The Pathology of Technology


Saturday, September 13, 2008


Last March, my friend Mary Ann sent me an email to console me, or perhaps just to tell me how she was feeling and empathizing with me because I had emailed her with my feelings and healing activities at the time. It made me cry, and still does, but in a good way.

I felt both sad and empowered by her words. Sad, because someone who I rarely see, who lives on the other side of the state, who only connects with me two or three times a year, was able to write something so touching - while people I have worked with for 19 years have yet to acknowledge my loss at all. Others tell me that they just don't know what to say, but I maintain that a simple I am sorry for your loss would be sufficient because one is left to imagine the worst in the absence of any consolable words from another. Empowered because she made me feel special again and mainly from my daughter's eyes as she imagined Lesley's perspective.

I frequently read Mary Ann's email to me because I need to hear and feel her concern to know that there are some very special people on this planet who mean the world to me because of their compassion and their understanding. I re-read her words to me because I need to feel and hear what I imagine my daughter would say to me from the other side, and I need to put myself in a reflective mode and dream of the days we shared together and the eternal life I look forward to sharing with her when it is my time.

Here then, is that very sincere email in poetic form:


Know that today I share my tears with yours
As time will never relinquish you of the pain of losing a child
Understand that many
Who have not experienced what you have
Often struggle with the "what to say"
And usually can only offer thoughts and prayers
As well with those who don't appear to be supportive
You share what I have heard from others
Who express their frustration over personal losses of
Family, so many friends and colleagues.

I am sure it does not seem possible a year has passed.
Focus on the struggle,
But focus more on your growth and efforts in trying to understand,
Focus on directing your energy in a positive way
To affect others who shared your daughters' commitment
And her belief toward mental health issues.
Picture her smiling upon you
For what you and your wife have contributed in her name ....
I am sure this is a moment of pride
she would like to share with you,
as well as one of comfort that can reach across eternity if possible.
Capture your strength,
Recognize your courage,
When you experience them,
You have done amazing things in her name....

As you say, Good Morning - how are you doing today?
can certainly have different responses at various times and days.... you and I both know that is OK ......
Faith Hope and Love ....
Do not forget any of these ....
Faith that your daughter's love of you and yours for her
will always be there .....
Hope that the pain may ease,
Hope that your perspective will mold a future
that may be different because of your experiences
and because of your daughter's influence, and Love –
shared with others in her name will keep her memory strong
and her life an extension of the love you and your wife continue to share ......
with that love and her memory, she is never totally gone.....
only away for the time being
....... truly ......
smile and know that her presence and life –
as short as it was ....
certainly will be remembered
by many who were touched by her kindness, love and talent.

As the New Year begins -
in the hectic life we all live in ....
remember to stop every day and see what is good around you..... the "rainbow" that is captured behind the cloud,
small but evident,
only if one truly looks for it ....
it is there more often then we know .....
as I look for it each day on my way to work as the sun rises .....
it represents the hope and faith in God
that we both must maintain as we progress in our lives....
you are such a good person, caring, with so much to share –
I truly care that you will be patient
with all that you are feeling at different times on different days ...... and know that you can always share or call if needed .......
truly, you are in my thoughts and prayers -
that it makes you smile and feel a goodness that comes
from friendship across the miles ....
Enjoy today –
as you will in some way touch another as you have so touched me ...... thank you for sharing .......

Friday, September 12, 2008

AT implementation Rubric?

Many of our Local Assistive Technology Specialists (LATS) face the same challenge when it comes to assessment. Not only student assessment, but program assessment. One resource we share with them for program assessment are the QIAT matrices (download them at <> ). But what about adapting these for student specfic assessment? When evaluating how effective we are with systemic implementation of the quality indicators, the range of descriptors are from 1 to 4, or from "unacceptable to best practice." As Joy Zabala recently pointed out on a listserv post, the range of descriptors for assessing students using something like the QIAT Matrices, they could be "current" to "target" or something similar. She goes on to say that current could serve as the baseline to evaluate progress and each step could indicate movement toward the target. So, how do you evaluate the effectiveness of your technology intervention, with fidelity, that all important term that is confounding educators as they strive to find the most effective intervention?

Through the Looking Glass