Friday, 6 June 2014

Skillstep: Week 2

I have now completed my second week of the Skillstep course at Henshaws! The sessions are progressing forward from last week's and building on the basics that we were introduced to during our first few sessions.

Naturally, the group are starting to be much more comfortable around each other - so the social aspect has really amplified during this past week. I must admit that I have been extremely tired whilst getting used to my new routine, and have relied on many an emergency iced latte throughout the week to stay focused - and awake!

The week began with Maureen's session on Tuesday, based around vocational and social development. The main theme of our second session was 'reframing' - a technique used to take a sentence and rephrase it into something more optimistic with a positive slant. This led into group work where we took it in turns to read an example statement with a negative context and then suggest ways of reframing it with a more positive concept. We also discussed over-confidence and under-confidence and the thoughts and feelings associated with both of those. Maureen recorded each individual member of the group recalling an instance when they were under-confident and another when they were over-confident, to use as part of our evidence-based portfolio.

In Gary's morning session on Wednesday, he introduced some of the Skillstep group to Braille (others were more familiar!) using the Fingerprint course books that I've been working and teaching from during the past 10 months. The group were given a brief overview of how the 6 dot system was created and taught the dot combinations of basic letters of the alphabet - including A, L, D and T. The group also had a go of using the Perkins Braillers; learning how to load and set the paper, typing a locator line, writing their name, and so on. In the afternoon, we moved into the IT room to have a session based around the accessibility and benefits of iPads. We looked at using Siri by holding down the Home button on the iPad and directing it with voice instructions, a few of the basic finger swipes and taps to perform tasks, VI-friendly apps including TapTapSee and SayText, the rotor, accessibility functions such as VoiceOver, zoom and inverted colours, typing using the keyboard, accessing the internet and activating and deactivating the screen curtain.

Thursday was our second IT session with Neil and Linda. The group and I continued to work through the tasks set for us, located inside our document folders, printing out copies for our portfolio to be marked and give evidence of our entry level and level 1 knowledge of using Microsoft Word, assistive technology (including Zoomtext and JAWS), and creating a CV. I completed 12 tasks on Thursday and should be finished with the work by the middle of next week's IT session.

It has been another productive week and I'm looking forward to our next sessions with great interest!

You can find out more about Skillstep by clicking here and can register your interest to the course via e-mail.