Technology turned frustration into calm, concentration, skills

Nita Wright and her son Taj.

CASE STUDY: Every now and again we hear a story about unusual outcomes from Computers in Homes. This is one of them that is well worth sharing.

Nita told us how Computers in Homes helped her son Taj develop his areas of interest, improved his behaviour, gave Nita and Taj new and useful skills, and even improved the family meals!

Nita graduated from Computers in Homes in May 2015. Her family has never had technology in their home, even though she has grown-up children as well as Taj who is 8 years old. Taj has ADHD and is interested in insects. Nita came to Computers in Homes partly in the hope of getting technology at home so Taj could continue to develop his interest after school.

Into bugs

Taj is really into entomology – as long as it’s about insects he can stay interested for hours. During the Computers in Homes course parents were shown how to search on topics of interest. This helped Nita encourage Taj to explore and develop his interests when he gets home. He is now hatching praying mantis in his room, having converted a fish tank into an insect house.

New computer skills

At school they use Chromebooks, so a keyboard and a screen were a new thing. “When we first got the computer home my son didn’t use the keyboard at all. It took him a couple of months but now he’s away. He’s more confident generally with it. The school helps with that. He shows us what to do now.

Confidence and knowledge gain

He knows stuff I would never have thought he could know – like how to change the name Google to a praying mantis! The computer has given him more confidence than he had before. It’s a tool which totally fits his way of being – it’s better than school for him. It’s his reward system too. He has learned so much from it.

Chaos to tranquility

The computer has been a lifesaver for Nita. Her son’s ADHD medication has generally worn off by the time he gets home. It used to be chaos at home as a result. Now she is able to point him straight to the computer (which he loves) which calms him down.

Self-paced learning… and cooking!

At school Taj can’t just do what he is interested in as there are other things to concentrate on. Having the computer at home is so good for him because he can learn at his own pace, and he can teach himself what he is interested in. It also gives Nita space once he is home to cook a meal.

Nita now has digital skills

She says she would be lost without the computer. She also improved her computer skills now. Before going to Computers in Homes she was basically computer illiterate. Now she can and does use email, Facebook and uses the Ministry of Social Development website using Real Me. She could do none of this before.

Nita is hugely grateful for the opportunities Computers in Homes has given her family.

Researched outcomes of Computers in Homes

All participants in the programme are asked to fill in a survey just before the end of their training, and another survey after 12 months. In 2015/16, 1,334 participants completed the first and 481 completed the second – a lot of families had moved and could not be connected for the second survey.

Participants report:

  • The computer is used by their children for homework and research projects for (on average) over 90 minutes a day.
  • Children’s performance at school has improved
  • Stronger links between families and schools
  • They are more involved in their children’s learning
  • They are building valuable computer and online skills
  • Participation helped family members find work – a new full- (18%) or part-timer job (18%), or promotion (1%)
  • They have new confidence, especially in their ability to learn and find a job
  • 33% have gone on to further education or training

More information

Go to the Outcomes page for research, reports and cases studies.