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Letter from the Director Ask Emerson Best Buddies Spotlight Conversation Starters e-Buddies of the Month e-Buddies in Action e-Buddies Speak Out!

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e-Buddies in Action!

Each month, we are happy to take the time to highlight a school or agency that is involved in e-Buddies. Our hope is that this will be an opportunity to share some of the challenges and triumphs encountered through group participation in e-Buddies!

This month, we spoke with Julie of the North Mississippi Region Center in Mississippi.

How long has your group been involved in e-Buddies?
North Mississippi Regional Center friends have been involved in e-Buddies since 2003.

How many members are currently matched with e-Buddies?
We currently have 6 friends participating in e-Buddies.

What are some key challenges you have faced and overcome?
Each of our e-Buddies is an adult with significant developmental disabilities, from cerebral palsy to Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome. Several are literate, but for members who aren't 'spellers,' they dictate their letters, and if members have the motor skills to type, they type their own letter. We participate in e-Buddies in the TAD Center computer lab, housed in the NMRC's Assistive Technology Center. All of our members are in wheelchairs, and are accompanied to the TAD Center by an OT/PT Tech who is in charge of the computer lab. Because our days fluctuate at the NMRC, and this is the only means of our members participating, it is sometimes difficult to write weekly.

How do you make e-Buddies work with your group?
We use an array of assistive technology, primarily the Intellikeys keyboard (an adapted keyboard with larger letters and keyguards, and an overlay with e-mail access), a trackball that can be switch-accessed ('SAM'), and a talking word processor called IntelliTalk. For participants that can't use a mouse, they 'click' the switch to do all selecting, some users use 'mouse arrow keys' on the Intellikeys. We write in the talking word processor called IntelliTalk, so that members can hear letters and words as they are typing (this gives them a greater ability to self-edit.) They copy their mail and paste it into IntelliTalk, so that the computer reads their mail to them.

What have your group members gained by participating in e-Buddies?
For our members who are literate, it is a means of maintaining those literacy skills. For members with emerging literacy skills, it's a great means to work on literacy. For each member, the relationships, the friendships they've made are very important. For all of us, it's a great opportunity to participate in an adult leisure activity that everyone enjoys - e-mailing friends!

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Do you work with a group of e-Buddies participants? We'd love to feature your group here! Please contact us at ebuddiescomments@bestbuddies.org.


Letter from the Director | Ask Emerson | Best Buddies Spotlight
Conversation Starters | e-Buddies of the Month | e-Buddies in Action!
e-Buddies Speak Out! | The e-Beat Archive

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