2003 Conference Proceedings

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USING THE PALM COMPUTER FOR STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

Presenter
Cynthia A. Preuhs-Payler M.S., CCC-SLP
Heart Mountain Assistive Technology Team
160 North Evarts
Powell, Wyoming 82435
Phone: 307-754-5181
Email: CAPayler@park1.k12.wy.us

Cynthia Payler has her Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology and is currently a K-12 Speech Pathologist in the Park County School District as well as a private therapist in the hospital and nursing home settings. She has been endorsed with special interests in Autism through the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities and has a certificate in Assistive Technology Applications through California State University Northridge. She is a state grant recipient through Wyoming New Options in Technology in which she has provided education and a loan bank of assistive technology equipment for the Northwest Wyoming Regional area. She is also a National Palm Education Pioneer Grant recipient which has afforded her the opportunity to develop the program she is presenting.

The main objective in using the Palm computer in the classroom is to provide students with the necessary cueing needed for self-monitoring and completion of tasks without being dependent on others. Students are trained to rely on referencing their Palm computer continually throughout their day. Students can directly input their own information or case managers, aids and trainers can analyze daily activities and input all necessary steps for completion into the Palm. Rather than verbal cueing from others, students only need to call up the task sequencing needed and read them through each step assuring that they have completed every item accurately. The Palm is integrated across the curriculum with emphasis on organizational skills. It has been successfully used with students who have learning disabilities, emotional disabilities and Autism. It has been found to help students internalize sequential skills necessary for independent daily living when memory and/or auditory input only are a deficit.

The Palm has many other advantages. It is portable, conveniently accessed, minimal in size and an updated piece of equipment that does not make the student appear any differently than others. There is also a multitude of software available for the Palm computer that can also be helpful in addressing other identified difficulties. Information between teachers, students and parents can be easily transferred by infrared transmission. Peripherals are available that can make typing on the Palm as easy as a desktop computer and turn it into a digital camera or a probe for science experiments.

The Palm can be purchased as low as $69 or as high as $500. For student purposes the low cost units are more than functional. Personal assistant computers can vary according to color verses black and white, memory chips verses limited memory and battery verses cradles. It comes loaded with calendar, telephone/address, to do, memo and calculator functions. It can be accessed through a simple written form called graffiti, an on-screen keyboard or an attachable portable keyboard. All applications can be easily backed up on any desktop computer as well as accessed through the desktop.

This computer application is easy for students and teachers to learn. Implementing it can help develop self esteem and the ability to survive without constant supervision of others. Family involvement can also reduce their need for lifetime care giving. It has been found not only to benefit students but help the classroom teacher with lesson plans and distribution of worksheets.

This presentation will be given by way of a PowerPoint with some visual tools available for students to look at. Handouts of the presentation will be available along with handouts on recommended software for the Palm, hardware available, recommended internet sites, general resources for the Palm, and forty other implemented ideas for use with the Palm within classroom curriculums.


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