Getting IT
Release Date:01 May 2006
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Getting IT

Using information technology to empower people with communication difficulties

Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Information technology (IT) has great potential to be an effective and empowering means of communication for people with communication difficulties. Getting IT explores how IT can help such people increase their independence, communicate in more direct ways and express themselves as part of society.

Authors Dinah Murray and Ann Aspinall examine common problems faced by people with learning and communication difficulties - being judged on appearances, encountering impatience from communication partners, problems identifying and understanding key information and difficulties communicating decisions. They show how IT can help solve these problems: for example internet search tools for accessing information at home, typing and email as socially neutral, universally acceptable modes of expression, anonymous, non-judgmental internet chatrooms and discussion forums. Three central case studies illustrate how IT improved the lives of Kumar who is on the autism spectrum, Marie who has dementia and Irene who is almost completely nonverbal. The book also provides practical guidance on how to use common IT programs including Powerpoint and gives an overview of the technology available for people with specific difficulties. Useful resources and organisations are supplied at the end of the book.

Getting IT shows the power of IT to help people with communication difficulties satisfy the universal human need to communicate. This book will inspire carers, teachers, psychologists, parents and other professionals to use IT with people with communication difficulties, and will expand the skills and knowledge of those who already do.

This book outlines how the use of relatively simple information technology can enable people with major communication problems, actively to take part in and, in some cases, to lead decision - making processes affecting their own lives. The book presents case studies of a small number of people with extreme difficulties who had previously been the recipients of decisions based on assumed interpretations of their needs. It shows how they moved form almost passive acceptance of whatever choices were made for them to the stage where they were the instigators for the changes which they themselves wanted in their lives.

– British Journal of Special Education

How to use information technology to make voices heard is the essential theme of this book. This is not about using computers to escape from the world, it is about using them to connect with it.

– Introduction, Getting IT

A study, by authors well-known in the field, of common problems encountered by people with learning disabilities in terms of communication, and a wide range of ideas and practical suggestions for how IT can be employed to resolve these.

– Current Awareness Service (BILD)

Information technology (IT) can help people with communication difficulties to better express themselves and connect with others. This resource for service providers offers practical ideas on turning technologies such as a PowerPoint into tools of empowerment and inclusion.

– Book News

I would thoroughly recommend this book.

– British Journal of Special Education

All those who work in facilities where there are disabled people, including the elderly, should read this book. It may help to challenge assumptions made about the value, experiences and needs of many clients attending day centres and similar institutions. Anyone who is in the caring profession will be inspired and motivated by this book.

– British Journal of Special Education

For the past five years I've been trying to inspire people to use information technology (IT) with people with dementia. Here is a book that does just that, but for a wider group of people with various communication problems. [The authors] ideas and practical tips could be a useful starting point for those working with people with dementia. As well as the inspiring narrative, this book has plenty of practical tips and examples that could be tried by people working with people with dementia. Useful appendices include hints and tips, lists of useful websites and other resources and 'help-sheets' with step-by-step guides to producing different effects in PowerPoint.

– Journal of Dementia Care

The book's stated aim is to, 'inspire people to use Information Technology-IT with people in care and expand the skills and knowledge of those already doing so...The book would be relevant and useful for careres, teachers, other professionals and family members who work with people communication diffuculties and who have limited IT knowledge or confidence.

– Patoss Bulletin

I enjoyed reading this book. It is not your mind boggling IT book but tells the stories of three people with leaning disabilities who, with help, have used multi media to learn, participate in activities with others, make their own record of their interests and life events and improve their communication and decision making skills... inspiring and helpful

– PMLD Link

Dinah Murray has a PhD in linguistics, is currently a tutor for Birmingham University's distance learning course in autism and has published widely on the topic. She is the editor of Coming Out Asperger: Diagnosis, Disclosure and Self-Confidence, also published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Ann Aspinall has over seven years' experience of working with information communication technology (ICT) with adults with learning disabilities. She has an MA in community care (learning disabilities) and is currently project manager for TATE (Through Assistive Technology to Employment), UK.
Introduction: Getting IT: the why and what of this book. 1. Inclusion in the 21st Century: the argument for ensuring access to IT. 2. Beginning to Take Control. 3. Telling Your Own Story. 4. Asking and Telling. 5. Connecting and Exploring. 6. Living and Learning. 7. Getting together. 8. A Year or so Later…. 9. Taking control of Time: a step by step guide to making an Interactive calendar. 10. Getting IT Right: tackling the technical aspects of using computer equipment. Appendix 1 Hints and Tips. Appendix 2 Relevant Websites. Appendix 3 Resources. Appendix 4 Helpsheets. References. Subject index. Author index.
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