Saturday, March 20, 2010

RJ Cooper Workshop

Last week I was able to attend an R.J.Cooper workshop.  R.J.Cooper is a man who makes special software and hardware products for people with special needs.  The layout of his workshop was that he did an introduction and then different students came in and he worked with them and their parents for about a half hour with some of the materials that he had in a consultative type of way.  We sat in the audience and witnessed it.  Two of my students worked with him during his sessions.  For one the change in environment was too much and the skill set that they worked on was one that he has already mastered if he is comfortable so he and his family got little out of the workshop.  For the other we found one piece of software that actually does what I was looking for by way of teaching typing skills so I was excited about that (although I must say that he really didn't need to be there as I saw this software for another student earlier in the day and I knew it would work for this student).

Either way, I wanted to share a few neat things that I saw at the workshop.  Here is a link to R.J.Cooper's website before we get started.
Switch Adapted Guitar for Guitar Hero - love this one as it allows our students to join in with the video game that kids just love to play :).

Switch Adapted Digital Camera - one of the things that we are working on in our classroom is making "experience books'.  These books include pictures that we take when we do things.  A couple of years ago I was looking for switch adapted digital cameras and found someone who was selling them.  I ordered them too late as by the time they got my order they had folded their business.  Now I've found someone who is selling them again and am excited to be able to use these for our program next year (this year I've already used up my whole budget).

Point-to-Pictures Software - This software can be set up on a touchscreen or by using scanning or step-scanning.  It is wonderful because it  is so reinforcing to the students.  We will be adding it to our collection this year already :).

Big iPod Remote - again another item that just allows a kid to be a kid.  Note that all of the buttons on the remote can be hooked up to switches as well.

Spell-a-Word Software - This was a great piece of software for one of our students who is working on keyboarding and site word recognition.  It prompts the student through typing words while giving them a visual.  I'm looking to use it with Big Keys and the Big Key seperater (to teach handedness on the comptuer) with at least one of my studnets. 
At the end of the workshop he did also say that he enjoys creating all of this stuff and that if you contact him with something you can adapted he will see what he can do.  Although the workshop was also a sales pitch, I can say that I truly got a lot of out of it and he does have some great stuff for our kids :). 

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