Imagine being surrounded by people with no way to communicate.
When Tycin Gordon, who was born with cerebral palsy, showed up for kindergarten at Lawson Elementary eight years ago, he did not have the motor skills to speak. Special education teacher Deb Gilmore was ready. She opened up Tycin's world with some very cool technology.
The Iowa Department of Education trains teachers to use screens called PODDs (Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display) to get through to people who cannot speak in the traditional way. PODDs display hundreds of pictures that connect with words, giving Tycin a huge vocabulary.
From the start, Tycin beamed with curiosity and enthusiasm. His education took off. By the second grade, he was using computer-generated speech with a sensor that picks up where his eyes land. Gilmore says Tycin’s intelligence shines through in spite of his challenges. In a 7th grade discussion group on the Constitution, Tycin got the right answers more quickly than his peers.
“A little girl said, ‘he is really smart.’ Yes, yes, he is,” Gilmore agreed.
Gilmore admits she gets “teary and goose-bumpy” when she sees Tycin interacting with his classmates. “This is what it is all about,” she says.