Episode 52 - Dr. John Bricout: Technology as a Social Force in Assisting Persons with Disabilities' Employment and Community Participation

Monday, August 09, 2010, 8:55:15 AM

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In this episode, Dr. John Bricout discusses his work and the powerful impact he believes that technology is having on persons with a disability. He describes the implications for social work practice, persons with disabilities, and the communities we live in, and the potential for change in how we construct meaning around what constitutes being "normal."

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Average Rating: 5stars  why this is so important , Saturday, February 02, 2013

By JC :

As a social worker who is working within the developmental disabilities field, I felt that this was a very important and relevant podcast. Part of my job as a Medicaid Service Coordinator, is to link clients with services and technology that will assist them in living a fulfilling and productive lives. Dr. Bricort emphasizes the importance of a social workers ability to be familiar with the constantly evolving technological advances and this is a sentiment I would echo as I have worked with clients in recent years. Because of my on going training and education I have become familiar with an array of assisting devices that have enhanced the lives of those I work with. When a client comes to me with specific needs, It is important that I am aware of what technology is available to assist them. This is an ongoing process, since each year there are newer and more efficient devices. This is why it is so important for social workers to stay on top of what is available. The issue at hand isn't the lack of available technology, it is the lack of access. This is another way a social worker can assist those who seek this. The ability to seek out grants and programs that your client may qualify for is equally as important. Unfortunately there remains a gap in some services due to what medicaid or other funding sources will and will not pay for. This is an indication of the need for Social workers to intervene on a policy level. As Dr. Bricort states - what is considered "normal" is always changing. Prosthetic legs and Dynovox machines will one day be as normal as a pair of glasses.

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Average Rating: 5stars  wave of the future, Monday, January 21, 2013

By Blue :

I’m doing an internship working with disabled individuals, many of whom use technology to get through their daily lives. These people use technology such as wheelchairs, prosthetics to computers that are personalized just for them. The use of technology such as the internet has changed the way the world works. When people are need of support on any issue, there is most likely an online forum of people that are dealing with the same issue. Thanks to technology people who would be alone can now turn to each other. This advancement is something that continues to impact society and the jobs of social workers, so it is important that people are researching it.
I remember hearing about Oscar Pistorius who was the first athlete to be allowed to run with his prosthetic in the summer Olympics and how the media covered it. I was glad to see that he was mostly treated like any other athlete, which gave hope for complete equality for those who are disabled in the future. I am definitely interested to see what new technology is out there that not only helps people with disabilities but others who can use it and how it will impact the world.

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Average Rating: 5stars  an enlightening perspective..., Saturday, October 29, 2011

By Barb R. :

Does learning about scientific advances in technology have any relevance to the practice of social work? Listen to Dr. Bricout’s podcast and decide for yourself. Dr. Bricout talks about technology as a social force as well as a cause for social justice. He explains how it can be used as a means to allow people, particularly those he says is often classified as the “disadvantaged, vulnerable, and oppressed “ , access to the broader world and helps them improve their lives in positive ways. This podcast successfully makes a convincing argument about why it is important for social workers to gain knowledge and understanding about technological advances.
Dr. Bricout uses the phrase "reflective practice”, that is, social workers should be mindful in thinking of not only about what they do but how they do it. It is for this reason that he advises social workers to look outside of the constructs of the methodologies relative to their profession in order to seek out and incorporate knowledge of technology that can allow them to be more effective in providing solutions- focused service delivery to their clients. Because a social worker has a unique vantage point from which to see a "person in environment", they can be better equipped to offer clients practical information about how they can apply technology that will be best suited for that client. Examples given in the podcast was that of assistive technologies such as prosthetics for amputees and PDAs (Personal Data Assistants) for the cognitively impaired which enabled people to overcome limitations.
I thought that this podcast offered an enlightening perspective on considering technology as a useful tool to empower clients. Dr. Bricout mentioned that in the future, social workers can help facilitate collaboration between those that create and those that use the technologies. Social workers can also be more involved in advocacy around this issue of technology as a means of client empowerment.

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DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series.