At a ceremony held on June 17 at Villa Milano, 16 students from across Ohio earned R.A. Horn Outstanding Achievement Awards from the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities. Among the winners was Heritage Middle School sixth grade pupil Joey Summers, who was recognized in the area of Technology. He was nominated by home instruction tutor Debra Rigsby and speech and language therapist Heather Kabler.
Until recently, Summers was not able to verbalize to let those around him know his needs, wants, hopes, fears and dreams. He began working with an Augmentative Communication device last year, using head switches to scan through options on a screen and composing messages that allow the device to speak for him. “He has gone from a child who passively allowed the world to happen around him to one who is very vocal about what he wants,” said Melinda Reames, Westerville City Schools Coordinator, Special Education. “Joey is growing in so many ways. His academics have improved significantly and he is become his own best advocate. Joey has a voice now and he will be heard.”