Saturday, September 27, 2008

Welcome to the 21st century Sen. McCain.....or

what about MacSpeech, or Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 Preferred?

It's been widely reported that Sen. McCain can't use a computer due to the injuries suffered while a POW in Vietnam. However, as the parent of a child with a disability I have to call phooey on that. I have a lot of respect for the Senator's heroism but to cloak one'self in disability strikes me as wrong. I have a far greater respect for those who work to rise above that. We live in an age of technology which can be used to augment our abilities and amend for our weaknesses.

Technology can do amazing things. I have seen children who desperately want to communicate with people in their world use Assistive Technology to "speak" for them. The joy in their faces is palpable. Two weeks ago I was so blessed to witness this sort of event unfold in front of me. I watched a mother of a young boy with Autism "speak" to his mom through this device. The joy on her face brought tears to my eyes. I know that feeling down to the core of my being. When your child who has all these thoughts and feelings bottled up inside and no matter what you do they don't come out, until [pop] the top comes off! Out they flow and you are just so amazed and grateful.

So I have to ask myself why an educated person who works and functions in this highly connected world would not take advantage of the technology available today? I read a blog posted recently from an Astro Physics Professor, Dr. Pamela Gay, who's website I enjoy reading even though I don't always understand it all. She "wrote" an entire blog using voice recognition software without her fingers having to touch the keyboard at all. It did a fabulous job. This is not the voice recognition software I was familiar with, but a much improved product. I have admittedly been out of the tech field for about 9 years - or as long as my oldest child has roamed the earth. That's a lifetime or two in technology. Heck, I'm a dinosaur (don't tell the young earthers!).

So, back to the question. Why would the Senator not use a product that would improve his abilities to communicate with his constituents, his colleagues, his staff, etc? This is the computer age. I don't know. But I do recognize this as a failure to "change" or embrace change around you. I see this as something of a metaphor for clinging to the old ways even though newer and better ways are available.

just my 2 bits tonight.

No comments: