By Linda Hagood
Devin is 12 years old, and has low vision due to optic nerve hypoplasia. He communicates using spoken language, and has extremely strong auditory memory skills. He is able to recall narratives verbatim if he has heard them only once or twice, and this skill is enhanced if he hears the information in electronic form (e.g. recorded or on voice-over or screen reader). He is especially motivated by electronic voices, such as the custom voices on the Macintosh computer, and loves to listen to stories we’ve written together when they are read back by those voices. Devin loves activities that violate verbal expectations, such as Mad Libs, and also loves word play such as Pig Latin or making up nonsense words. He is challenged in the area of social communication, often interrupting others or engaging in off-topic conversation about silly, playful topics that may not be appropriate to the situation (e.g. making fart noises, repeatedly mimicking or requesting a specific activity such as writing silly song lyrics). He seems to thrive on adult attention, and peers are often frustrated by his off topic or immature communications. He has the most difficulty in group situations, in which he needs to share adult input, wait his turn
In this video, Devin is seen at his best! His music teacher has built a silly song activity that highlights his strengths and gives him a way to stay connected to peers in a group setting. She used a Mad Libs type format to work with the group to co-create this silly song--”The Cake Named Technology.” She modeled playing the tune once or twice for him, and then Devin took over as the leader for the group. I love the atmosphere of play she has offered in this activity. Most of the students are actively engaged and joyfully participating in this rendition of their co-created song, and he is building status among his peers as his musical abilities are highlighted. This activity makes me smile, and is a great example of “Playing with Words.”
- Devin will engage in group activities with peers by performing his part without adult redirection.
The Cake Named Technology Song