Mentor Tip: Promoting Technology

Send this message to the mentors only.

Subject: Mentoring tips on promoting technology

The following statements are true.

  • Computers can help students in school.
  • Computer skills can lead to good jobs.
  • Computers can be used to support personal interests and social life.
  • Computers can help young people communicate with mentors.
  • Increasing numbers of jobs require computer skills.

Below is specific advice from successful teens and adults with disabilities about encouraging young people with disabilities to use computers.

  • The Internet is a valuable tool. Parents and teachers should do everything they can to provide access to the Internet to their students/children and then encourage them to use it. (college student who is blind)
  • I would advise a parent or teacher to tell kids that computers are the future and if they don't know how to use one then they will get lost in the dust. (high school student with a learning disability)
  • Being able to use a computer is a great skill to have today. Don't be afraid of computers! They won't bite. Kids with disabilities benefit extremely from access in their everyday academic lives. It is a tool that "levels the playing field." Computers and the Internet also promote social interactions. (high school student with a mobility impairment)
  • If you want to encourage a kid to use a computer, it is very important not to force them to do it. Everyone learns better when they are pursuing a personal interest. (high school student with a mobility impairment)
  • I would encourage students to join discussion lists that cover topics they are interested in. (young person with a mobility impairment)
  • (1). Give your kids an early start at learning technology. They should at least understand word processing, email, World Wide Web, and even some spreadsheets and databases. (2). Teach them a wide variety of programs to increase their chances of getting jobs. (3). Give them the opportunities to do internships to practice using technology on the job. (college student who is blind)
  • Experience, enjoy, and apply the concepts gained in everyday situations. (physics professor with a mobility impairment)
  • Parents and teachers should make sure that disabled students have easy and frequent access to computers and that students know how to use their technology comfortably without much assistance. DO-IT is great for learning how to effectively use email and the Internet—today I'm still using a lot of things that I learned at the Summer Studies. (college student who is deaf)
  • Let them work at their own pace. If they are totally for it the first time you ask them, great! However, if it takes a few times of urging them to use computers at school, just be patient with them. They will catch on sooner than you expect. (high school student with a mobility impairment)
  • Before you invest in a computer for a student, give him an opportunity to try out different types of technology. Let him pick out the hardware and software that works best for him. Don't make false assumptions! Just because a device works well for some doesn't mean it will work for all. Get a complete idea of what the student needs, and use all the resources you have to learn what is available. Let him get recommendations from others and try out different pieces of equipment. From that point, you and the student can decide what kind of technology works best. (college student who is blind)
  • Email requires deaf individuals to really focus on developing English skills. Encourage students to always proofread their messages before sending them. Once you hit the send button, it's too late to go back and change something. (employee who is deaf)
  • My advice to students with disabilities and their parents and teachers is that technology is not a nicety; it is a necessity. Get it, learn it, and use it. (college student who is blind)