When I first started working at REM just over 3 years ago, I was put to the task of helping one of our clients who greatly struggled with "all thing technical".
Our terminology was foreign to her, she was unfamiliar with tools such as WebWiz@rd and she struggled with understanding why certain things needed to be done a certain way. She was also close to retirement age and although I certainly don't believe that "all older people struggle with technology", she had not grown up in a technical world. Up until this new job responsibility, the only "technical" aspect of her job was replying to emails.
She was nervous to try things; such as clicking on an icon or even hovering over an icon. She wanted her hand held through every step.
Initially I did hold her hand. I would show her what to do while I did the work for her. After a while, I walked through the steps with her but insisted that she "do the clicking". Eventually, she would call and walk me though the steps (just to ensure she didn't miss anything) and she completed all of the work. About 4 months after I began working with her she gained the ability to make updates to her site pretty much without my assistance at all.
Since that time, her website has been migrated into the new WebWiz@rd tools and another member of her team has taken on the responsibility of updating the website. We rarely hear from her anymore and when we do, it is typically to get opinions and costs on making updates to her site.
I felt really proud of her (as corny as that may sound). The strongest thing that kept her going was her willingness to learn. Her perseverance was remarkable considering how frustrated she was at times.
I felt really proud of myself too (as boastful as that may sound). It forced me to communicate differently and come up with a different teaching strategy. I believe that dealing with such a challenging situation so early on at REM helped shape how I assist our clients now.
Within the past 3 years I have worked with a few other clients who have been equally intimidated by technology. Just before the holidays I spoke to a new client who falls within this category as well.
I'm sure that I'll be forced to reconsider my approach in a new way again! If the outcome is anywhere close to the same success as my first challenge, everyone will get through it and everything will be alright.