This book assumes that you have a sincere interest in the quality of life
of another individual. You may be a teacher of children with profound learning
difficulties, or you may be an educator working with adults. Perhaps you are a
concerned parent, or a carer with responsibility for the education of your disadvantaged
clients. Whatever the age or the particular needs of the person you want to help,
and whatever your own situation, it is certain that you will discover some real
benefit from the use of switches and switching systems.
These days teachers, as in all other sectors of the caring services, are hugely
accountable for everything that they do with their students. We have to justify,
in writing, what the student is doing every minute of the day, why she is doing
it, what is planned for her next, and how the particular learning skill in question
will help her in the long term.
I can only say that the advent of switches as a teaching aid has helped us tremendously
in planning, teaching and justifying. You can find a list of the many advantages
on a later page, but first it would be sensible for me to make quite clear what
is meant by 'a switching system'.
What are 'switches' and 'switching systems'?
Let me say quickly and briefly, mainly because I want to get the subject out of
the way, we are not talking about computer here. Computer equipment is becoming
more useful, and cheaper, for disabled people almost by the minute, but this booklet
is not about computers. We are talking about switches, like light switches, or
doorbells, or radio on/off switches.
Any gadget which allows our student, by a very small movement of her body, to
produce an effect which she finds pleasing or rewarding is a switch. It may be
quite expensive and durable, or it may cost pence on a market stall. We shall
see just how wide the choice is.