Central Bucks Sertoma Donation Enhances Deaf Student’s Education

Sharon Taylor, a special education teacher, and Cassie Langan, a speech language pathologist, interact with special education student, Gerardo, while he uses his new AAC device. This new device was donated by the Central Bucks Sertoma Club to help Gerardo communicate and learn easier in school.

April 28, 2016

Gerardo, a smiling energetic eight -year-old with Down syndrome and deafness, was recently placed in an extremely difficult situation.  After the accidental shattering of his iPad cover, an incredibly important tool in which he uses to communicate in the classroom, Gerardo was left feeling sad and alone.  That is, until the Central Bucks Sertoma Club provided him with a new cover and speaker.

In the classroom and at home, Gerardo uses his iPad as an augmentative communicative device.  He uses the dynamic display screens to make requests, call on his classmates and to participate in daily classroom activities.  Sharon Taylor, Gerardo’s teacher, said that he understands pictures and sign language of familiar items and regular routines in the classroom.  However, because of his fine motor difficulties, he is unable to speak or use sign as an expressive form of communication.

Without the device, Gerardo has trouble hearing his teachers, and communicating with his peers.   This is challenging, because it restricts him from learning and having fun with his friends.  Last year, Gerardo’s medical insurance provided him with an iAdaptor speech-generating device.  An iAdaptor is an iPad with an augmentative communication (AAC) app.  It is housed in a plastic case that also includes a speaker to amplify voices.  It is used as a way to help Gerardo communicate more effectively. Recently, when the iPad case shattered Gerardo was unable to obtain another.  However, thanks to the Central Bucks Sertoma Club, he was provided with a replacement.

Gerardo and his family are extremely appreciative of the new cover and speaker. With this new case and speaker Gerardo is more focused now according to his teacher, Sharon Taylor. “He recognizes this is his voice and he takes it with him everywhere.” Taylor said.

In addition to helping students such as Gerardo, the Central Bucks Sertoma Club has raised $135,150 since being chartered in 1990 to help support the mission of Sertoma and hearing health. The club has also created a hearing aid loaner program, and has provided around $47,250 worth of scholarships specifically to students graduating with hearing related needs.

Suzanne Hogan, the president of the Central Bucks Sertoma Club, said that the club will continue to help students in the community whenever it is possible.

“This is the reason we formed the club and why we will continue to support these projects,” Hogan said. “Those smiles and reports that come back from the children is what we are all about.”

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