World Children’s Day
Supporting staff and students to achieve their full potential since 1968.
Welcome to our weekly CENMAC blog post.
World Children’s Day | by Wayne McCullough, CENMAC Advisory Teacher
On the 20 November each year, we celebrate World Children’s Day. This is organised by a charity called UNICEF and is an annual day of action for children, by children.
This year has been incredibly difficult for all but probably most difficult for children and young people. They have had to adjust to new ways of learning, including remote/online learning and spending less time with their friends. One of the key aims outlined by UNICEF to help support children is to “Ensure all children learn, including closing the digital divide”.
Our role at CENMAC is to help to provide assistive technology to children and young people to support their learning and communication, which they may not have access to otherwise. By providing children and young people with assistive equipment it can have a real impact and provide greater access to their learning, helping them to achieve their goals.
The use of technology can make access to education easier, and we are seeing this in the range of software applications and equipment which is available. Microsoft is just one of the many companies that enable pupils and young people easier access software applications and have recently included new and exciting features to support this and are now including learning tools in their products to make it even more accessible for everyone to use.
“We will focus on designing and building products that our customers love and that are accessible to everyone and built for each of us”.
Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft
CENMAC continues to support students across London and we are all so proud of their achievements and the difference having access to assistive technology can make to their lives and learning. From providing them with a voice to communicate their needs and make requests, to being able to write a piece of work which may have proven difficult for them in the past.
To see how the equipment does support their learning, here are a few short words from some of the students, families, and schools we support.
From a newly assessed pupil: “Thank you for giving me the laptop. It helps me do my work in class all on my own. My favourite thing to do is make a book. I can take my laptop home to do my work. I really like my laptop”.
Feedback from a member of staff: “The young person has been able to play 4 in a row using, tell me who he likes in lunch club and initiate a conversation with prompting using his device. He is also using the predictive text features a lot more”.
Feedback from a member of staff: “The pupil is loving his laptop and it has had such a huge impact.”
We recently received this piece of feedback from one of the colleges we support and thought we should share how the use of AAC technology can also have a positive and profound effect on a young person’s life:
Student X now has a device and can now demonstrate his understanding of his life and circumstances. For example, he is able to tell me about the girl he has taken a shine to and wants to get to know more. We are working on developing conversational skills, so that he is able get to know her more during our lunch time social club.
Using speech alone has been rather personality crushing for Student X, I truly believe he is thriving whilst using his device. He told me recently that speech therapy makes him feel brave and that he loves watching YouTube shows where celebrities compete to see what their ‘hot wing’ spice tolerance is.
I would not know as much as I do about my amazing client without the use of his device. Student X can now tell me who he really is and I am completely, wholeheartedly ready to listen.
It is really wonderful to see how the impact the of the correct technology can make to an individual to help them reach their full potential.
Remember, it is easy for anyone to take part in World Children’s Day this year; you can wear something blue and change your profile picture to help to raise awareness. If you are aged between 13-24 and love drawing you can help to create an illustration to promote a greener and more sustainable future. For further details, please visit: www.voicesofyouth.org/world-childrens-day-challenge
The use of technology can make access to education easier, and we are seeing this in the range of software applications and equipment which is available.
Don’t forget you can share your CENMAC experiences for our CENMAC family to enjoy.
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