Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Ultimate Goal of Assistive Technology

I don't know about you, but my "To-Do List" is constantly growing. I scratch off two things to add four. I see happy parents, disgruntled parents, uptight specialists and go-for-it specialists, assistants going the extra mile and assistants that are watching the clock to go home. I have meetings, meetings and more meetings. I push initiatives district-wide and region-wide as well as goals for one student or one school. Then there are team coordinations for services and the requests for home visits.
As I drove home yesterday from Portland after my board meeting Tuesday, I listened to a teaching on life-vision by Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith. Although I don't align myself with some of his religious and philosophical points, I am not one to ever throw out the baby with the bath water and his main point was one which I really took to heart.
He was asking us to look at our life and rise above being the victim of circumstances, take responsibility for where we are in life and allow the universe, God or whatever the term is for you, to express itself through us, in taking us beyond nominal mediocrity. Wow! What a thought to chew on.
What does this have to do with assistive technology? - well, everything to me. Here's why. As I reflected on my efforts in the past year to work on my blogs, set up a talk show, network with others and do the AT Blog Carnival - even the contest for new bloggers to join us, I felt as if I have begun to move out of my own complacency and do something that has a lasting effect on others - on the world. That can be a humbling thought. That is the incredible dynamic of the Internet - it allows us to connect, impact and be-impacted by the world.
When I think of why I do student services with AT, it is because I believe that EACH ONE of the students I serve has the potential to grow up to impact our world too. And with the Internet being a vehicle to make that possible, my efforts have infinite significance - your efforts have infinite significance. For those children that appear to be locked up where there is no key to open their world to express and communicate, we are called to provide a vehicle and a means for them to be able to express themselves meaningfully. Then, the ultimate higher goal is to see that opportunity open them up to allow a higher power to express itself through them to impact the world in a positive way.
I don't mean to preach or get weird on you here, I just think we need to see the bigger picture of why we do what we do and what the impact can be on the world around us. Because of what I saw yesterday while I drove, I had to shed a few tears of gratefulness for my world and what it has become and what it is becoming. I had to celebrate the incredible gift that each parent, specialist, student, teacher, professor, counselor or designer of assistive technology has contributed. You are a key part of opening the world to many lives that otherwise would be silent. The world would be cheated for not having known them - and you are making "knowing them" possible.
Thank you.
I see you as a driving force to achieve the ultimate goal of assistive technology, and here is my little simple goal that I have now put up in my office:
"Give others the ability to express, so that the universe might express itself through them."
Next time you are feeling weary and worn, remember that you do make a difference.

All the best to you!


narrator said...

We have to stop seeing ourselves (and/or our students) as victims who deserve chaity, and start seeing ourselves (and/or our students) as full and equal humans who, like all humans, do some things well and who need help with other things.

We have to give control, and the right to speak, try, succeed, and even fail, to all.

Lon said...

I second that!