Following up on a suggestion, I called the special education
director of the local school district. Actually, I talked to her secretary,
which was just as well since secretaries usually know what’s going on. She
was able to tell me that the speech technologist was out until early next month,
and she agreed to pass a message to him along with her own opinion of what she
heard. The secretary added that what she heard sounded very good. Indeed.
I think that the Special Education system in general needs
to clarify for its own benefit the basic goal of educating disabled children. Bearing
in mind that I’m really talking about the segment dealing with verbal impairment,
is the goal simply to make those children easier to care for by training them
to select an icon when they have a specific immediate need? Or is the real goal
to eventually enable these children to participate in life? Of course most
people would say the latter is the real objective in the majority of cases. Why
then is it so difficult to introduce an augmented communication solution that’s
arguably a quantum leap beyond what’s presently out there?
I’ve already alluded to a partial explanation. There’s
not much understanding outside of the computing community about just how
powerful and capable computers have become. Moreover, it’s been pointed out
that organizations tend to strongly prefer to stick to established vendors rather
than take a chance on a start-up venture. That’s certainly understandable,
it can also deter improvement. Vendors have an investment in their current
product lines, and a significantly better product automatically hurts their
investment. That’s why start-up enterprises do most of the invention in
any market, they don’t have any sacred cows to protect. Besides, it’s
worth remembering that Xpress It was created by someone who will almost certainly
depend of some form of it for the rest of his life so it literally can’t disappear any time soon.
it’s also worth remembering that even Microsoft started in a garage.