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Name: Shane
Occupation: Masters in Digital Effects
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Country: Irish

ShaneShane (24) is a student studying for a Masters degree in digital effects. He is a daily user of AT, both at home and in college. Shane used computers before starting college, but he found it difficult and slow. At college, Shane was put in contact with learning support professionals and the assistive technology service, where he received a laptop.

With AT support, Shane’s quality of life has improved. He has become a daily and successful computer user. Using AT, he now experiences no problems using computers in education and he feels more self confidant and in control. He can now fully access education.

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Shane complains that at second level there was very little understanding of his disability and very little support offered. Every support and allowance had to be fought for and he needed to involve his family. He comments that other students, unaware of their entitlements and without as much family involvement, did not get the same support. In secondary school there was little or no help available in terms of Assistive Technology. The supports Shane received at second level were; additional time and the use of a tape recorder, to record answers. Shane points out, that using a tape recorder and doing the same test, his grade would rise from a D+ to a B+. He feels strongly on the subject of raising awareness among teachers in secondary schools about Dyslexia and about how technology can assist people and that more information about AT should be made available.

While studying Shane benefited greatly from having access at all times to a computer running the 3D and graphics programs used on his course. Having his own laptop allowed Shane to work at his own pace - this is the most important point of all and cannot be emphasised enough. This allowed Shane to work without the stress and pressure of keeping up in class. For example, Shane found difficulty recognising the technical words in pull down menus in some of the multi-media programs used on his course.

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For example in 3D Studio Max, a computer graphics program, under the ‘modifier’ menu Shane is asked to pick out ‘mesh smooth’ from a pull down list, he finds it difficult to recognise words such as this which negatively affects his progress. These are words that are not used in everyday language and so they are more difficult to know or pick out.

By having access to a computer at all times Shane can spend more time getting to know the software’s interface and hidden functions. By the end of his course, Shane was as competent as his classmates in this software.

The spellchecker tool in Microsoft Word was also a great help to Shane. He used this program to write up his essays, this tool allowed him to correct the spelling of words automatically. This made him feel more confident in his written work.

An example of a pull down menu is in Microsoft Word under ‘Format’ to access ‘Tabs’ you need to click on ‘Format’ using the mouse and hold the mouse button down to reveal the pull down menu.


Related Assistive Technology
Name Type
Scanning pen (generic)
Hardware
Software dictionaries and thesauri.
Software