Today, my social media manager, Megan Fry, is sharing the story of her elementary school years!
My Elementary Story (Megan Fry)
With cerebral palsy, I was just a rag doll that was nonverbal and bounded to a wheelchair. My mother put me on the bus to go to school on my third birthday. Within a few days, my teacher saw a spark of intelligence in my eyes — that was the day the battle began for me to participate socially in my elementary school years.
The school system researched which assistive device would help me communicate and complete my assignments, and purchased my first device, the DynaVox. I accessed the device with two head switches. Although I was using pages with only a few buttons at the time, I quickly learned how to communicate with the world.
As I increased the number of buttons on a page and used more buttons to communicate, I started interacting with my peers. I would come home and tell my mother how many friends I had made that day. I had sleepovers, movie nights, and girls’ nights out. A phone call came for me one evening. My mother answered, and a small high-pitched voice asked if she could talk with me. My mother ran to me with excitement, and I asked her to put the phone on the table and on speaker. Although it took me awhile to formulate what I wanted to say, the conversation between my high-pitched friend and me lasted more than an hour!
As a student in a general mainstream class, I wanted to participate as much as possible. During reading circle time, every student would take turns reading aloud to the class. I learned how to download a book on my computer and make it read aloud. The next time my teacher asked the class who wanted to read that day, I immediately pushed play on my ebook. Joy filled the room while my teacher glanced at me with tears in her eyes. In that moment, I felt like I was finally contributing in my classroom.
Without assistive technology, I would be trapped in the darkness of my own body. I can face the world now. The DynaVox helped me blossom into a social butterfly during my elementary years.