COVID Increased Need for and Shortages of Effective Communications Technology
Bailey’s Team Grant and Fundraisers Will Help Fill the Gaps
When the pandemic began two years ago, and the school pivoted to virtual teaching, staff and students needed technology for each student’s and teacher’s home. The use of technology – including iPads, Chromebooks, and laptops – has increased since then. Technology has helped minimize COVID transmission while also fostering communication skills.
“After we returned to school in July 2020, clinical therapists continued to provide services to the students from within their offices to minimize transmission,” said Chrissy Bunnell, Speech-Language Department Head. “These sessions required classrooms to have access to various forms of technology, including iPads and SMART Boards. Additionally, therapists benefitted from paid subscriptions to web-based applications to allow for creative therapeutic materials to target students’ individualized education goals.”
iPads are an affordable tool that can improve students’ communications skills. Previously, speech-generating devices were typically dedicated computer systems obtained through insurance that cost thousands of dollars. “iPads offer an affordable and accessible option for speech-generating technology,” said Chrissy. “When we introduce any augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) system, a speech-language pathologist completes a comprehensive AAC evaluation to ensure that an iPad and potential apps are an appropriate match for students.”
Bailey’s Team Grant Funds iPads for Speech-Language Department
Bailey’s Team for Autism, a regional non-profit that supports New England organizations that fund research for individuals living with autism spectrum disorders, recently awarded a $3,200 grant to the school for iPad needs. “Through pictures and technology, iPads can serve as an augmentative communication device for people with limited speech or understanding,” said Sammi Robertson, President of Bailey’s Team. “There are several programs for an iPad that help students make requests, share their feelings, and communicate with their friends.”
Although a student’s school district or health insurance must provide necessary equipment for students, there is often a lapse between placement at the school and the receipt of funding, such as for iPads. Additionally, the logistics of bringing an iPad to and from the school can cause shortfalls. The Bailey’s Team Grant for iPads helps fill some of these deficits to enable the assessment of student skills and needs, provide a short-term loaner option, and allow speech-language pathologists to gather data while waiting for hardware and software to arrive.
Bailey’s Team provides essential funding for New England medical, research, and human service organizations that provide programming and services to individuals on the autism spectrum. “The League School’s grant application for iPad funding was in line with our mission and vision as we strive to make a positive impact by supporting individuals with autism to reach their potential – in this case through communication,” said Sammi.
Help Support Increased Need for and Shortages of Effective Communications Technology
“We greatly appreciate the Bailey’s Team grant, which allows the Speech-Language Department to provide AAC evaluations on a timely basis,” said Chrissy. “Our department would benefit from additional resources to purchase a wide range of language development and social communication apps to try with our students.”
The League School’s spring fundraising events will help fill needed communication technology gaps. Please participate by riding, walking, running, golfing, sponsoring, or supporting participants:
April: #LeagueStrong Bike-a-Thon
Saturday, May 14: 5K Run/Walk for Autism
Monday, June 13: “Fore” Autism Golf Classic