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Progress Must Be Synchronized

We make assumptions about children and how they grow. Often, these assumptions are based upon groups, not individual lives. When technology enters the life of a family whose members each learn differently, the situation may become complicated.

Karla, 12, lives in the coal country of eastern Kentucky with her sister, Kloe, 8. Kloe lives with Cerebral Palsy, and she cannot speak. Kloe loves to watch Signing Time! on YouTube, and she has seen every episode many times. Kloe is an avid student. In fact, she learns new words in sign language so quickly, nobody can keep up. The situation is frustrating, but Karla is thrilled because her sister is alive, and they can laugh at the ridiculous situation together. It’s easy to imagine the role of technology to improve communication among people with differing abilities—and allow everyone to communicate in every language in the world.

We now live in the future—the 21st century!! Every child and teenager alive today will live most, and perhaps all, of his, her or their life in this century. The contours are not difficult to see: there will be 8, 9, 10 and perhaps 11 billion people on earth, we will live longer and healthier lives, we will be massively connected, Asia and Africa will dominate the conversation, and women will perform more than half of the world’s leadership roles.

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