Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sharing Assistive Technology in the Midst of Many Demands

I stopped mid-sentence on an email, to answer the phone, pull a file, set a calendar date on my on-screen calendar and print off an administrator approval for a laptop trial. I prepped the laptop I will deliver tomorrow to an OT an hour and a half away, set up a home visit for next week, finished converting a VCR video of a student trial to digital, burned it on a CD, helped an administrator set up Dragon in her office and then ran to get in the car and drive 30 minutes to a training of an assistant on Intellitools Classroom Suite.

After the training, which I made an effort to make interesting - having her set up a word wall for a writing activity and test it out on a Promethean board, I asked her if this would work for her to use with the student.
"Oh, I guess so..." sounding not too thrilled. Here we were using what I consider cutting edge technology and she was saying she "guessed" so?
"You don't sound like it is going to work too well." I said, just doing a check to see if I was on the right track.
"It's fine. I am just really tired today."

Wow. Tired...hmmmm. Who else knows the meaning of that word?

I got home at 7:30 tonight and it is now 10 PM. I am not complaining, it is just that I am doing my darndest to spread AT enthusiasm and cheer at job sites, schools and online with you too...
and I know one thing - most everybody reading this out there has many demands on them from morning til night. We are all tired if we let ourselves be tired! I am nothing special and I don't want you to feel sorry for me. That's not the point.
I just believe that sharing the incredible freedom that can come through assistive technology is an honor and joy for me. I sat this afternoon and watched a little kinder boy with CP grin from ear to ear as he accessed a laptop talking word processor with a word wall and images in Clicker 5. He was able to type and tell me about his parents, the weather and what he was learning at school using the symbols and word buttons.
Amazing. I am not tired when I see that!

So, if you find misspelled words in my posts I write at 11 PM before bed or I get some information wrong - or maybe don't get a radio interview in for awhile - just know I do more than sit at a desk and write blog posts for the day. Just like most of you, I am juggling a daily life of training, teaching, supporting, driving and then taking care of my own family at the end of the day. But for me, that is what makes this blog mean something - I am an AT professional using it daily in the field - not speculating on what it might do. I am learning what it CAN do. And those things give me ambition to start a new day.

I hope your day is filled with purpose and joy. Be encouraged, you are heroes and pioneers!

All the best to you!


Lon Thornburg is an assistive technology specialist and professional development trainer who lives in Oregon and serves 12 districts in 7 counties. He hosts the No Limits 2 Learning Blog and The No Limits 2 Learning Live Talk Show on Blog Talk Radio. He is sharing as a contributing writer on LD LIVE!

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