How do nonverbal, severely disabled students communicate creating outlets for students and teachers

Discovering communication outlets for nonverbal, severely disabled students who are medically fragile is crucial for maintaining a "Student-centered" academic environment. Nevertheless, to determine a disabled individual's preferred outlet for communication, via eye-gaze or tactile means, is potentially an enormous task for researchers and educators to accomplish. By piecing together information from multiple bodies of research examining nonverbal communication, assistive technology, and self-determination, this researcher recognized a gap in the standard methodologies, as applied to medically fragile students. The researcher conducted a single subject, qualitative study, using a low-tech communication device. With the device, the researcher identified the subject's preferred method of nonverbal communication obtained by consistent data resulting from observation and tool facilitation. Current assistive technology utilizes limited outlets for nonverbal communication. The limitations of current assistive technology restrict nonverbal, severely disabled students from being able to freely communicate with others. The researcher's creation of a simple tool that facilitates more than one outlet for student communication may enable medically fragile students to communicate more effectively with researchers and educators