Thursday, August 6, 2009

early computer literacy

with one of my kiddos this year i am way out of my element. i've discovered i'm the most comfortable with children who have emotional disabilities, or have autism. i know a lot about learning disabilities, but i really know very little about physical disabilities.

i have a beautiful little girl this year who is confined to a wheelchair. she's very clever and sweet, and an absolute joy to work with. we're working closely with the occupational and physical therapists to be sure we are meeting her needs and keeping her safe, but we definitely have a learning curve. there are so many aspects of the day to day life in kindergarten we have to adapt for her- and so many i just don't think about until they are happening. we try to over think everything we do so we are ready, but like with all children it's proving to be impossible to be completely prepared. i'm learning a lot, which is nice for me, but i just wish i could give this little one a teacher who wasn't always saying, "oh! wait- maybe we should try something else!"

she's been incredibly patient with us as we work through the first-week kinks and hopefully we'll soon develop a rhythm to smoothly including her in all aspects of the day.

after observing how difficult writing is for her i asked clairvoy for a laptop. i know she uses the computer at home but i had no idea what kind of experience she had with it, how independent she could be with it, and how computer literate she was as a five year old.

turns out, she's a rock star.

we sat down to use it together and after i eventually stopped doing things for her she took over. i am mortified that i'd assumed she didn't know how to use a computer, couldn't reach some of the keys, or didn't have the fine motor ability to type.

clearly at five she is very computer literate, and where she's not sure what to do she's not scared to click around and figure it out. she may not have perfect fine motor skills, but she is patient and determined enough to make it work. when i realized how difficult it was for her to double click on something i cringed- i hadn't thought that would be a problem, and here i was giving her something else that was hard. i immediately wanted to fix it. i took over for her a few times until she (politely) pushed my hand out of the way and did it herself. and kept doing it herself. i literally got goose bumps watching her take over the computer and explore on pixie. she wrote her name, added a background, and added details in the picture. she clearly knows what's she's doing, and when she doesn't know what she's doing she's ready to try until she figures it out.

i don't know many other five year olds who have this sense of determination.

(well, i take that back. i know a lot of determined five year olds. i just don't know how many use it to achieve something other than temper tantrums in the classroom. )

our computer exploration today reminded me that kids, even the youngest kids, are very capable on a computer, and should never be doubted on their ability to handle a computer.

asides from that, i was also reminded that it is ok for things to be hard for my little one. she's strong and willing and able to work through problems.

cheers for learning curves, and those around us willing to be patient as we experience them.


carey said...

like you, most of my experience and training has been with/in emotional issues and the autism spectrum, and i'm not sure if i'd be prepared to work with a child with severe physical disabilities. this post was a really wonderful thing to read.

Ardath Osborne said...

uh, Thad...
computer age: under 2 years old,
mac savvy.

Scary stuff, but it proves your point, Mrs. Lipstick