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The Audacity of Technology

December 28, 2011

I wanted to use “the audacity of hope” for this post title, but it was already taken. Depending on which side of the political aisle you sit, the “hope” thing is either a genuine “belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life” or a punch line, as in “the hopey-changey thing.” For this particular post, I’ll opt for the former.

My son is 20 and has special needs. A very rare genetic disorder produces hyperhomocysteinemia in Kyle and caused brain damage when he was young. He’s a fun and very social kid, but he is still extremely challenged with the “3 R’s.” It is my undying hope that my boy will learn to read, and that’s where the audacity of technology comes in.

I’ve had an iPad2 for about 6 months and still marvel at how I can consume information with it like a stoner might consume at an all you can eat taco bar.  As the holidays approached, I began thinking about gifts and what Kyle might want. Posing the question directly was met with a mildly fearful look of, “Jeez, I’d better come up with something.” On Christmas Eve I told him that kids that didn’t have anything on Santa’s list would get surplus items and that the fishnet stocking lamp like the one in “A Christmas Story” was really big this year. Kyle did not find that funny at all, so I assured him I was kidding.

Meanwhile, I’d been researching the utility of an iPad as an educational platform for Kyle.  I was so excited when I found Read2Go, an iPad app that highlights the words as it reads them aloud! The app is affiliated with Bookshare.org, a library of 127,000 books (including his favorites by J.K Rowling) FREE to the learning disabled. I’m still getting Kyle’s account set up, so in the meantime I’m introducing “the boy who lived” to some of the iPad’s other great capabilities. Yeah, on Christmas night he was upstairs watching television, so I pinged him with Facetime, the video-chat app. He looked at me in the glass. I looked at him in the glass. I said, “Now I don’t have to leave the couch to tell you to take your meds.” There was a short pause, then he said, “Dad, leave me alone.” I love how technology can bring people together…

Anyway, this technology potential has me filled with hope, and as you sail into the new year, I hope your 2012 is filled with it too.

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