Sunday, 11 March 2012

Special Saturday - Technology

This week for Special Saturday we are discussing the impact of technology on our family members with Special Needs.

Initially I only thought about the here and now, what technology Cameron is using now. That is easy to answer - Television, DVD player, iPad, iPod, CD player, electronic games, electronic books.

Life would be very different if Cameron didn't have his DVD's to watch The Wiggles and his CD player to listen to his music. He really enjoys his books that make sounds and talk to him and then there are all the fabulous Leap Frog electronic toys which he falls in and out of love with constantly.

The modern technology which has made the biggest impact on Cameron's life is definitely his iPad. He uses it so much the 10 hour battery sometimes doesn't get him through the day. It has opened up his world, given him new fine motor skills, new responsibilities, filled his empty hours, made him popular, made others envious of him, introduced him to another world where he is learning about shapes, colours, numbers and letters. He's discovered books, games, music and fun. He has even learned to share and show. He will come and show me what he has found and he will let me share an app with him. He has discovered a whole new world.

Over the last month Cameron has been trialing an ipod. This trial has shown us as a family that Cameron doesn't need an electronic gadget to communicate with us what he needs and wants around our home but he does need a way to communicate his choices when he is out in the big wide world. Our next family mission is to get Cameron an iPod so he can use the iCommunicate app to make choices and then he can eat and drink what he chooses instead of what we guess he might like. Hopefully that will stretch to making choices about activities and other things we can't even imagine at the moment.

After thinking about the obvious answers I then reflected on Cameron's life and realized that he wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for technology. Technology has saved and kept Cameron alive more than once. Of course technology at this level is no good unless it is in the hands of a trained technician and that is what our doctors in hospitals are these days. The hospital is full of technology from the front door to the back, so are the ambulances. And considering the fact that my Uncle died of Meningitis as a young child in the same hospital that Cameron survived Meningitis I think technology probably had a lot to do with it.

Life has changed dramatically over the last 60 years and technology has been one of the biggest changes. It's saved Cameron's life and continues to support him now. I think we are incredibly lucky to be raising a child now and not 60 years ago when there wasn't the same level of technology to help save lives and then support those who survive.

Thank goodness for Technology.

This blog post is part of the awareness raising campaign - Special Saturday - raising awareness of people living with special needs around the world.

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  1. I really hope he gets his iPod soon - I've seen so many children here in Ireland whose lives have been transformed through the ability to communicate using one of many apps available. There is a scheme in Ireland where you can collect old mobile phones and exchange them for an iPod/Pad and lots of children now have them as a result.I think it's just been introduced to the UK too.

  2. It's amaing the difference technology makes in all our lives Jane. xxx

  3. Great post, Jane. I love how technology just grows and grows. It helps our kids and also lets them have some enjoyment! :)

  4. As a Special Needs Ed. Assist. just in the last 7 yrs even there has been a huge change. When I first started and someone with Special Needs needed to communicate with us we'd spend hrs making charts etc now we just download an app in minutes!!

  5. Thanks everyone.

    You are right Nat, life in Special Ed schools has changed so much. At Cameron's school lots of parents are now supplying iPads and the school has also provided iPads in the rooms. The options the teachers have now to support their students is amazing.

    What a wonderful scheme Looking For Blue Sky. Unfortunately I haven't heard anything like it hear but I hope it will help everyone in Ireland and the UK to get iPads and iPods. We will apply for funding through charities and cross our fingers.

    I can't imagine the technology that our children will be using in another ten years. Let's hope it will save and improve more lives. I saw a news report today that like the bionic ear they are inventiing a bionic eye - how amazing would that be for someone who has lost their sight?