Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Great article about tech tools for communication, by Megan Bratti, MS, CCC-SLP

Being Conscious Caretakers of Communication Opportunities Created by New Technologies in Children's Speech and Language Therapy
Megan Bratti, PediaStaff, 6/24/11

In this article, Megan, a speech/language therapist, discusses the rapid advances in technologies that have the potential to support communication development among children.  Here is a quote from her post- I encourage you to read the entire article, as it provides links to good resources on this topic:

"....Caution: It is only through human feedback that the tool and the opportunity can be constructive.....All types of tools, whether they be books, bubbles, iPads, smartphones, crocodile dentists, white boards, or silly bandz, which all create communication opportunities – require constant human caretaking. You must think of yourself as part of a feedback loop: Child –>; human caretaker (SLP) –>; tool (tech device) –>; human caretaker (SLP) –>; child. Our brains are made up of mirror neuron cells. We are all simulators, players and parts of feedback loops. Play is mirroring. Play is simulation. Play is learning. Play is social. Children need us – SLPs, teachers, siblings, parents – to be facilitators, moderators, models, teachers, mirrors, and caretakers of these precious communication opportunities that new tech tools, like the iPad contribute to creating."

Thanks to Jeremy Brown for the link to this article!

If you work with, care about, or parent a young person with special needs, be sure to take a look at Jeremy Brown's AT Resources Wiki.  It is a goldmine.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

"RISE AND SHINE": TED talk video by Simon Lewis about his recovery from a serious brain injury, and how technology helped.

Simon Lewis was in an automobile accident that resulted severe injuries to his body, including a very severe head injury that left him in a coma.  As a result of his experience, he wrote a book, "RISE AND SHINE", covering his journey over 15 years of recovery and regeneration.  In the book, Lewis shares what he learned along the way, and how cutting edge technology and some non-traditional thinking helped him move forward.

Simon Lewis had the opportunity to discuss his journey at a TED partner event in India in December, 2010.   The following video of his talk is about 22 minutes long, but worth taking the time to watch. A variety of visuals are used to illustrate his journey and the research he did along the way. Near the end of the video, Simon Lewis demonstrates some of the technologies that he wears that supports his functioning.

Here is the blurb about the book from the Borders website:

"An impassioned tale of survival and recovery, this inspirational story recounts the author’s horrific car accident, his subsequent coma, and the more than 15 years of cutting-edge treatments and therapies endured during convalescence. With specific details of the rigorous rehabilitation process that ensued, including numerous breakthrough and experimental surgeries, the book also provides practical insight into navigating the treacherous world of insurance and how to differentiate between the often conflicting medical opinions offered. In addition to describing the numerous procedures undergone, the author tells not only of his pain, frustration, and despair, but also of his childlike wonder at the beauty and miracle of creation. A first-person account of sudden, unexpected tragedy and life-affirming courage, this remarkable tale of regeneration imparts lessons both medical and spiritual."

The Rise and Shine website includes many of the graphics used in Simon's video, and is worth taking some time to explore. Some of the graphics are interactive. (Since the website relies on Flash, it won't work if you try to access it using an iPad.)

Comment:  As a school psychologist with additional training in neuropsychology - specifically assessment and intervention for children and teens who have experienced traumatic brain injury (TBI), this topic is important to me.  I'm watching the video a second time, and I plan to read his book.

(Cross-posted on the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog.)