Technology has a way of going from the past to the present in science fiction like Michael J Fox’s DeLorean in “Back to the Future.” Remember the sliding doors in Star Trek on the USS Enterprise? We take them for granted now. And every time I see someone open a cell phone and talk to someone, I expect to hear them say “beam me up Scotty.” The day of live streamed video mail is coming soon – very soon. In every science fiction movie I’ve seen, someone was talking to someone else from a TV screen and we all laughed, yet today I heard our IT department built in web-cam standard on all newly released laptop models. supplying.
I had a real wide-eyed moment today and I have to share it with you all. I saw our doctor put a Dr. McCoy-Star Trek-type “tricorder” waved. “What is that?” I had asked. The doctor explained that this would “re-align the electrical impulses that were out of sync so that his respiratory infection could be cured.”
“Seriously?” I thought to myself. It was real. My son felt tickling and the doctor treated him until the front level showed that the body was re-calibrated. Just when you think you are handling things, something new emerges and surprises you.
I am an expert in assistive technology. I watch new things that come out in the market all the time. I am following the research and development of mapping the brain’s neuro-networks to pinpoint the combination of impulses and electrical frequencies that make up the movements of the hand, wrist, and hand. How to recreate these impulses into “bionic” weapons is still being studied that replace the truncated ones. The research will allow our human brain to operate from thought to a new appendage.
I was at a national convention this fall where I was sitting and had an eye gauge unit to wirelessly track my retinas from four feet away. As I looked around, the cursor on a large flat computer screen moved in the same direction. The cost was huge, but the technology was for someone who is severely disabled and wants to access life through a computer. I’m sure I saw Tom Cruise do this in a movie a few years back.
No one can know it all now about any place in the field of technology. The world is becoming more and more special. We have specialized services within specialized companies in specialized markets. It can get pretty crazy. I’ve heard predictions that there will come a time when a person with my job in general assistive technology will no longer be an assistive technology specialist. They have to focus on a sub-category because the specialization will be so intense.
How does this apply to parents of children with disabilities? If you’re a parent, you should know a few things:
1. You should be comfortable knowing that you cannot learn it all.
Don’t put yourself in guilt and despair over this fact. Just get an overview of the services and tools your child may need. Be prepared to say “I don’t know but I can find out.” That’s my biggest phrase. I’ve learned how to find a needle in the haystack on the internet when it comes to AT. I spend a lot of my time online researching tools, treatments, definitions and descriptions of medical or medical disorders. Be prepared to see the Internet as your best friend. There is so much information out there that it is staggering.
Most people hate to waste time searching for information. They want it to be done for them. If one of your children is disabled, start searching and asking. There are answers. I don’t even pretend to think or trick you into thinking that I know everything. “All is there” changes every day. If I need occupational and physical therapy support, new treatments for seizures and ADHD with neurofeedback for children using computer games and slot car race tracks, simulating virtual reality on a TV with a Wii, and so on, we The next 2 years will be here – and by then 70% of what we knew will be obsolete and new technologies will be taken over.
2. There are new and limitless possibilities for young children with disabilities.
Where we’re headed is going to be amazing. The impact of technology in every aspect of education and special needs service delivery requires rewriting the textbooks on how we serve children. If you are the parent of a young child today, the advances in technology for support are going to be incredible. It’s a good time to be alive. You have options that no one had before you. Technology is wonderful for supporting your child. Take a moment to search through blogs, forums and pod casts that talk about trends in technology in education, assistive technology, and alternative medicine for neurofeedback. With the passage of time the techniques associated with alternative medicine are gaining more respect and show great promise as it becomes a hybrid between traditional medicine and healing synergies.
I guess by the time you read this, I’ll have to write another edition. Ok. As long as I don’t expect to ever catch up, I can relax and find things that work. Serving kids with assistive technology is everything anyway. Finding out what works to support children.