Back to the basics

Technology inspires ambivalent feelings.

Courtesy photo

With technology improving at a rapid pace, I often find myself trying to be more and more innovative when it comes to using activities in speech therapy. I don’t think that is entirely a negative thing, but sometimes I have to remind myself that the simple and basic activities are also fun and exciting.

I often feel like I’m competing with machines. I wish I could draw, color and cut perfect shapes, pictures and games. I remember at the beginning of the school year, I made a poster for my wall that came out crooked. I was ready to throw it away, but Antuan said it made the kids use their imagination.

“You can say it’s a rhombus,” he told me.

The poster is still on my wall.

I search for new and cool games on iPads that are designed for speech therapy, but I have yet to use them with my students. I like doing simple activities with them. I like the interactions we have. We play games like Go Fish, Candy Land, or card games that they come up with using their bright little minds. To be honest, I am scared that once I introduce the iPad in therapy, I’m going to lose their interest.

I know all of these kids have iPads and video games at home that they play with. I see young children playing with them all the time. My niece just turned 2 and she knows how to get on Netflix and watch movies. I was fascinated when I saw that, but then nervous at the same time. I hope she does not stare at an iPad or television screen the majority of the day.

One of my coworkers told me her 4-year-old granddaughter wanted an iPad for Christmas, but she did not want to spend that much money on a gadget. I told her I oppose that as a gift. She laughed and conveniently agreed. I told her these little electronic gadgets do not allow the children to use their own imagination and they take away from a child’s social skills. They take away from my social skills.

Whatever happened to playing outside and making a tent out of your blankets so the bears won’t see you? Whatever happened to talking about your day at the park?

When I worked with older patients who survived strokes and were building their communication skills, they often got frustrated on the computers. We enjoyed talking to one another in groups, singing, playing games and reading. They also did not grow up with technology in their households.   

I am thankful for technology, but then I feel like it hinders our natural abilities. It takes away from communicating with one another face to face. It takes away from our alertness. But then it offers us a chance to see what’s happening on the other side of the world.

Can you tell I’m ambivalent toward technology? I guess just like everything else, technology needs to be used in moderation.

What about you? How do you feel about children using technology at such a young age? How do you think it affects our communication skills? How is this going to affect our future generations? 

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