Abstract of J. Bornman lecture


J. Bornman
Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (CAAC), South Africa

Children with physical disability are part of a heterogeneous group in
terms of the causes of the disability, their individual strengths and
challenges and therefore each child and family are affected very
differently. However, classroom management and intervention shares
some common goals. Initially the most critical factor in classroom
management is to ensure correct seating and positioning. Head
control, trunk stability and hand function are intricately linked. Basic
seating principles will be described as well as adaptive equipment for
a variety of classroom activities shown. Thereafter assistive
technology (AT) options will be described, focusing on “high tech”
devices such as computers and sophisticated communication devices
as well as “low tech” devices such as communication boards, adapted
books and writing implements. Throughout the presentation, the focus
will be on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) skills,
and how AAC can be used to foster language skills (as a basis for
learning) as well as augmented literacy skills. Technology needs to be
very carefully matched to the needs of a specific child. Teachers,
therapists, parents and children must be involved not only in the
process of selecting appropriate technology but also in determining
when and where it will be used. Four considerations will be described
namely: (1) to match the abilities of the child to the demands of the
technology (2) to ensure that skills can be used in different contexts
(3) to obtain some measure of immediate success and finally (4) to
minimize the demands on both gross and fine motor systems.

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