Disabled Children Learn IT From Disabled Adults

Singapore, 10 June 2003 – This school holiday, 9-year-old twin brothers Amin and Aman have more than the usual toys and cartoons to look forward to. Two of 15 physically disabled primary school children taking part in Creative Workshop 2003, the pair who suffer from Achodroplasia (dwarfism) will learn in the Workshop how to maximise their creativity and with the computer, design their own cards and brochures.

The 2-day workshop from 10 to 11 June is organised by the Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD) for physically disabled children in mainstream primary schools. Through the course, the participants will be introduced to the computer and taught the basics of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Paint and Microsoft Powerpoint. What’s more, these classes are conducted by a team of physically disabled web designers from the SPD Multimedia Centre.

Similarly disadvantaged, the trainers are role models for the participants to look beyond their physical limitations and attain a high standard of IT proficiency. As part of the SPD Web Design Team, they are specially trained in the areas of web design. The team of five has been designing web sites and also e-cards for commercial companies. The trainers will teach the students to design and produce their own greeting cards and brochures at the Workshop.

To help the children shed their inhibitions, a creative thinking skills course has been worked into the programme. Conducted by former schoolteacher Mrs Elizabeth Mary Thorarajoo, this component will teach the students techniques they could employ to free their minds and enhance their natural talents and creativity.

All these are done in line with the Singapore Government’s push towards creative thinking. Courses available commercially are not accessible for many of these physically disabled children as some of them require some form of mobility aid. This course, besides being affordable, provides an alternative for the children to participate in holiday workshops like any other normal student.

The highly interactive programme will include the use of short lectures, games, group exercises, video programmes, situation simulations, individual presentations and feedback.

Amin and Aman’s mother, Mdm Joan Canafee, is glad that her boys are able to take part in the programme. “IT is so important nowadays so I’m glad to be able to send my sons here. They can also learn about the PC with their disabled friends. Hopefully they can learn to be more creative! Now at least they know how to use the computer to surf the Internet and make their own cards instead of just playing games.”