Clicker Success Stories

Allison Brenneise

Parent of a nine-year-old boy with moderate autism and learning differences.

I am the parent of a nine-year-old boy with moderate autism and learning differences. My son has significant motor difficulties, as well as those difficulties that come part and parcel with autism. While he is verbal, he often can't access his language in a way that allows a teacher or others to determine his level of comprehension.

Responding to many assessments: psychological, auditory, speech/language, behavior, motor, and assistive technology the IEP team members had many recommendations for his education. The psychologist identified that my son visually "floods" at more than 4 items on a page and instructed the team to reduce the amount of material on a page. Among other recommendations were to give my son word banks, greatly reduce (if not totally remove) the motor output when he is conducting cognitive processes, and to allow him to respond receptively when possible. He had scored nicely on reading tests when allowed to receptively answer. When asked to verbally retell stories, that nasty language disability blocks his ability access to language on demand and makes it appear that he can only comprehend at the 1st grade level. [All testing revealed that he can comprehend on a 3rd grade level when answering receptively].

I had researched Clicker and miraculously, the assistive technology assessor recommended it for my son. That was one of our lucky breaks!

I did the tutorial and got to know Clicker on an "intimate" level. My son has an intensive Applied Behavior Analysis program (ABA) and I would make grids for the therapists to work on synonym drills, antonym drills, and double meanings.

Using Clicker, he is accessing grade level text (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Bunnicula, Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing) and other text (The Magic Tree House Series that he reads independently). I use materials that I buy from the educational supply store and make grids using the curriculum in the books. On a daily basis, he is exposed to new vocabulary through the grids I make. I teach this with Context Clues and in a cell write a sentence and have 3 definitions that the target word could mean, or I give the definition and have him click what he thinks the word is. He does daily quizzes to check for comprehension and he does a unit test for the book ALL WITH CLICKER GRIDS and he is doing MARVELOUSLY!

We use Clicker to teach appropriate punctuation: comma usage, underlining titles of books, etc. We use it to write stories. We use it to do abbreviations, for spelling tests (I have made a great grid for this). I use Clicker to teach ABC order, synonyms, sentence writing, cloze sentences, spelling practice, unscrambling sentences, choosing the spelling word that is spelled correctly, fill in the missing letter of spelling words, etc. This list is not exhaustive.

For mathematics, we LOVE Clicker! He does measurement, time, he does an SRA curriculum: Connecting Math Concepts that I make into Clicker grids! He doesn't freak out anymore because the pencil is gone and the computer is so much more motivating. I have done amazing things with the clocks and money portions of the Connecting Math/Clicker program. He does all the charts and graphs in Clicker, too! We have worked on giving him a money amount where he hears the grid tell him a dollar and cent amount and he writes the correct money amount with the dollar sign and decimal. 

Other things we do on Clicker: answer science/social studies questions, do scientific process (I loved the grid I found from CGfL. He has written poetry (we did a unit on Cinquains) using Clicker, and has done a number of discrete trial (ABA) drills via Clicker.

I can't say enough about the program or how it has enabled my child to show other people what is in that mind of his! People thought it would restrict him, but since he has significant difficulties initiating anything (thoughts, words, actions) Clicker is the springboard he needs to open his mind and to share his thoughts. There have been plenty of times (more times than not) when he doesn't want anything I have put in the grids and will add his own two cents and really show us all that he knows what we want him to know, or he adds another dimension I would have never thought of...

One of the things that I find personally so fulfilling with regard to Clicker above and beyond seeing someone that I love so much benefit from education for the first time ever, is helping other people. I am a stay-at-home mom, an advocate in the special education community and the volunteer Chairperson of the Community Advisory Committee for Special Education, a state mandated advisory committee that advises the Board of Education on Special Education issues, programming, etc. for my son's school district (which serves 17,000+ students with special needs). Often, other advocates request that I come and train IEP teams in the use of Clicker because they know that I really know Clicker. These advocates just want to improve the lives of children through the use of Clicker. I am thrilled to oblige.

Many of the businesses of which I am in contact (non-public agencies providing education services, ABA services, occupational therapy services) beg me to do trainings for them. I decline, as I do not want to violate anything that your company may be doing in this arena. They think that Clicker can change the lives of so many, including those with autism. I fully agree; my son is a testimony to that. Your product has proven to be key in changing his life and bringing him (if not totally into our world) just a bit closer by letting us know what is in his mind. My family is forever grateful.

Most sincerely,

Allison Brenneise