Augment Oregon if focused on providing individuals with good tools for learning and communication. Human brains are diverse, therefore each human is unique in the ways in which they learn and communicate. For individuals who present with disabilities that interfere with their ability to learn certain skills, or demonstrate those skills in a particular ways, they benefit from using good tools to add to their ability to learn or make their learning more complete. Good tools for learning and communication range from no-technology, low-technology to high-technology. Improving one’s ability to communicate might require the use of sign language (no-technology), writing words or phrases on a card or pointing to an alphabet board (low-technology) or using a computer with text to speech (high technology). There are many tools and their use is dependent on individual need. The tool is important, but what must proceed effective tool selection and use, is the understanding that using tools are something we as humans do well -to augment our learning -to augment our communication and -to improve our lives, all of us.
Once we embrace the idea that humans naturally and frequently use tools to learn and communicate -we can begin to leverage these tools for individuals who learn differently, like many of our students with disabilities in the k-12 formal schooling environment. It is not that these individuals cannot learn, instead they struggle to learn or demonstrate their learning when separated from good tools. Language is tool that allows us to communicate with one another, as well as ourselves.
Language augments our thoughts- adds words to the images we can see in our heads; our
Cognition- it allows us to manipulate concepts and recall experiences with words and; our
Learning -it helps us to acquire information from others.
The word augment means to add to or complete something. Humans are good at developing and using tools that add to or make engaging in certain tasks possible (think flying, texting, hearing a baby’s heartbeat in utero). Thus, we can use technology to augment our speech, our language and our ability to learn.
“For people without disabilities, technology makes things easier. For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible (Mary Pat Radabaugh)”