A place to thrive

Mohammed Al-JawadiHigh schooler Mohammed Al-Jawadi is skilled at finding solutions. At finding opportunities. Screen readers ZoomText and Jaws help the soon-to-be sophomore when he’s working on a computer. Taking a picture with his phone lets Al-Jawadi zoom in to see an image better. Occasionally he uses a monocular to cross the street, or a magnifier to view the price of an item at the store. When he recognizes that the light in the sky is just right, he picks up his tennis racquet and heads for a court.

Al-Jawadi also understands self-advocacy. When he started school at Vancouver iTech Preparatory last fall, he led a training to help his teachers understand his accessibility needs in the classroom and in the community. He demonstrated the use of a Brailler and answered questions. Later in the school year, Al-Jawadi took an early step toward his future by interviewing four computer engineering experts, including one from Amazon. He has already learned Java and hopes to become a software engineer one day.

That self-determination, use of assistive technology, academic progress and career goals led to Al-Jawadi earning the Washington State School for the Blind’s Rodney B. Humble Outreach Award earlier this month.

“I felt proud of myself that I achieved this,” he said. Ever-humble, he added, “I was thankful to all the teachers that helped me in my journey.”

Al-Jawadi credits teachers Tracy Spohn, Paul Haney, Danielle Baumann among the many who have supported him. His school is a place where he can thrive. Learn Python or JavaScript. Play soccer next year. He has applied to be one of iTech’s peer mentors and help classmates resolve conflicts–a good fit for the student whom teachers describe as polite and respectful. Said Al-Jawadi, “iTech is a pretty fun and welcoming place. It’s pretty awesome with the people that are here.”

Article Source: Vancouver Public Schools