Technology Helping People With Special Needs

“Technology is an incredible tool. But the same way as if you give somebody a hammer, if they don’t know how to use that hammer, they run the risk of dropping it on their foot and hurting themselves. So when you talk about the special needs community or those with special needs, it’s important to recognize that you need to take the time to teach them how to use it properly.

Because if you’re not gonna use something the way that it needs to be used, it’s going to become a hindrance and it’s gonna become a distraction. And it’s not gonna become something that gives you that positive experience that makes you want to come back and use it again.

Technology from this standpoint, of filming videos, educational content, all of those things are absolutely incredible. It can get your message sent across the world with the click of your finger. It’s amazing. But if you’re not educated and you don’t have the openness to try things out to put yourself out there literally with the click of the button, then it’s not gonna do you any good.

You have to be willing to go out there. You have to be willing to show that you’re a human. You have to be willing to make mistakes. And once you learn and you have open dialogues, that’s when true progress is gonna be made. From a standpoint of helping some of our kids at Summit, technology has done such an incredible job at literally helping them come out of their shells. A lot of the kids at Summit come to us after having less than positive experiences in other schools. And we come and all of a sudden, the kids are invited to birthday parties.

We teach them how to do videos using digital imaging and they’re talking into the microphones, and they’re producing incredible content. We’re showing the kids how they can achieve their greatest potential and it’s not for anybody else to tell them what they can and can’t do. We provide the tools. And technology is absolutely amazing in terms of giving someone an iPad and being able to give them a whole new way to communicate if that’s what they need.

Here in Montreal specifically, one of the things that separates us from a lot of the other cities in Canada and in North America is our public transportation system, which is absolutely a beautiful thing to use. So many people use it. It’s easy, it’s simple. You have monthly passes. For our students we travel train them, and it gives them their independence. They’re no longer reliant on their parents or their friends or whoever else they’re close to in order to bring them to where they have to get to, where they want to get to.

We’re able to show them how to get to work. We’re able to teach them how to get to a friend’s house, how to see a movie, how to go shopping in one of our amazing underground malls in the underground city. The beauty is out there wherever it is that you need to, that you want to look to see how Montreal is at this cusp of embracing the technology. Not just digital and handheld devices, but there’s talk about train stations right across from the school.

They’re building a new hub for the metro station. We’re talking about teaching our kids how to use things like Uber or the taxi apps, paying with mobile devices for some of our kids who aren’t necessarily able to count change. Some incredible way from a security standpoint, our families are able to know where their children are at all times. They can be confident if their children go to the movies and go on their own with some friends. That with a click of a button they can check in and they can see where their kids are.

From a standpoint of safety, Montreal’s a very safe big city. Not that things don’t happen but Montreal’s statistically speaking is a very safe city. We’re able to use that as a badge of pride. You can walk up and down the streets and not be afraid. You can’t say the same thing, I mean, any city has their areas where you should stay away from. But for the most part, people walk the streets, they’re confident. They’re happy.”