Fairfax County schools: program to help non-verbal students


A university club in Fairfax County is connecting significant college pupils with elementary faculty college students who are nonverbal.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Pupils at Thomas Jefferson Substantial College in Fairfax County, Virginia are working with their coding capabilities to assist elementary college students who are non-verbal to much better converse.

“Our elementary faculty students who use interaction equipment have their superior university buddies that they talk with above zoom,” explained teacher Mary Beth Fleming.

Club customers from Thomas Jefferson High University meet on Sundays to brainstorm and appear up with their video games, then expend a couple of hrs coding to provide their eyesight to everyday living.  

Just about every Wednesday afternoon, the pupils from the assistive technologies club then meet with various elementary faculty students, as they practice utilizing standard nouns, pronouns, and verbs to build small, basic sentences on their machine. 

“When small children or any individual is finding out how to communicate, becoming capable to have distinctive prospects for them to communicate making use of the similar terms that we use all the time is wildly critical,” mentioned Mary Beth Fleming.

“This club introduced me to a new type of coding that was different from class. It was different languages that were applied to make sites and it is just a fun way to actively aid people and make neat video games. It was genuinely interactive and a very useful way to understand and to specifically aid people,” stated Thomas Jefferson Substantial College student Vivian Denny.

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“Now we had been actively playing a recreation exactly where they see an graphic coated up and they get to say numbers to eliminate the squares and then gradually they try out to guess which picture is powering the squares. Now the theme of the pictures have been distinctive rooms in a house,” explained Denny.

Quite a few of the TJ learners have been a portion of the club for two or a few years, and have viewed the more youthful pupils develop and improve over time. 

“The issue of all those functions with the pupils is just to get them to apply applying their conversation equipment so they can construct up their muscle mass memory when clicking on the squares so they can build up their communications,” stated Denny. 

“These weekly conferences are at the coronary heart of the TJ Assistive Technology (AT) Club. The club’s intention is to foster conversation in a pleasurable interactive way by way of games, pursuits, and looking through. For the Liberty Hill college students, it is an possibility to observe on their equipment in a calm environment. For the TJ pupils, it’s a chance to make online games and find out coding applications these kinds of as HTML and JavaScript. For both equally sides, it’s the exclusive connections built that depart the most long lasting effect,” a university spokesperson shared on the net.

The aim for just about every non-verbal pupil is unique, dependent on their Personal Educational Prepare. Some pupils count only on their units, while some others are ready to say a couple phrases verbally.  

“We absolutely see a very distinct indicator that circus is when they get started indicating phrases randomly on their have so we can genuinely see if they are setting up their confidence to communicate not with a prompt they are displaying on the display screen but regardless of what they want to say so that is a definitely terrific signal,” stated Denny.

“It is also pretty, pretty motivating for my elementary youngsters to see high school youngsters who they look up to and be able to communicate to them,” stated Mary Beth Fleming. 

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