Sunday, October 16, 2011

An Exercise in Communication

My father had a stroke recently.  Not the kind where you become paralyzed, but the kind where you forget how to speak and understand language.  In the hospital, his first reaction when he realized this was to get out his phone, and practice writing names.  While they waited for the doctor to get back, he had managed to not only write out people's names, but say them as well.  Now he is talking.  He forgets words and he sometimes does not understand what we are saying, but it is clear he is recovering slowly, but surely.

My father is a very independent man.  He taught himself everything he knows and is very active.  He's been spending a lot of time on home improvement projects, talking to himself to get used to saying the words again.  When he starts to forget someone's name, he uses his phone to get accustomed to it again.  Right now he is searching the Home Depo and Walmart web sites for materials for his projects.  He's a bit lost, but at least he is allowing me to help him navigate a little.

My step-mother is a bit stressed at the situation.  Between having to be home and watch him and trying to make sure he is saying the right words as opposed to "that thing" and answering e-mails and Facebook messages and texts all from worried family and friends, I'm amazed she's handling it as well as she is.  I know I'd end up turning my phone off just to get a moment of peace.

The whole situation reminds me of how useful technology is for learning.  My father would have taken a  lot longer to get as far as he has if he had not has his phone on him.  Searching the internet has enhanced his understanding of words and is helping him remember what he used to know.  Simply using the search systems of Home Depo and Walmart alone has allowed him to communicate to us what he wanted to work on next for a project. 

It's amazing how technology can teach and re-teach people in unexpected ways.  Since I started library school I've learned more about the power of technology to teach than I ever thought possible.  My experiences since then have shown me more than anything that technology belongs in our schools, belongs in our lives.  This is a thank you to technology.  My father is going to make a full recovery.  And I have no doubt it is due to technology.


Denice B.
Sunday, October 16, 2011

Thinking of you and your family. Powerful stuff (your post and technology!).

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