October Newsletter

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness … and a very busy time here at the SENICT office. This month we have information about a brand new course for schools, an update on the launch of our ‘Assess and Make Progress’ web site and our usual round up of assistive technology news and free resources.

 Cause and effect or as we prefer to describe it, ‘understanding that you are able to extend influence and control over your immediate environment’ is the cornerstone upon which all future learning and communication is built. Our new course for schools explores the process of developing this understanding and moving beyond it toward independent control over the immediate environment and those in it.

We’ll look at using technology to stimulate the senses and show you how to assess the access needs of your students in preparation for them taking control. We’ll explore access devices such as switches, touch-devices, communication aids, pointing devices and eye gaze systems and show you how to teach with them. Finally we’ll give you the tools and skills to set targets and record progress with a system that can be quickly adapted to meet the needs of your school and make it your own.

 ‘Extending Influence and Control’ is a whole day course which can be delivered to small groups or the whole school. Schools booking this course will receive a comprehensive handout package which includes free cause and effect software, teaching guides and NEW progression maps covering switch, touch, mouse and eye gaze skills which can be personalised and edited to reflect the needs of your school or centre.

SEN Switcher is back
After the sad demise of the Northern Grid for Learning a couple of years ago, their web site and the amazing resource ‘SEN Switcher’ went offline last month. Some of you may know that Ian Bean designed SEN Switcher back in the early 2000s and wrote the web site and teaching guides that accompanied it. SEN Switcher went on to be arguably the most popular online software for early switch and touch screen users around the world.

After receiving hundreds of emails from all around the world from colleagues and parents desperate to have their favourite resource back, Ian used his archived development files to get a working version of SEN Switcher back online. You’ll find it in the Member’s Area of our web site. If you’re not already a member of our web site along with hundreds of other useful resources. Joining our web site takes just a minute and is completely free.

SENICT does not own or make any claim to the the copyright to SEN Switcher which remains with the Northern Grid for Learning. We created this version simply to meet the needs of the many teachers, therapists and parents who rely on this resource.

Once upon a midnight dreary …
If you’re planning something spooktacular for Halloween in your class this year, don’t forget about our free Halloween resources for switch, touch-screen, mouse and eye gaze users. You’ll find them and hundreds of other free activities in the Member’s Area.

New Web Site Launch Delayed

Due to work commitments, we’ve had to put back the launch of our new ‘Assess and Make Progress’ web site until later this month. Our new web site features carefully designed online teaching activities and assessment materials for young people who are learning to extend influence and control over their world with switches, touch-screens, pointing devices and eye gaze systems. We hope you’ll find the wait worthwhile.

Eye Gaze Progression and students with PMLD

We’ve been looking closely at the eye gaze software currently available for students with profound and multiple needs and how they may contribute to a young person making progress with their access skills. The results were surprising. While many of the activities in these software packages provide a motivating way to engage young people with the eye gaze process, not all of the activities achieve the stated goal, that of developing and extending eye gaze skills with this specific user group.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll publish our findings on our web site together with some useful suggestions on how to get the best from these software packages. Schools keen to develop their eye gaze provision for students with profound needs may be interested in our half-day eye gaze consultancy, where we’ll work hands-on with your staff to help extend their skills and providing a more in-depth understanding of what eye gaze progression for these very special learners looks like.

Who uses our free online activities? 

The number of people using our free resources continues to grow with an average of a thousand people from around the world joining our web site every month. Each day thousands of children in homes and classrooms as far apart as Alaska and Australia use our activities to support their learning and communication needs.

The transition to the members area of ianbean.co.uk enables us to better tailor the experience of using these activities to meet the needs of young people with severe and complex needs. All of the activities on our accessible portal are free now and always. Thank you for using them and helping to make them a success.

Our Man Abroad

This month has seen Ian travel to Zagreb in Croatia to speak at the ATAAC conference then on to Dubai and Abu Dhabi to work with teachers, therapists and assistive technology specialists to help them extend their skills and knowledge. Ian has delivered invited keynotes, workshops and presentations at special needs events around the world. If you want more information about having Ian share his knowledge, experience and unique presentation style at your event, please use the button below.

Our next newsletter will be published in November.

If you want more information about our work or have any questions or comments simply reply to this email. If you want access to even more free resources, you can also follow Ian on many social networks by clicking the buttons below.

See you all next time.

Ian Bean
Special Needs ICT Consultant and Teaching with Assistive Technology Trainer