Paradise>> Jacob Bindernagel, a 7-year-old, special-needs second grader, went to his Functional Life Skills class at Pine Ridge Elementary School one day with an iPad his family had donated to his classroom. Little did he know this would spark an inspiring sequence.
“JJ uses certain recommended apps that help him with the alphabet, reading and communication development,” Jacob’s mother, Becky Bindernagel said. “The technology is interactive; helps him engage and learn.”
Between October and November, JJ’s teacher, Paradise Unified Educational Specialist, Katy W. Helt, saw JJ and his classmates successfully responding to the educational iPad apps.
“Research-based software to support speech and language development for all my students is critical,” Helt said. “I wanted to provide my students with the best, evidence-based practices used in the field of special education today.”
Helt integrated the iPad into lesson plans for her eight students and found the technology was at her students’ ability level and effectively met their needs with individualized social stories, personalized task-analysis boards and real-time video playback so students could watch their performances.
“The district has been very supportive, but all schools are feeling the budget cuts,” Helt said. “The best piece of advice I was given was to do the best with what I have available.”
Helt was determined to fundraise for two more iPads for her classroom to help her students learn. She boldly posted her project on a Donors Choose website, personal Facebook page and sent emails to family, friends and even state educational representatives.