Computer Resource Centre
Established in January 1996, the Computer Resource Centre offers the clients of the GHS a means of accessing technology so they too can become included in our “wired world”. In 1996 the provincial government provided funds for two computers so that three new clients moving to the Garth Homer Society from integrated schools could continue what they had learned at school. Once other clients saw the new computers they wanted to try to use them and once they used them, they were hooked. The program quickly expanded when a significant donation from IBM was used to purchase more computers and a wider range of software. These days the CRC helps over 66 clients in more than 146 booked sessions every week.
Clients use computers and iPads for educational purposes as well as leisure activities. Educational Software and Internet resources guide each client’s computer session with activities such as: Math, Literacy, Problem Solving, Memory Games, Action and Adventure Games, Identifying Patterns & Shapes (spatial awareness), Road Safety and Awareness, Looking for Volunteer and Work placements, Creating and Maintaining Resumes, programs that foster logical thinking patterns – sequencing, World Exploration and Awareness, Skype and Web Based Email.
Employment Services clients work on their resumes and word processing skills, Other clients learn how to use the Internet to research topics that interest them. For example, one client, Ron researches the weather forecast and trends and posts his weather report on the bulletin board outside the CRC twice a week.
The CRC is equipped with touch screens for clients who are unable to work with a mouse, as well as an Intellikeys programmable keyboard which is a keyboard mouse and communication device all in one. If a client keys in a letter, word or sentence the board will audibly repeat it back reinforcing the skill, or if a client has difficulty seeing black figures on a white background an overlay changing the colours can allow that client to use the keyboard.
Clients in the CRC are always assisted by staff members who train them, find adaptive technologies and ensure the Internet is used appropriately. With that kind of assistance clients are able to check their e-mails, participate in social networking and interact digitally in the same way as the rest of the world.