Donation of adaptive communication poster assists Holmes student

A Holmes staff member, Ann Marie Miller, has been working on making Holmes an accessible place for everyone. Miller is a special education teacher for junior high schoolers and one of her students, Beau Weichers, is non-verbal.

In order to communicate, Weichers carries around a tablet, open to a program called Talk To Me Technologies. He can tap the icon that displays the need he wants to tell a friend or adult, but he can’t carry around his tablet to every class, like gym, so during P.E. class, Weichers had a hard time communicating his needs and wants. 

Every Piece Matters, a local nonprofit, donated this banner to Holmes, and the school hung it in the gym, for Weichers and any other student with a communication disorder. 

In order to use the banner, non-verbal students can point to the different pictures, and this becomes an effective and simple way for them to communicate their needs, wants and preferences. 

Regarding her preferences on the banner, Miller said, “I love that we have a banner up, it allows for students (and others) who are in the gym the opportunity to communicate their needs to others. Any student with a need in communication or even someone who is having a difficult time expressing a need can use it. Even when a sports game is in the gym, a student’s brother or sister can use it to convey basic needs and wants.”

Regarding putting more banners up around the school, Holmes Principal Jeremy Jones said, “I’d have to talk with Mrs.Miller about that specifically, but I can see putting some up in the cafeteria or some classrooms like Industrial Technology or Family Consumer Science, where they can’t have that device with them, just because it can be broken easily.”

Miller said, “To be honest, while a student is in the gym, it is hard for [non-verbal students] to participate and keep their device with them. This banner has made a huge difference with a student that requires his device to communicate. It gives him the opportunity to verbalize things he is thinking, in a here-and-now setting.”

Perhaps one of the most grateful people for this banner is Beau’s mom, Amanda Weichers. She said, “We are so thankful for Every Piece Matters, a local nonprofit and their donation of the communication banner to Holmes Junior High for the gymnasium.  It’s wonderful for our non-verbal son to be able to express his needs in P.E. class—a time when it’s difficult to carry around his communication device.  We appreciate the school for hanging it up for students with communication disorders.”

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