Second Grader Finds Success Using Assistive Technology


Ellie Hamilton, Assistive Technology Specialist

Zeke will be in third grade this year at New London Elementary and has been using different assistive technology devices since receiving early access services  in the birth to three setting. An eight person team works together to assess Zeke’s needs and update his Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and last year they began to see progress with the devices that they had been trialing. The New London district recently purchased a new Rifton dynamic pacer gait trainer with multi-positioning capabilities for his classroom work. He also uses talking brix to communicate yes/no messages; activated with his hands or head with the assistance of a support staff member.

When the team first met and considered Zeke’s needs and access to the curriculum, they wanted to experiment with additional assistive technology items borrowed from Great Prairie AEA. After the trial and reviewing data, the school district purchased the Gooseneck Wobble switch and a Big Mack Switch.

In the video, Zeke is using a Big Mack single message recordable switch. He is telling Ashley to turn the page by activating the switch with his hand. This switch was incorporated into Zeke’s weekly reading probes for him to respond to questions in the classroom setting.

The New London district team has incorporated assistive technology beyond the classroom into his everyday activities with his peers. Zeke used a Gooseneck Wobble Switch to participate in the second grade Winter concert. He activated the switch to introduce a song during the concert.  He had the support of his teacher and paraeducator to setup and ensure his assistive technology items were ready for the concert.

Before Zeke was dependent on adults to determine his wants and needs. Now he is able to communicate using switches in a supported environment with his team.

A special THANK YOU to Zeke’s team last year:

  • Bridget Swailes, Special Educator
  • Mrs. Mrs. McAllister, General Education Teacher
  • Teresa Roberts, Paraeducator
  • Ashley Hobbs, GPAEA Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Shannah Sullivan, GPAEA Occupational Therapist
  • Carol Kottensette, GPAEA Physical Therapist
  • Kandys Dameron, GPAEA Physical Therapy Assistant
  • Catherine Benitz & Kim Richert, GPAEA Core Team
  • Dana McIntire, GPAEA Speech Pathologist

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