Recognize Learning Disabilities and Create Solutions so Students can Learn

Idea created by hglaser on Jan 24, 2014
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    • hglaser
    • rchasan
    A learning disability is a defect in the way a persons brain processes information. It's not related to general health or intelligence. Right now, I have not found within ESRI, any accessible formats of EsriPress books that make it just as hard for a dsyslexic person to learn GIS as any other student in the class.

    Overcoming the obstacles of a learning disability takes hard work, sometime 2 to 3 time longer than non LD students.
    LD does not go away as kids grow up. It has to be managed by the student and brought to the attention of the instructor. Print is not accessible for LD people to differnt degrees.  

    Under the ADA, people who have disabilities are allowed to level the degree of difficulty by using accomodations to get around what they cannot do, as documented by medical and schools personnel. One of the best of these is to provide audiobook versions of print books. I am surprised to find that esripress does not include an audiobook for each of the books used for instruction.

    ESRI ought to get ahead of the demand for LD accessible resources create the audiobooks to provide to students as part of their individual Learning Plan.

    Its not a broken leg, but LD sure slows you down. The problem is other people don't experience problems and may not understand what is causing you trouble. So here is some background:

    Dyslexics reading a screen or page see the information but their information processing of symbols is faulty. Its as if the symbols on the page 'xwnd' are scrambled within a word to make 'dnxw'. The person sees the wrong word on the page. It may take 3 times to type in a line of code; once wrong, again to fix and third to find the things you couldn't see the first two tries. The result is that they are still working when everyone in the class has finished.

    Perception defects that often accompany LD dyslexia:
    •           letters in a word and digits in a number move to different places. Ex Shakes becomes Snakes
    •           Instead of reading a line from left to right, a dyslexic person's eye skips around the page, skipping a line here, reading the same line twice, losing their place on the page. This makes it harder to cut from one window and pate into another. Its easy to miss a few lines on the copy part.
    •           Some letters, such as b d q p, look the same because they are the same form reflected or rotated. To read and understand a word with one of these letters, the pattern of the word and the context in which it is used provide clues to which word is most likely to be correct.
    •           Its harder to read and be sure you understand with dyslexia than for other people. It takes more time and there's no guarentee its right unless you understand the material and learn the vocabulary. The brain uses the easiest method of identifying a word, something similar, familiar and wrong. Rereading is a workaround for that.
    •           Dyslexic people are very good at vizualizing and are creative. However, their sensitivy to the visual environment can cause visual effects which include: Seeing rivers of white between islands of text, letters winking in colors, the words blurring, floating above the page, twisting in distortion and becoming so odd that the person feels disoriented, like someone who has been spun around playing pin the tail on the donkey and  is unsure in their footing. If the effects are intense, the person feels nausea just looking at print and has to take a break, These effects are often precursors to severe headache and the sensation of the room spinning around.