Category: Uncategorized

July 17, 2024 by clearymf 0 Comments

AI – Oh My!

Everywhere we turn, there is some reference to Artificial Intelligence – how it’s going to improve or ruin our world as we know it. For those who don’t know a lot about AI (most of us!), it can be a scary prospect, especially if we have children. And many of us with special needs kids are downright terrified!

We’ve all read about how AI can help us to write, create, evaluate and grow. And we’ve also learned the downside: it can limit our creativity and even increase our laziness! So in order to help our children, we need to take on the formidable task of examining it and finding out how to use it best to improve our lives.

When we do, we’ll find that there’s lots of good news. Here are some of the ways AI can help our children:

  • Did you know that you can turn text to speech and vice versa to help your kids to read? And, there are a lot of free (yes, free!) tools to help you. You might want to start with “Google Accessibility Help” and work from there.
  • Personalized Learning – AI can analyze your child’s strengths and weaknesses and tailor their resources to suit their needs. Most of these tools are available to teachers, but there are a ton that you can access as a parent. Check out Common Sense Media which is a good start for suggestions.
  • AI Chatbots (our biggest worry) can actually provide help for our kids’ simple questions and answer those that are frustrating them. So, not only can they ask “What is the Declaration of Independence?” but they can also add, “Explain it to me at a third grade level.” Same with Math. In fact, the Chatbot may be able to help solve problems that even we can’t figure out! Take your kids on a “ChatGTP Tour” and have fun experimenting with all the things you can do.
  • How about making learning materials more accessible? AI can do that too! For instance, AI can turn a textbook into an audiobook or a digital book where you can change the font sizes.

These just begin to scratch the surface, and the future looks even more robust in terms of services for special needs learners – think “intelligent tutoring” and “predictive analytics.” Big terms with huge implications. Products are being developed every day that perform those functions and more.

Of course, we’ll always worry about losing control of how our children are using AI. We’re concerned about ethics and the personal data we have to share when using these tools. What about the “digital divide” and how some kids have more access to technology than others. Does this increase inequity in our schools?

And, as with all tech, we are concerned about keeping the human touch in our lives. Even now, we complain that our children are “always on their phones.” What’s next on the horizon?

Perhaps the best thing we can do is accept that improvements in technology are inevitable and they’re going to keep changing our world. So how do we handle it? By learning as much as we can and harnessing it for the good of our families.

June 13, 2022 by clearymf 0 Comments

Is Our Pain “Worthy?”

I found out this week that my company didn’t receive an award. We worked very hard for it; I even shelled out a substantial amount of money (for me) to produce a video for our submission. It was first-rate and I thought our chances were good – even great. So I fell down from a very high
mountain when we lost.

It was painful. We really could have used the recognition that award would have brought because we are a micro-business that needs exposure. I could have benefitted personally because I work mainly by myself and it would have been a real shot in the arm. But none of this happened and I was left wondering how to handle it.

After the initial disappointment, my next response was to tell myself that other people have much bigger problems than I do. “What about the people in the Ukraine?” I would ask myself. “The families whose children were shot? Those with terminal cancer?” I could go on – and I did.

No matter what happens, I try to convince myself that I really don’t deserve to feel bad or hurt or sad because there are so many who are worse off than I. I was listening to a podcast the other day where a politician who was badly betrayed by his colleagues was explaining his hurt, so
deep that he went into a year-long depression. But then he tried to dismiss it, saying that his problems didn’t compare to those that others in the world were experiencing.

But here’s the thing: he deserved to mourn his trauma because it was HIS, it was real and it was profound. We can’t judge what will send others into a spiral. We can’t compare our pain to theirs and say that they deserve to feel bad and we don’t. Our pain is our pain. And we need to own it and accept that we can grieve it without guilt.

Let’s be honest – having a child with a disability is a great disappointment. Yes, every child is a gift. Yes, our children bring us unanticipated blessings. But a big part of the experience is pain – often pain that we didn’t anticipate. Many of us don’t own that pain completely because we
know we are blessed to have a child at all, that we have had new doors opened to us because of it, that we have grown spiritually and intellectually through this experience.

But it is still pain. We want our children to be like the others. And we want to enjoy what other parents enjoy. So we find ways to cope, and one of them is to “excuse” our pain away. I’d like to propose that this is not healthy for us because it just gives us another reason to beat ourselves up. Yes, we are sad, disappointed, mad, hurt, depressed and a host of other things. And yes, we are allowed to feel that way, despite whatever problems anyone else is having. And we shouldn’t demean it by calling it a “pity-party.” These are genuine feelings and they’re ours.

As an old song says, we’ll eventually “pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again.” But let’s give ourselves a minute, a week or however long it takes to be sad and know that we’re OK to feel that way.

January 29, 2022 by clearymf 0 Comments

#nolimits

Honored to speak with author and IEP Specialist Shelley Kenow #nolimits about struggling readers and how we can help them to grow and thrive. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrCMTxQFG7Y

September 18, 2021 by clearymf 0 Comments

Our Article in EP Magazine

Readeezy is honored to have our first article published in EP (Exceptional Parent) Magazine! Here’s the link: https://reader.mediawiremobile.com/…/207412/viewer...