Learning Difficulties and Impairments

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Learning difficulties and impairments can range from conditions such as dyslexia and attention deficit disorder to retardation. Processing problems are the most common and have the most impact on a person's ability to use computer applications. These conditions interfere with the learning process. Many individuals with learning difficulties and impairments are perfectly capable of learning if information is presented to them in a form and at a pace that is appropriate to them individually. During the learning process, many individuals with learning difficulties benefit from having a multisensory experience of audio speech paired with a visual representation. Reducing visual and auditory distractions can also aid the learning process for many people.[1]


Assistive Technologies

  • Word prediction programs allow the user to select a desired word from an on-screen list located in the prediction window.
    This list, generated by the computer, predicts words from the first one or two letters typed by the user. The word can
    then be selected from the list and inserted into the text by typing a number, clicking the mouse or scanning with a
    switch. These programs help users increase written productivity and accuracy, and increase vocabulary skills through word
    prompting.[2]
  • Reading comprehension programs focus on establishing or improving reading skills through ready-made activities, stories,
    exercises, or games. These programs can help users practice letter sound recognition and can increase the understanding
    of words by adding graphics, sound, and possibly animation.[3]
  • Reading tools and learning disability programs include software designed to make text-based materials more accessible for
    people who struggle with reading. Options can include scanning, reformatting, navigating, or speaking text out loud. These
    programs help people who have difficulty seeing or manipulating conventional print materials; people who are developing
    new literacy skills or who are learning English as a foreign language; and people who comprehend better when they hear and
    see text highlighted simultaneously.[4]
  • Speech synthesizers (often referred to as text-to-speech (TTS) systems) receive information going to the screen in the
    form of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks, and then "speak" it out loud. Individuals who have lost the ability to
    communicate orally can use a speech synthesizer to communicate by typing information and letting the speech synthesizer
    speak it out loud.[5]
  • Speech recognition systems, also called voice recognition programs, allow people to give commands and enter data using
    their voices rather than a mouse or keyboard.[6]

See Also

References

  1. http://www.microsoft.com/enable/guides/learning.aspx
  2. http://www.microsoft.com/enable/guides/learning.aspx
  3. http://www.microsoft.com/enable/guides/learning.aspx
  4. http://www.microsoft.com/enable/guides/learning.aspx
  5. http://www.microsoft.com/enable/guides/learning.aspx
  6. http://www.microsoft.com/enable/guides/learning.aspx