots. By using the above assessment techniques, we know where the best position on the keyboard and the favorite songs. We can now train the student to reach a little bit beyond his/her limit. Good news for IntelliKeys users, only one overlay is needed. Using a basic grid overlay, attach graphics squares with Velcro or Post-It glue to change locations immediately as the program has been changed.

Another problem our students have is too much visual stimuli presented at once. With "Add 'n Touch", we can start with one song, and then add a second, a third, a fourth, etc until the student can handle more information.

Documenting student progress is easy because "Add 'n Touch" keeps student data automatically. Print out reports for IEP's and student portfolios at any time. Songs I Sing at Preschool is an exciting program educators use for assessment and training.


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