What is my best alternative for allowing a learning disabled person to access the Internet: using Option Solving?

Recently I was drawn into a discussion about a learning disabled person having access to the Internet for his new iPad. Since the person concerned was resident in a group home for other learning disabled people and the vagaries of the internet are tough to control, the subject was creating quite a dilemma for the house manager and parents of the resident involved. As a way of being helpful, I introduced them to option solving.
Together we started to develop the best question, which began with: “What is our best alternative for allowing a learning disabled person access to the Internet with his new iPad, considering…” We then waded into developing some appropriate considerations – both constraints and opportunities – that included: “Access to inappropriate sites, possibility of uncontrolled purchases, allowing him to enjoy his new toy, and giving him the pursuit of Internet happiness.” My Latest Example shows the full question.
Now I introduced the group to the idea of “bookends”: those two extreme, “yin and yang” options that would frame their overall option picture, as well as really engage their intuitive minds to spring into high gear. Our intuition doesn’t like non-realistic options, so naturally sets about searching for the most plausible ones. With a degree of thought and discussion, two emerged: “Unlimited access, with the very real concerns of impacting his mental health,” and “No access and denying him the pleasure to explore.” Neither was appropriate even though they were clearly options.
With these in place, we began to produce five potential options, which can be viewed in our Latest Example. Their most interesting choice was their fifth one: “Buy back his iPad and replace it with a new laptop which would have far more possibilities for Internet controls.” It’s amazing how option solving flushes out less obvious choices owing to its requirement for coming up with at least 5 options, and brings “buy-in” to disparate interests. You can find their other four options in the Latest Example.
It didn’t take long to persuade them to sleep on this decision picture to allow for some “emotional distancing.” I encouraged them to review it prior to falling asleep, which would allow their intuitive minds to dwell on it overnight, make the trade-offs, and search their experience base for the best option while sound asleep. I encouraged them to share their choices the following morning and then map out their “next steps” while the exercise was still much on their minds.
Their choice is not important because it would be unfair for you to second-guess them, since you were not in their precise situation. Their “peace of mind” was solid when I spoke with them a couple of days later because they had looked at all reasonable options and were happy with their choice. No second-guessing was required.
If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area. Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Using Option Solving to decide on ‘What is our best option for still holding a workshop with time running out?’” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)


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