Facilitating Computer Skills

Since December 2016 I have been the lead for the computer sessions at Support Plus. It is a small group of two; Faris, who is in his late 20’s and Rowena who is in her 50’s.
When I first started my sessions I took time to look back in the session log folders to see what they had been working on over the last few months. Faris had been completing some word-searches on the computer and some videos had been found and watched, but I hoped more could be explored.

Faris has a difficult time forming relationships with staff, I am lucky to have managed to build a relatively successful friendship where he is more willing to participate in activities.

I began by asking Faris if he enjoyed the word search puzzles he had been doing, he replied ‘not really, they’re okay’ so we have stopped these. I wanted to concentrate on improving Faris’ computer skills within the Microsoft Office packages; something that is useful to understand and would push his abilities whilst learning new skills.

Faris is a very intelligent man however he often needs a lot of encouragement to complete his work. I started by thinking of a task and writing easy to understand instructions on a piece of paper; Faris seems to process written words better than spoken. We then talk through the task ensuring he understands what he is to do. I do leave him to work through it by himself as, not only is he very capable, but previous attempts to sit with him appear to make him uncomfortable and less likely to engage.

The first was for him to begin to use Microsoft Word to write one full page all about things that interest him, I wanted to use this to get to know Faris more and to see what else he was interested in. It turns out; he has many more interests than previously thought including subjects like sheepdog trials and Buckingham!

Rowena has surpassed all of my expectations in the last few months. Due to her concentration lessening over the years, at first all I wanted to achieve was for her to sit with me in the computer room and try using the keyboard. However, from day one Rowena has shown interest and excitement when using the computer. I was able to find a large lettered keyboard for her to use and that, combined with me pointing to each letter when needed, has made it easy for her to type herself. Once she has completed a passage I then read it back and with minimal help she deletes and amends her own work.

Rowena has completed multiple pages on her interests which have ranged from art, to bees, to construction.

As with Faris, I have introduced Rowena to PowerPoint and together we have created a presentation about horses. Rowena has chosen all of the designs and animations herself.

We have also worked together to create some helpful ‘what we need’ pages for the fun cookery group; we look up what they will be doing and write up the list adding pictures. Rowena has helped with many of these, all of which have proved highly useful within the cookery group as pictorial reference.

My latest work with Rowena has been to use hand under hand techniques so that she can use the mouse. At the moment I do still need my hand under hers as Rowena does tend to click the mouse keys a little too often, but I do hope she will be able to use it independently in the future.

On reflection, I think believing in peoples’ skills and encouraging their use in different ways has paved the way for computer success for Faris and Rowena; together we have had lots of fun and Great Interactions in the process.

Gabby Wigfield
Support Worker
Support Plus, Milton Keynes


  • Jackie Lynch says:

    Great blog- person centred teaching approaches to meet individual needs. It shows that a fresh approach and positive support makes all the difference and that you are never to old or young to learn.

  • Michael Hogg says:

    Fantastic example of learning through great interactions well done Gabby, Faris and Rowena!

  • Nicola Payne says:

    This is lovely to read. People really been listened to and having choices. Keep learning!!!

  • Tess Marshall says:

    Great description of the process and results Gabby, especially the idea of having Faris write out his interests.

  • Emma Killick says:

    Wonderful blog Gabby – I love the way you have found 2 different ways to facilitate in the sessions which work for Faris and Rowena.
    Your creativity not only means they are both getting much more from the session now but you’ve also found out so much more about each of them which in turn will help you and your colleagues adapt other things you do. Well done.

  • Kate Webb says:

    I love this.. I feel very inspired. Thankyou for such a lovely blog and for sharing with us!

  • Jeremy Bugden says:

    Thank you Gabby for sharing these lovely great interactions. I know some people have had real pleasure in building up their own picture collections too, of say; hobbies and interests, or favourite dishes they have cooked. What shines through in your blog is that it certainly helps when you get to know the people you are working with, the way you do.

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