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Getting IT:
Using information technology to empower people with communication difficulties

by Dinah Murray and Ann Aspinall

Item: 9781843103752

Format: softcover
Pages: 192

‘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

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.


Extract from the Introduction

About Getting IT

We know that people who do not speak can amaze people with their articulacy at the keyboard. We know people who find it hard to communicate or make friends in the real world but construct real friendships online. In the real world where you can see and hear each other, people are impatient for articulation and meaningful response and see unusual movements as a reason to dismiss and disregard you; you are constantly bombarded with information you can’t switch off; everyone else is in an unintelligible and unpredictable rush. At the computer people are safe from the impact of society’s rejection of the slow and odd. At the computer people who do not speak have a voice.

This book is meant to inspire people to use information technology (IT) with people in care and expand the skills and knowledge of those already doing so. In the next chapter we describe the impact IT has had on the lives of actual people the authors have known. Between us we have worked for about 30 years with people who have learning and/or communication disabilities of various kinds. We ourselves have been excited and inspired when we have seen how access to IT can transform people’s lives. How to use information technology to make voices heard is the essential theme of this book.


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