Welcome to 21st Century Inclusion…This is important!
What? Huh? What do you mean?
Let me explain.
Among many of our parental worries, aspirations, and concerns, is the desire for our children with special needs to be included as typical citizens in our community. We look forward to seeing our kids working in a job which suits them perfectly. The idea of our children living independently or with support intrigues us. Perhaps, most of all, we want our kids to access the real things in life like friends and power over their environment.
In the 21st Century, technology is essential as you and your family prepare to travel the road to transition from school to adult life.
Here is the challenge. Many of the educational and human service systems you and your family interact with are woefully detained, if not restrained by the 20th Century. The world has changed. Thankfully, we are beginning to see those systems become more aware and responsive to the notion of 21st Century inclusion.
Educational plans must prepare students with disabilities, not for the world as it was, but how it is and how it will be. Nearly every aspect of modern life intersects with technology.
• Staying in touch with friends.
• Medical Services.
• Health and Safety.
The trouble is; those Individual Education Plans (IEP) rarely include the use of technology as an actionable goal.
Here is what we know so far. Google, BMW and Apple are developing driverless cars and the US Department of Transportation is investing time and resources to see how people with disabilities will benefit.
Imagine your family member needs to go to a medical appointment. A Google car drives up to your address. You or your student have programmed necessary information on the location of the medical office into Google app via their smartphone and off they go!
Or, like Amanda Boxtell, your family uses a combination of the 3D Printing and computer technology to step into a customized exoskeleton designed to help your family get out of their wheelchair to the destination of their dreams.
If your student with visual impairments chooses to attend college, they can use Siri on their iPhone to navigate a college campus via iBeacons.
An immediately attainable goal is to develop a digital resume/portfolio/website to send potential employers to learn more about your student’s capabilities, complete with letters of recommendation, photos, and a few success stories.
Simple apps like Aida and Pictello can be used at home to assist people with disabilities living more independently by helping them remember the tasks of daily living or used as training instructions for new support staff. Mikelle uses her Pictello app to interview and hire her support team.
The possibilities are infinite, yet readily attainable. Have fun discovering what is possible for you and your family.