The Use of Computers with Disadvantaged Children in Brazil
JOSÉ ARMANDO VALENTE
The use of computers in special education has promoted the development of an education that is truly special. The Logo methodology has made possible the creation of computer-based learning environments for different special populations that include children with physical disabilities ( Ferraz & Garcia, 1991; Goldenberg, 1979; Guerreiro, 1991; Murphy, 1991; Papert & Weir, 1978; Valente, 1983; Valente, 1991; J. Valente, 1991a; Weir, 1987; Weir, Russell & Valente, 1982); hearing impairment ( Barrena, 1991; Battro, 1986; Battro & Denham, 1989; Goldenberg, 1979; Valente & Gagliardi, 1991); visual impairment ( Gasparetto, Govoni, Montilha, & Carvalho, 1991; Marin, 1991); autism ( Goldenberg, 1979; Weir, 1987; Weir & Emanuel, 1976); mental retardation ( Weir, 1981); and learning disabilities ( Weir, 1987; Weir & Watt, 1981). These children have been able to learn and develop intellectually, thanks to an educational methodology adapted to their specific disabilities and a learning environment enriched by the presence of the computer.
Just as the computer has fostered the creation of learning environments that produce impressive results in the intellectual development of disabled children, it has been used to enrich the learning environment of disadvantaged children, or "street kids," as they are more commonly known.
This chapter describes the experience of the project, "Educação Científica para os Meninos de Rua de Brasília" (Scientific education for street children of Brasilia), which introduced the computer in educational settings for disadvantaged children. For this purpose, I review the literature to define the "disadvantaged child." After a brief introduction to the