2003 Conference Proceedings

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Kati Henley and Janis Pankey
Shrine School, Memphis City Schools
4259 Forestview Drive
Memphis, TN 38118
Phone: (901) 366-2400
Fax: (901) 366-2395
Email: henleyk2@k12.tn.net
Email: jpankey@midsouth.rr.com

Our students are preschool to early elementary age children in self-contained special education classrooms. In our classrooms, we create a "technology laboratory" for the students, helping them find the best high, low and no-tech assists for their needs. Our students have mild to profound cognitive, sensory, communication, academic and social deficits. Many have limited to no speech and have difficulty comprehending verbal directions. Many need to be supported with assistive and instructional technology for voice output and for partial participation in tasks of independence, expression and social interaction. They receive most of their instruction in a self-contained classroom with speech and language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, vision training and swim therapy as needed. Our students also attend classes with their non-disabled peers for academic and/or special class instruction.

Our goal in the self-contained classroom is to provide appropriate and authentic instruction and facilitate successful inclusion in the mainstream as much as possible. This requires that our technology-dependent students have the tools and skills necessary to be successful participants in their education. Our objectives are:

To achieve these goals we utilize the following resources:

High, low and no tech devices, books, newspapers, teaching artists from our city arts council's Center For Arts Education, Shriners Organization, Memphis City Schools therapists and teachers, parents and guardians, The University of Memphis students and instructors

We find the arts to be the perfect vehicle for authentic experiences with technology and the acquisition of new skills. Our classroom projects provide the children with new opportunities to communicate, gain literacy and self-confidence. Through these projects, the students learn from each other, as well as from new or outside instructors. Technology-dependent children improve collaboration and communication skills, which impact their successful inclusion in the mainstream as well as transition from school to home to community. We observe increased parental involvement, improved student attendance, increased productivity; IEP goals met, and improved confidence and readiness to learn. And as soon as a project is done, everyone wants to know, what's next?

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