Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Star Trek is Here: Just When You Thought You Were Getting a Handle on Assistive Technology Something New Surprises You.

Has more Star Trek technology become a reality?

I have been working on a "No Limits to Learning" AT Resource Bundle. It will have a section on the key elements and basics of assistive technology in layman terms for parents. It will also have video tutorials to walk you through the steps to make 21 "do it yourself" projects you can create for free if you have a Windows computer and MS Office or Open Office (which is free). All the other software is free off the Internet too. I was working on the introduction and thought I had to share some of it today. I hope you enjoy this little preview:

"There is no way any one person can "know it all" about AT. The world is becoming more and more specialized. We have specialized services within specialized niches that are in specialized markets of specialized companies. It can get pretty crazy. I have heard predictions that there will come a time when a person cannot be an AT specialist anymore. They will have to be an AAC specialist or a curriculum support specialist - all within the parameters of AT.
I say this to let you know that if you are a parent, you should be comfortable in relaxing and just getting an overview of the services and equipment your child may need. Be prepared to say "I don't know but I can find out." That is my biggest phrase. I have learned how to find a needle in a haystack on the Internet when it comes to AT. I spend about 30% of my work time online researching equipment, treatment, therapy or definitions and descriptions of medical disorders. Be ready to see the Internet as your best friend. There is so much information out there it is staggering.
This whole project started when I began to hear AT specialists all over clamoring for a website that was a "one stop" place to find resources, vendors, experts, tutorials, federal information, forms, etc.
Most people hate to waste time searching for information. They want it done for them. Since I am on the computer a lot anyway, I thought, "Why not?" So this is my attempt at giving people the basics. I don't even pretend to think or bluff you into thinking this is all there is. It is far from it. If I were to get into occupational and physical therapy supports, new treatment for seizures and ADHD with neurofeedback for children using computer games and slot car race tracks, simulating virtual reality on the TV with a Wii, and so on, we would be here for the next 2 years - and by then 70% of what I shared would be obsolete and new technologies would take over.

Technology also has a way of skidding from science fiction's past into the present like Michael J Fox's Delorean in "Back to the Future". Remember those sliding doors on Star Trek on the U.S.S. Enterprise? Well we take them for granted now. And everytime I see someone flip open a cell phone and talk to someone, I expect to hear them say "Beam me up Scotty." I had a real wide-eyed moment today and I have to share it with you.

Today I watched a doctor wave a Dr. McCoy/Star Trek-type "tricorder" over my son's chest and re-align the electrical impulses that were out of sync so his respiratory infection could heal. Seriously - this is for real. He did the treatment until the levels on the front showed it had re-calibrated. "What is that?!" I asked. Just when you think you are getting a handle on things something new shoots up.
I imagine by the time this is out in circulation, I'll be writing a second edition. That's OK. As long as you don't expect to ever catch up, you can relax and find the things that work. That is what this whole thing is about anyway. Finding out what works to support kids."

So that is my two-cents worth tonight and it will probably find its way into some article I will be publishing here soon. Thanks for making me accountable to keep writing and sharing. It is more and more one of the things in my day I look forward to.

Just to let you know, I have another installment on my parent advocacy series coming and the podcast of teens sharing about disabilities coming along too. I hope you take care and keep checking back. Also, refer this on to others that might find it useful or entertaining.

All the best to you!


Image Credit: http://www.neweyestudio.com/stnr3.htm

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