ICAN's mission is that no child is left out or left behind because of a difficulty in speaking or understanding. Most people take for granted the ability to communicate and do not recognise the importance of this fundamental life skill. But over a million children have severe communication difficulties and without identification of the problem and the support needed to overcome it, the future for these children can be bleak.
I CAN runs two special schools for those children with the most severe communication difficulties; Dawn House School and Meath School and their training, information and programmes reach many more children and families across the UK.
I CAN is really proud of its relationship with the Heart of Experian Charity Fund and also the support that they have given to Dawn House School. Dawn House were very grateful for the £5,000 donation from the Heart of Experian Charity Fund in January 2015 which allowed them to purchase 2 x 55" Prowise HD LCD Touch screen TV's and essential 'augmented and alternative communication' equipment, which are used in the classrooms at the school to support their students learning and participation.
They are pleased to report that the impact of this equipment was much greater than they could have hoped for. The screens are used throughout the school for all students of all year groups, and are used in many of the lessons as a visual teaching tool which helps to develop areas such as numeracy, literacy and even art. They allow students to develop their independence with using IT; develop their self-confidence and participation in lessons; provide opportunities for kinaesthetic learning and offer them the chance to develop their independent learning skills; and also provide opportunities for peer teaching and assessment.
Students are using the applications to develop their literacy skills. They have been asked to find their names within the word search grid. This develops their letter recognition and has been used to develop their spelling.
Students are using an application to develop their basic numeracy skills. This program allows the student to develop their understanding of number sequencing. Students are able to physically connect the numbers in the correct sequence.
Students are using an online programme called 'Switch Zoo' to support their art lesson. The programme allows students to create a unique animal by combining elements of two different animals using the touch screen independently to demonstrate to others in the group how to use this programme.
I cannot thank The Heart of Experian Charity Fund enough for their generous donation enabling the school to purchase the touch screens. They have had such an impact on classroom practice, increasing pupils' engagement whilst enhancing their understanding of key concepts.
We look forward to The Heart of Experian Charity Fund’s 's next visit to the school when they will have the opportunity to observe first-hand the touch screens in action!
Angela Child, Principal- Dawn House School