by Gloria Welton
The Digital Jumpstart Program, offered by the Neil Squire Society, helps people with disabilities across Canada take their next steps to improve their computer skills. The Neil Squire Society was inspired by Neil Squire, who was in a car accident in 1980 that left him paralyzed from the neck down. A relative developed a system to help Neil communicate. A technology was invented, which allowed Neil to communicate using Morse Code. This technology evolved into the JOUSE that eventually became the LipSinc device.
This Canadian non-for-profit organization focuses on innovation, digital literacy, employment, assistive technology, and collaboration.
“The Digital Jumpstart program helps people with disabilities improve their digital literacy, so they have the confidence to take their next steps,” says Louise Poirier, Digital Literacy/Assistive Technology Specialist with the Neil Squire Society.
This free online program is in its third year. “Participants have gone on to join a job placement or readiness program, return to school, join the workforce, or simply became more confident using a computer.
“Every participant goes through an assessment when entering the program to determine what technology is required and to establish goals. All the equipment they need is provided through the program, which they get to keep after the training is complete.
“All the training is done virtually one-on-one to help participants focus on their needs. We cover skills such as email, word processing, Internet browsing, working with various virtual platforms, online safety, and social media related to employment.”
So far, 150 people have used this program, which has the capacity to serve 300 people until the end of November 2023. An office opened in Charlottetown in 2021. For more information, click here.
“I know I can secure a great position after school using the skills I’ve gained”
Michelle had been out of school for a long time when she decided to return to achieve her Grade 12 diploma. She was encouraged to reach out to the Neil Squire Society to learn about the Digital Jumpstart program.
Troy’s new technology skills help him spread the joy of cooking
With help from Neil Squire’s Digital Jumpstart and other programs, Troy has been sharing the joy of cooking with his lessons.
Philippe increases his independence with technology
Born visually impaired in Clair, New Brunswick, Philippe started his musical journey at five years old, and he can play almost any instrument you can name.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
on the Digital Jumpstart program, contact Louise Poirier at 506-856- 9101. Toll free: 1-866-446-7999, email [email protected]
For information on its Charlottetown office:
This project is funded by the government of Canada’s Adult Learning Literacy and Essential Skills Program.