2002 Conference Proceedings

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DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES FOR CHILDREN WITH CHARGE SYNDROME

Mrs. Kim Stancill, MA,Ed.
East Carolina University
REAP Program
Irons Building
Greenville, NC 27868
stancill@mail.ecu.edu 
252-328-2749

Mrs. Kim Koen, BS
East Carolina University
REAP Program
Irons Building
Greenville, NC 27868
koenk@mail.ecu.edu 
252-328-2748

Dr. Harold Griffin
East Carolina University
Department of Special Education
Speight Building
Greenville, NC 27858
koenk@mail.ecu.edu 
252-328-6198

CHARGE Syndrome is a combination of disabilities which has a cumulative effect on the developing child. The CHARGE Syndrome conditions are C = Coloboma, C = Cranial nerve abnormalities, H = heart malformations, A = atresia of the nasal choanae, R = retardation of growth and development, G = genital and urinary abnormalities, and E = ear abnormalities. The impact of CHARGE is cumulative in terms of both physical development and language/academic acquisition. Many children with CHARGE Syndrome are also classified deaf-blind and receive services under that classification.

Deaf-blind children have unique educational needs. Some of these needs include the development of (1) attachment/security, (2) the near senses of touch, taste, and smell, (3) distance sense of hearing and vision, (4) the ability to organize the environment and (4) communication systems. Some of the curricular options for the deaf-blind population include (1) personal/social development, (2) adaptive daily living skills, (3) orientation and mobility, (4) motor development, (5) sensory development of vision and hearing as well as touch, smell, and taste, (6) cognitive development, and (7) communication skills (Stremmel, & Schutz, 1995; MacFarland, 1995).

This presentation will present information concerning assistive technology to benefit children with CHARGE Syndrome. Such technology will focus on the use of computer software to enhance clarity and size of print, calendar organization for use in the home and classroom, language boards which are both teacher made as well as electronic in nature, and functional academics in the lives of individuals with CHARGE Syndrome. The availability of computer software allows users with CHARGE Syndrome to change the size of the font, the color of the background/print contrast, and to hear what is on the screen.

The use of calendar organization for children with deaf-blindness in the classroom is extremely helpful. The presentation will provide examples of individual calendars used to help children organize their home and school environments. Such organization help children in reducing insecurity, tantrums, and fear as well as developing a sense of space, predicting coming events, and gaining a sense of control over their environment.

The use of an adaptive programmable keyboard called IntelliKeys will be demonstrated. This keyboard is touch sensitive and allows customized settings by individualizing overlays for easy access for students with a variety of needs. Overlays can be made large with well-spaced keys and high contrasting colors to help students with low vision access any program used in the classroom. Tactile cues can be added to the overlay to provide additional assistance with students with low vision. Not only does IntelliKeys provide a direct selection type input, but it also can act as a switch interface and be used with scanning software. The possibilities are endless.

The presentation also will provide communication strategies through the use of language boards. The boards will initially utilize objects and be tactual in focus. A progression in board use will be introduced which will focus on actual objects and braille/print; then pictures, outlines, and braille/print; and finally only braille.

Various options concerning electronic boards also will be discussed. These discussions will focus on the sensory requirement for electronic boards as well as sophistication options. Linkages between electronic and teacher/parent language boards also will be investigated.

The presentation will feature practical and hands on experiences for the participants. The information will be delivered through a PowerPoint,with accompanying handouts, format. In addition, various examples of technology will be provided for the participants to experience. Finally, a question and answer session will be provided at the end of the presentation session to enable participants to clarify concepts presented during the presentation.

References

MacFarland, S. (1995). Teaching strategies of the vanDijk curricular approach. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 90, 222-228.

Stremel, K., & Schutz, R. (1995). Functional communication in inclusive settings for students who are deaf-blind. In N. Haring, & L Romer (Eds.), Welcoming students who are deaf-blind into typical classrooms (pp. 197-230). Baltimore, MD: Paul Brookes Publishers


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