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.
"And now move the switch to a more challenging position..."