January 6th is National Technology Day and recognizes the way that technology has changed the world, how it helps us communicate, and how it will shape the future.
The use of technology can help young children grow and learn. Early learners can use technology to actively engage in fun and challenging activities, communication and connect with their peers. Many children at Pacekids are non-verbal or have limited speech production and require alternative communication systems to be able to communicate with their families, friends, and teachers. Augmentative and alternative communication and technology resources have greatly benefited the children we serve.
These types of technology can help give a voice to children with specials needs in our programs. They can help children with complex communication needs learn to communicate, while also helping children with speech and language delays improve their communication skills, preparing them for the next stages of their lives.
With the assistance of low-tech and high-tech materials and equipment, children have been able to exceed their personal communication goals. Children have learned to communicate using more language functions and have begun using a more diverse vocabulary.
Six years ago, a little girl named Kya started in the Early Childhood Services Program at Pacekids. Kya has Rett Syndrome and is completely non-verbal. A new technology purchased by a grant, referred to as eye gaze technology, was trialed by Kya with the support of the Pacekids Speech Language Pathology team. Eye gaze technology is an eye operated communication and control system that empowers people with disabilities to communicate and interact with the world. By looking at control keys or cells displayed on a screen, a user can generate speech either through typing a message or selecting pre-programmed phrases. Kya and the Pacekids team had overwhelming success and Kya began communicating her needs and wants for the first time in her five-year-old life. Following the success of this trial, Kya’s family moved forward with the purchase of their own eye gaze system as this technology has been life changing for Kya and her family.
Technology During a Global Pandemic
Technology has played an even more crucial role for many families during the past year. For the families that Pacekids serves, their homes quickly became classrooms, playgrounds, art studios and so much more.
Through video conferencing and virtual lessons, technology and our staff helped ensure that every child has access to the resources they needed to continue to grow and develop. To further support learning from home, our staff launched virtual ‘circle time’ and ‘story time’ for the little ones.
Our ‘in-home’ team of Aides, Therapists and Practitioners transitioned to providing video sessions with families and provided digital session plans activities to continue to target children’s specific developmental goals in the home environment.
Thanks to technology and the generous donors that help us provide resources and equipment to children in need, Pacekids has been able to greatly impact the children and families we serve.
To learn more about how technology is used in the classroom and in the home, please free to call us at 403.234.7876.
Pacekids Programs is a charitable organization that strives to empower children with special needs and their families through excellence in therapy and education. Operating for over 25 years and funded through Program Unit Funding (PUF) from Alberta Education, & Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD), Pacekids serves children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Global Developmental Delay, Down Syndrome, Speech & Language delays, and more through a variety of programs in the Calgary area.