WILL TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT THE CHILDREN WITH LEARNING DISORDERS?
There is no option left with parents after they learn about their children’s learning disorders. As shocking it is to hear, it is a process of coming at terms with the fact that the children are unable to understand, read or write words or numbers like others no matter how hard they try.
Well, in a situation that is mentioned above, every parent will research the disorders they had never previously heard of. There are different disorders with varying degrees of severity, and then there are some which are more common than others.
Learning disorders, or disabilities, are impairments of the psychological processes involved in learning. Many children are diagnosed at early stages of their lives with learning disorders as they may show signs as they may be slow or unable to read, write, do the math, or any other learning process,
The three common disorders they may be facing are:
- Dyslexia: It is one of the most known learning disorders with symptoms inclusive of difficulty in accurately reading words.
- Dysgraphia: A learning disorder that includes children with significant difficulty in expressing themselves in writing even if they try a lot. The symptoms are usually quite clear when the students are found sitting for hours trying to get through writing a few sentences, or their writing may be really difficult to read due to poor spelling.
- Dyscalculia: Difficulty understanding numbers, memorizing simple arithmetic facts, or being able to reason through word problems, all these are symptoms of the Dyscalculia learning disorder.
All the mentioned disorders are related to three major learning processes that a child is introduced to at early stages of his/ her life. Be it reading, writing or calculating, parents and teachers can notice these symptoms at early stages and not demotivate the child but allow them to improve and look for solutions together.
WHAT TO DO NEXT?
While many parents will have the first instinct of calling the paediatrician when it comes to seeking professional help, they must understand that learning disorders are related to the brain and it’s working. Thus, the focus should be on neuropsychological evaluation that will allow them to have an in-depth insight into their children’s working. The early recognition of the learning disorders allows them to increase the chance of success in school and later in life.
FROM SPECIAL EDUCATION SYSTEMS TO ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY
Children diagnosed with learning disabilities can receive special education services. In India, the special education or special needs education refers to the education of physically or mentally challenged students whose learning needs that cannot be met by a standard school curriculum.
Today, we are living in an era, where even the regular schools are equipped with various technology-based tools to ease the learning process with interactive options, assistive technology is also playing a huge role in filling the gaps for the students with learning disabilities.
Addressing many types of learning difficulties from writing to doing math, assistive technology allows the disabled students to have a chance of being as efficient solutions. The technology compensates for a student’s skills deficits or area(s) of disability, for example, a student can submit his school report by dictating it while the r-technology transcripts it.
With a piece of equipment or system like same, there are various issues one can bypass:
- Listening: The tools designed with the help of the assistive technology to compensate for students who have listening problems like difficulty processing and remembering spoken language. Such devices can be used in various settings from a class lecture to a meeting with multiple speakers.
- Mathematics: Many students who have Dyscalculia have severe problems when it comes to doing even the basic calculations like additions and multiplications. Assistive technology has a solution for the same as they are designed tools that can allow these students to get the mathematics problems solved along with the computing, organizing, aligning, and copying math problems down on paper.
- Organization and memory: Organising is a basic skill all of us learn as we grow and it is essential to train the brain to be efficient. There are AT tools available for those whose track of the events, or work to be done like that can be used to plan, organize, and keep track of his calendar, schedule, task list, contact information, and miscellaneous notes.
- Reading: Audiobooks are a trend today and as it is used for saving time by everyone, the assistive technology is also evolving as there are tools that allow the conversion of text into audio and adjust the tone, speed and type of speech according to their requirements. There is an integrated dictionary and thesaurus present as well to support the children.
- Writing: For supporting students with writing disorders, there are a wide variety of AT tools with features like speaking as one type, showing the meanings of words and spell checks for those struggling with writing disorders. From circumventing the actual physical task of writing to facilitating writing, these tools are effective.
Technology’s role in the education sector has amplified over the years and for those who have special needs, well, technology holds the potential to make a difference. While the students dealing with learning disorders are lifelong learners, these tools should be supported and evolved to assist these individuals with their needs.
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