My name is Amanda Mikulsky and I am an Occupational Therapist in the Howard-Suamico School District in Wisconsin. I currently travel between five schools in my district providing support for specific students and answering questions from teachers. I also push-in to classrooms and work one-on-one with particular students.
In October 2015 I attended the Closing The Gap Conference with one student in mind. She is a kindergarten student with Apraxia and had no way of communicating. She knew a little sign language, but not much, and her classmates were not able to sign back with her. She also has poor fine motor skills so even the little bit of sign language that she does know is not exact, which made signing even more difficult. It was my mission at Closing The Gap to find technologies to help her. I walked around the exhibit hall and attended sessions with her in the forefront of my mind. I needed something affordable and very easy to use, since I would be doing some of the programing. Even after I saw Clicker Communicator, I continued to walk around the exhibit hall and saw other presentations so that I could say that I gave everything a shot. But, nothing compared to Communicator. The ease of programing, the ready-made Vocabulary Sets and Core Sets, and the clean and simple look of the app sold me. I knew I wanted to try Clicker Communicator with this little girl.
"Kelly was also able to explain how to purchase Clicker Communicator with the Volume Purchase Program through Apple, and by buying more than 20 copies, we were able to receive a 50% discount..."
After the conference, Kelly, one of the education consultants from Crick, hosted a webinar on Communicator for me and the rest of the team. This was a great way to show everyone the app in action! Kelly was also able to explain how to purchase Clicker Communicator with the Volume Purchase Program through Apple, and by buying more than 20 copies, we were able to receive a 50% discount, making the app really affordable. Then we were in business. We purchased enough copies of Clicker Communicator to allow all of the therapists in the district to have a copy on their iPad.
The first student that I tried Clicker Communicator with was the little kindergartener that I had been working with. We tried it first in her art class. Typically, in this class, she sits with her hands folded and watches but does not attempt to communicate with her peers or with the teacher. This day we were learning about shapes in the community so I had prepared a Set for her with all different shapes. As the teacher asked the students to identify a stop sign she gasped! She tapped the picture of the octagon on the iPad and, for the first time, raised her hand to answer the teacher. Tears filled my eyes as the teacher called on her and she made the iPad speak. She was able to participate in the lesson just like her peers. She beamed. Her entire body was happy. And now, just a little over a month later she is able to go in and navigate the app completely independently. She goes to the Vocabulary Set for each part of her day at the correct time and goes back to her core set as she needs. And she is only 6 years old!
"We have some teachers and speech pathologists using the app with students all the way up through high school level. They are seeing success with students who have not had success with any other app that we have tried."
We are using Clicker Communicator with so many students now that we have it on all our iPads. One teacher takes pictures of a little boy's snack every day so that he can make his choice himself. The pictures go into the cells instantly so the teacher can do it on the fly. We have some teachers and speech pathologists using the app with students all the way up through high school level. They are seeing success with students who have not had success with any other app that we have tried.
Clicker Communicator is allowing teachers and parents to unlock what is in these children's heads. They are finally able to tell us about their day and about their inner thoughts. They have all of these wonderful thoughts; we just needed Clicker Communicator to unlock them.