SEN Switcher is a collection of fifteen programs, each carefully designed to teach a specific level of switch skills from experiential through to early scanning. Although the programs were designed and written in 2002, they continue to provide motivating opportunities for learners of all ages to develop and practice these important skills.
The program is accompanied by the original teaching guidance document written by Ian Bean in 2002.
Please note SEN Switcher is available for download for Windows PC only.
SEN switcher activities cover the following areas of skills progression.
These activities require no input from the learner. Try using these activities with young people who are not yet touching the screen or pressing a switch. Our goal with these activities is to encourage the learner to look at and respond to the images and sounds presented on the screen. When the learner is showing interest in the activities try introducing a switch.
Single Press Cause and Effect Activities
These activities require a single press of a switch or touch of the screen. At this level we are working to help our students understand that by their actions, they are making the effects happen on the screen. Try and encourage the learner to move their hand away from the screen or switch after they have pressed it and focus their attention on the reward.
Three Press Switch Building Activities
These activities require the learner to activate the switch three times before a reward is given. The screen changes at every press and we should encourage the learner to notice these changes. Be mindful. In keeping with all multiple press activities, there is a danger that the learner may begin over-pressing or tapping the switch as until this point, a single press gave them a reward. The skill here is not that the learner can press a switch multiple times, it's that they notice the changes that happen every time they press the switch.
Five Press Switch Building Activities
Five press activities share the same difficulties as three press activities. Pressing a switch an ever increasing number of times to achieve a reward should not be seen as progress.
Pop up Timed Activities
These activities require a single press of a switch when an object is in the 'correct' place on the screen, for example when the bee is in the box. Scene activities require the same skill, however this time the learner needs to work out when to press the switch from what is happening on the screen. For example pressing the switch at the right time to make the car jump the ravine. These activities model tracking a scan box moving across the screen and using a switch to select objects by pressing it when the scan box is at the object the learner wants to choose.
These activities introduce formal scanning. A scan box will move over the available choices. The learner must press the switch when the scan box is over their desired choice to achieve the reward. Some activities use empty boxes to help the learner understand the process. It often helps to announce the choices to the student as the scan box moves over them, for example "Bee"... "Frog" ...
SEN Switcher has no facility to slow down or speed up the scan speed so please be mindful that some learners, especially those with physical difficulties may find pressing the switch within the allowed time difficult or in some cases impossible. For these learners it may be better to use another program.
SEN Switcher was designed by Ian Bean for the Northern Grid for Learning in 2002.