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An AT provider's thoughts about Jake...
My name is Nena Murphy-Herd and I am a recently retired technical assistance provider for learners with complex needs. For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about providing access to learners through technology and in Jake's case it was the key to allowing him to have a consistent and reliable way to express his thoughts.
Having known Jake and his family for about 19 years, what resonates with me is the support his family provided to him and their belief in communication and technology. I met Jake when he was approximately 3 years old and, at that time, suggested to his mom that cortical visual impairment might account for some of the issues with Jake’s vision. About 11 years later I was asked to evaluate how technology might help Jake.
Over the years, his mom had pursued his vision evaluation, his computer interests and his communication. We continued to work together through changes in location for the family and schools for Jake. Jake continued to use computers, iPads and speech generating devices. Through endless meetings, his family was there advocating. His mom was juggling family, work and continuing education. Over time, Jake increased his ability to communicate and make jokes. How wonderful it is to recently receive an email with a short video of Jake at the dinner table with his family! Jake was so busy talking that mom had to interrupt and tell him that he needed to stop talking so that he could eat his dinner. Isn't this what we want for all of our learners?