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Norfolk Play AT IT

Inclusive Technology helps Norfolk Children Play AT IT

Inclusive Technology has teamed up with Norfolk Children’s Services to help provide inclusive play opportunities in nurseries throughout the region.

Norfolk Children’s Services Access Through Technology Team has long been aware of the need to provide early identification and support for children with communication difficulties who might benefit from the use of technology.

Children with physical or sensory difficulties can find their opportunities to learn through play restricted. They may struggle to use traditional toys, to make marks with crayons or to join in activities like sand and water play.

Technology can overcome these difficulties and provide a whole new range of ways for young children to explore and interact with learning opportunities and the world around them. It can also help them make choices and exert control over their play environment.

Norfolk Play AT IT Norfolk Play AT IT

The key to successful implementation of technology to fully support these children is the involvement of early years professionals. AbilityNet's Play AT IT Project supported 18 pre-school settings throughout the UK and provided an excellent model on which practitioners could be trained to develop their skills in relation to the use of technology to support children with communication difficulties.

Following the end of the two-year AbilityNet Project in March 2010, Norfolk County Council (Early Years, Childcare and Extended Schools in partnership with Access Through Technology) and using Inclusive Technology as suppliers, have now embarked on the Norfolk Play AT IT Project.

This two-year project will support and train 50 settings in Norfolk in 2010 and a further 50 in 2011. The project aims to provide additional play opportunities and promote the inclusion of pre-school children with disabilities who would benefit from using technology.

Each setting will receive an assistive technology kit supplied by Inclusive. Some examples of the equipment are:

 

The Inclusive One Touch

MyZone Software

Alternative Keyboards & Mice

The Inclusive One Touch MyZone Software Alternative Keyboards & Mice

A new PC with a built-in touch screen specifically designed for education. Its rugged touch screen offers adjustable height and tilt to meet the needs of young learners.

This innovative configurable desktop makes it easy for young children to find their activities on the computer.

The chunky Jumbo XL keyboard is ideal for little hands while the RYB mouse or Inclusive Kidtrac can enable computer access for children who struggle with a standard keyboard or mouse.

 

Switches & Switch Accessible Toys

Early Years Software

Basic Communication Aids

Switches & Switch Accessible Toys Early Years Software Basic Communication Aids

Children with physical difficulties can choose a toy to activate using a simple switch press.

Motivating and educational activities that can be accessed using a touch screen or switch as well as a keyboard and mouse.

The kit also includes basic communication aids, for example BIGmacks and Talking Photo Albums as well as multimedia devices such as the Tuff Cam and Easi-Speak.


The Access Through Technology team will provide training and support in the use of this kit to all of the settings. Training sessions begin in February 2010 in five venues across Norfolk and will include practitioners from health and education.

Anna James, Access Through Technology Team Co-ordinator, said: "It is hoped that this early intervention project will have significant results for children, not only over the next two years, but well beyond that. It will provide a foundation for inclusion and curriculum access for all children, which will not only support their transition to school, but also help unlock the world around them."


In addition to working with Inclusive Technology to deliver the Project, Access Through Technology is an Inclusive Technology Reference Site.

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