by Gloria Welton and Heidi Riley
Neil Squire Society is a Canadian not-for-profit organization that focuses on Innovation, Digital Literacy, Employment and Assistive Technology.
The Neil Squire Society was established when 21-year-old Neil Squire was left a brain-stem tetraplegic after a car accident. Seeing he was unable to speak or move his arms and legs, Neil’s family and a group of professionals in Vancouver created a ground-breaking device allowing him to communicate by using his breath to type Morse code.
After Neil passed, the small but mighty group formed the Neil Squire Society in his name to keep improving the lives of people with disabilities.
Today, the organization offers a number of programs that help people with disabilities across Canada improve their computer and employability skills.
Programs offered on PEI
The Digital Jumpstart Program helps people with disabilities across Canada take their next steps to improve their computer skills.
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 become more confident using a computer,” says Louise Poirier, Digital Literacy/Assistive Technology Specialist with the Neil Squire Society.
“Every participant goes through an assessment 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.”
Nationally, 280 people have used this program so far, which has the capacity to serve 300 people until the end of March 2024.
Creative Employment Options: Help to get job ready and land the job you want
This program is for people who have a self-declared disability and are looking for employment and need some help along the way. Participants develop the skills needed to achieve their employment goals.
- Individualized and group-based learning environments
- Career and personal development, wellness for work, and job search support
- Ergonomic and/or assistive technology assessments and solutions
- Potential wage subsidy
- Continuous support from our career professionals
Distance Computer Comfort: Learn how to use your computer, tablet, or smartphone in a virtual classroom
If you have a disability, the Distance Computer Comfort program offers free tutoring through a virtual classroom. Without even having to leave your house, you can learn how to use your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
AT Helpdesk supports you in using your Assistive Technology to its full potential
The AT HelpDesk was launched in 2010 by the Neil Squire Society, in collaboration with Post-Secondary Education, Training, and Labour in order to support New Brunswickers with Assistive Technology (AT) questions.
The service is designed to help you access the most up-to-date AT information without having to do the work. The goal is to help reduce the employment gap for persons with disabilities by providing easy access to vendor-neutral, current information about AT solutions for education and/or employment.
The AT HelpDesk website expands the AT HelpDesk services from taking calls, emails and text to include a website with plans to provide more opportunities to learn, share and collaborate around AT.
Using technology to face challenges
Technology plays an integral part in our ability to participate and thrive in learning, work, and life.
Neil Squire Society Assistive Technology Specialists can help with the following:
- Support for using your assistive technology
- Exploring available assistive technology options and solutions
- Using assistive technology features on your device or computer
- Learning assistive technology strategies for the classroom or workplace
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more about the Neil Squire Society, visit www.neilsquire.ca/contact-us/atlantic-regional-office/charlottetown-prince-edward-island/