Can Interactive TV help kids with special needs?

by Anna
(The Special Life)

There's a city in Texas that is going to be experimenting with interactive TV to help schools deal with special need kids.

If all goes according to plan, teachers, parents, and students will be able to use interactive TV to have live consultations with diagnosticians, school nurses, therapists and Life Skills teachers along with medical staff from the University of Texas Medical Branch.

It's all part of a new initiative to provide telemedicine to people across the state.

In their local paper, The Jasper Newsboy, Dr. Sally Robinson, from the Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital explains that the number of existing patients in the school district was a determining factor in choosing Jasper for the trial run of the technology. "We have identified at least 20 patients we follow that have a Jasper city address," she said. "I can't say they (students) would never have to come to us but it will cut the number of visits."

Fewer visits are great news for anyone who has ever had to physically wrestle a child plus wheelchair and / or other equipment to and from medical appointments.

Also, school staff stand to benefit greatly, since they should be able to get professional help about behavior management of children with special needs.

So far, so good.

Like all social experiments however, there are also risks.

The most obvious to me is the forfeiture of privacy. While new protocols indicate that people should announce their presence during a consultation, I'm not sure that really meets the issues around confidentiality. When the program is evaluated over the next few months, I hope that this issue will surface. At the very least, it should be on the radar of the organizers and there needs to be more press.

Do you think that a teacher should be privy to your child's complete medical history? Let us know what you think by clicking on the Comments link at the bottom of this article.

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