Friday, October 13, 2006

My Name is Tammy, and I am a Techno-holic!

Objects TogetherI love technology, especially digital cameras which are so handy in teaching children with autism. Yesterday my digicam helped me illustrate a difficult passage in a book. Pamela was reading the introduction of the second lesson of our science book. The third and fourth paragraphs discuss how distance affects how big or small an object appears. The lesson tells the child to look at an object outside that is far away and cover it up with their thumb. Since a sign of autism is difficulty looking at things pointed out or tracking moving objects, I was unsure how well Pamela processed those two paragraphs. So, we headed outside and took the following pictures. Pamela narrated, I wrote down what she said in correct English, and she typed what she understood about the pictures:
A lamppost is big. A thumb is small. They are together. The size looks right.
The lamppost is far away. The thumb is close. They are apart. The thumb is small, but it looks big. The lamppost is big, but it looks small. This is an optical illusion. It can trick the eyes. Something closer can look big. Something farther can look small.
Lamppost Far AwayThumb Close

Then I rewrote the material from the third and fourth paragraphs of the book with syntax Pamela can easily understand and added it to Pamela's typed narration. It extended what Pamela observed to the earth, the sun, and other stars:
The sun is big. It is far away. It looks small because it is far away. The earth is small. The earth looks bigger than the sun. It is not! This is another optical illusion because one million earths can fit in the sun.
The sun is a star. The sun looks bigger than a star. They sun is far away. Stars are very, very far away. They look very, very small. This is another optical illusion because some stars are bigger then the sun.
How digital cameras help me homeschool both children:
  • Portray ideas concretely
  • Set-up schedule or communication board
  • Depict steps in a task
  • Show when a bedroom looks clean
  • Illustrate Social Stories
  • Document field trips
  • Display big projects in a portfolio
  • “Scan” textbook pictures to study for a test
  • Record steps in an experiment
  • Transfer drawings digitally
  • Magnify nature specimens
  • Reveal the environment of nature specimens
What I did before I bought one:
  • Order a CD when getting film developed
  • Search for Google images
  • Borrow one
Between my love affair with Excel and digital cameras, I can neither confirm nor deny the fact that I am a techno-holic!

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