Teachers use tests to place their students academically and judge whether the student is ready to advance to the next level of learning. I’m finding out what you know isn’t as valuable as what you don’t.
Most of you who come to this site know that Joshua is disabled. Birth trauma left him with cerebral palsy. His disabilities have made normal development an impossibility. The Tobii/Dynavox computer is setting him free.
I’m his mother, the other half of OurHome Studio. I’ve been his caregiver since the day he was born and watched his struggles, joys, heartaches, and triumphs. One of the biggest struggles has been education. Before the Tobii/Dynavox computer we didn’t have a reliable method to document what Joshua knows. No tests? No proof. I can tell people Joshua has normal intelligence and understands everything but without an accurate testing method, I couldn’t prove it.
Joshua has hired a tutor whose main purpose is to help Joshua learn to be conversationally functional. I cannot be the one to help Joshua during this phase of his life. He and I have established a non-verbal communication system that allows us to cheat. We don’t mean to but he reads me too well. I inadvertently give him the answers.
Watching Joshua work with somebody new, I’m able to figure out where Joshua’s educational gaps are. Working with the tutor, Joshua is finding out how much effort he needs to exert to communicate with people who don’t read his non-verbal cues. We are both gaining valuable information.
This is a new phase for all of us. Watching Joshua interact on a verbal level; learning to be literate after 35 years of non-verbal living, I don’t have enough words in me to describe this journey. The world is opening up in a way we could never hope for.
In the weeks coming up, we’re going to be finding out what Joshua knows, and more importantly, what he doesn’t know. We’ll be setting up a plan to help him fill in the educational gaps and guide him toward a life that is suddenly way bigger than we ever dreamed possible.