The Bridge School
Self-Determination Program

Elisabeth

Elisabeth is one of those students who really came out of her shell. By the end of the Self-Determination Program, she was able to identify and prioritize what was important to her and then was able to develop long and short-term goals based on these interests. She moved towards her goals at a fast rate and made adjustments based on the outcomes she experienced. She knew she wanted to do more in the community. She loved using her hands and wanted to create art, and she became extremely interested in social networking, particularly Skype, Facebook and e-mail.

The goal of creating art with her hands stemmed from wanting to be like her father who is an architect. With her mentor, she tried drawing and painting using an adapted splint. She's since adjusted this goal because she fell in love with her high school Computer Arts class. She now uses a computer with software that allows her to navigate the computer art programs with her power chair and head switches. She has very specific ideas and goals for her assignments and carries out her ideas with the assistance of her instructional assistant.

Skype was of high interest to her and a highlight of her day. Because it was already a part of the Self-Determination Program, she had ample opportunity to use it. She chose her screen name and programmed her password into her device so that she could input it independently using AccessIt, an interface that allowed her to send text from her device to the computer. She learned how to trouble-shoot technical difficulties using a page that had quick phrases like, "Can you hear me?," "I can't hear you," "I'll call you back." She loved initiating calls and learned how to instant message. When Skyping with Maricor, her one-word answers turned into full sentences. She often chose the topic of conversation, posed questions to Maricor around that topic and took part in the conversation the entire time period.

When it was time for Elisabeth to transition from our program, she asked if she could take her external camera with her. Now, she continues to Skype with her mentor and former teachers.

Elisabeth enthusiastically shares her greatest passion - her writing. She sends out "group" e-mails with her stories attached. Prior to this, her e-mails would consist of only the attachment. She now includes a greeting and information on what she's sending out. She even asks that we check it out or pass it on.

Elisabeth's goal of exploring the community was met with great success. Elisabeth now goes through the lunch line at school and orders her food independently using her communication device. Not only has her confidence level risen, but she is better able to state her wants and needs with her instructional assistants and her mentor. She meets Maricor on a regular basis online and in person.

Click here to watch Elisabeth place her order at a cafe.