It is a myth that technology isolates people. Technology used with purpose can open new doors and even new worlds – both online and offline
Digital communication is communicating over the internet it includes but is not limited to emails, messaging services, video calls, social media and game play. It really has us connected and communicating with others in an instant. Now think offline – what are the opportunities when you have an iPad (no wifi/internet) to be social or communicate with others regardless of your verbal abilities to communicate.
iPads are multi-purpose devices. Used with purpose – they can lead to increased communication and interactions with others.
But first, let’s break down the purpose of communication: Expressing Needs and Wants, Sharing or trading information, use of social etiquette and intimacy with others is a good start. Human beings are social beings. We genuinely want to and in fact need to connect with others to feel alive and connected. Sharing news or just hanging out with a friend brings us joy, or at least it should.
Barriers do exist for many in our community due to disability and there are many challenges yet there are innovative digital solutions available.
3 WAYS DIGITAL COMMUNICATION CAN INCREASE COMMUNICATION
- VIDEO CALLS –
You see each other and straight away there is a connection, if talking is not your thing try having a dance, show off your new garden, sharing screen function (if available to show new photos, pets or drawings) or virtually share a meal.
- JOIN AN ONLINE GAME OR SOCIAL MEDIA ESPECIALLY GROUPS OF COMMON INTERESTS –
This type of engagement can be both rewarding and provide opportunities to learn and make new connections
- USING ACCESSIBILITY FEATURES OR SETTINGS
Once you know what is INside iDevices – you have straight ‘out of the box’ support to encourage independence. Abbreviations are one setting feature – have you tried it?Imagine, using 2 letters in the text field of a text message HB. Then seeing that turn into two sentences ‘wishing someone the happiest birthday ever and you’re thinking of them’.Wowsers! Despite literacy, cognitive or verbal limitations, someone has just been opened up to new ways and worlds of connecting with just two letters.
3 WAYS DIGITAL DEVICES CAN ALSO INCREASE COMMUNICATION
- SHARING INFORMATION
Customising social story apps or just using basic photos is a 100% proven way of sharing information. Take Tony for example – lives with mum and dad, attends a day service with others, he has a small vocabulary. ‘What did you do on the weekend Tony’, ‘nothing’ or ‘don’t know’ might be the reply. He actually went fishing caught a whopping big fish and has the photo to prove it. If mum or dad know that an iPad or device can be used to not just share but proudly share this information, then Tony is increasing his communication and his interactions with others.Best not to let that one get away 🙂
- TAKING TURNS
There are apps that can be set up as two-player – think Connect 4, guess the picture or Uno. So rather than just watch Youtube alone or even with someone – what about practising turn-taking, social skills and gameplay all in one? Sounds like a bit of fun to me.
- SPEECH GENERATED DEVICE
The iPad can be used as an alternative to speech for getting needs met, making choices. Purpose-built apps for speech alternatives could be Proloquo2go or Proloquo4text. These are two of a hundred or more of these applications. Setting up the vocabulary to match a picture is also a quick way to get requests met. Example, a photo of outside, once pressed means “I want to go outside” or “I want a break”. Imagine that, we all need a break from routine to get some fresh air – or at least be given the option.
Communicating with others is necessary to achieve a certain level of independence in society.
One thing for sure is that technology isn’t going anywhere. We all get help to learn new things and to improve how we live and function daily. In modern society, we now have digital options to help us. Yet acquiring an iPad for Xmas or Aunt Cheryl’s hand me down is not ‘the’ magic bullet for learning and applying new skills.
People with disabilities, especially communication disabilities, will often require an assessment of their skills, needs and abilities to match and plan for both successful skill development that in turn increases communication.
Tailored therapy, training and technology support is available from a Developmental Educator in Merimbula NSW or consultations available via phone/video. Please contact me if you have any questions, or book a time for a free chat.