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13) Look at the range of switches available, and look at Mandy, and ask yourself if you have really been inventive enough. Are there switches she could operate from lying down? If you cleared the floor and set a switch just out of reach, could she make her way towards it?

14) Go back to that generous local charity who offered you a sum of money, and ask them to provide you with those output effects which you cannot afford.

15) Ask Mandy's parents to provide you with an audio tape of themselves speaking clearly, so that she can switch on the cassette player and hear them talking to her.

16) Move out to the 'real world'. See if Mandy can switch on the light switch at the wall.

17) Consider moving her to a computer programme, some of which can be operated with switches. The choices are very much greater, but the type of output is necessarily limited.

These ideas are self-explanatory, and the feature common to all of them is that you are able to think ahead for Mandy, so that what you have is not so much a switch, more an educational programme.

Why you choose any of these options is up to you, of course, and your knowledge of your student. I have found, in practice, that when I aim to extend a switching system for a child, I am looking for one of the following:

CHOICE Eventually you want the learner to be able to make her own choices.

PROGRESSION You want the learner to 'improve' in some way.

ASSESSMENT You hope to find out more about her ability to select between colours and patterns. Use dummy switches for this. Or, you want to learn more about her likes and dislikes.

LEISURE ACTIVITY You want her to have as enjoyable a time as possible.

THE REAL WORLD You want the skill she has learned at the switching system to be a help to her in the real world. If she can manage a lever switch, try her on a real door handle.

BOREDOM, and HABITUATION You must steer a course between these two real hazards. Some sensorily impaired people love to be put in front of the same apparatus day after day - they dislike change, even though planned change is probably good for them. Others get bored very quickly, and with these learners you are going to have to make changes for the sake of change.


Anything that is battery powered can be adapted for use with switches.

Booklet reproduced with kind permission of Chris Addis and ROMPA.
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