Teacher Kelly VanDyke awarded ‘Educator of the Year’ by the Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan — from mlive.com by Skyla Jewell-Hammie

Excerpt:

Grand Rapids elementary teacher Kelly VanDyke was recently recognized as the 2022 Educator of the Year by the Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan.

VanDyke, who teaches at Central Elementary in Kenowa Hills Public Schools, was celebrated for her successful, supportive approach to teaching children with Down syndrome…

 

Inside Microsoft’s new Inclusive Tech Lab — from engadget.com by C. Low; with thanks to Nick Floro on Twitter for some of these resources
“An embassy for people with disabilities.”

Increasing our Focus on Inclusive Technology — from mblogs.microsoft.com by Dave Dame

Excerpt:

In recent years, tied to Microsoft’s mission of empowering every person and organization on the planet to achieve more, teams from across Microsoft have launched several products and features to make technology more inclusive and accessible. [On May 10, 2022], as part of the 12th annual Microsoft Ability Summit, we celebrate a new and expanded Inclusive Tech Lab, powerful new software features, and are unveiling Microsoft adaptive accessories designed to give people with disabilities greater access to technology.

Microsoft’s Latest Hardware Is More Accessible and Customizable — from wired.com by Brenda Stolyar
The wireless system—a mouse, a button, and a hub—is designed to increase productivity for those with limited mobility.

Excerpt:

Microsoft if expanding its lineup of accessibility hardware. During its annual Ability Summit—an event dedicated to disability inclusion and accessibility—the company showed attendees some new PC hardware it has developed for users with limited mobility. Available later this year, the wireless system will consist of an adaptive mouse, a programmable button, and a hub to handle the connection to a Windows PC. Users set up the devices to trigger various keystrokes, shortcuts, and sequences. These new input devices can be used with existing accessories, and they can be further customized with 3D-printed add-ons. There are no price details yet.

Along these lines, also see:

  • 14 Equity Considerations for Ed Tech — from campustechnology.com by Reed Dickson
    Is the education technology in your online course equitable and inclusive of all learners? Here are key equity questions to ask when considering the pedagogical experience of an e-learning tool.
 

The Future Is Here: Assistive Technology for Learning Disabilities — from studycorgi.com; with thanks to Alysson Webb for this resource

Excerpt:

Equal learning and personal development opportunities help ensure everyone reaches their highest potential. However, it is important to look at comparable needs. People with learning disabilities can require individual or additional services from a school program. According to the National Center of Educational Statistics, in 2019 – 2020, 14% (7.3 million) of children from 3 to 21 received special education services in the US. One-third of them had various learning disabilities that required specific assistance and tools.

Table of Contents

  1. What Is a Learning Disability?
  2. Assistive Technology (AT) in the Classroom
  3. AT for Learning Disabilities: Benefits & Tools
  4. References
 

New portal connects employers with neurodivergent job seekers — from protocol.com by Sarah Roach
Google, Dell and others are contributing to the Neurodiversity Career Connector.

Excerpt:

Microsoft, Google, Dell and a handful of other tech companies are helping to roll out a career portal for neurodivergent job seekers.

The Neurodiversity @ Work Employer Roundtable and Disability:IN introduced the Neurodiversity Career Connector, a platform for neurodivergent job candidates to find employers, the organizations announced today. Almost 50 companies that are part of the Roundtable, including Ford and SAP, are contributing to the portal.

 

College & Career Guide for Students with Disabilities — from study.com by Jamie Julh, Lisa Keith, Nicole Nicholson, Taylor McGillis; with thanks to Alysson Webb for this resource

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Students with disabilities made up 19.4% of enrolled undergraduate students in the U.S. according to the most recent data release from the Department of Education (DoE). However, many of these students may be afraid to or not know how to advocate for themselves and obtain the assistance they need. Data on graduation rates for students with disabilities can be hard to come by, but based on a recent study by the DoE National Center of Education Statistics, only 54.2% had graduated with a bachelor’s degree after six years. One possible reason for this low graduation rate is that only 35% of students with disabilities chose to disclose those disabilities to the college or university they attended, and only 24% chose to utilize accommodations. This guide is intended to help students with disabilities learn about their rights, the laws that protect them, and the resources available to help them see through their goal of obtaining higher education.

Also relevant/see:

 

Do digital distractions justify law professors’ prohibitions on laptops? — from abajournal.com by Stephanie Francis Ward

Excerpt:

If a professor is uncomfortable with laptops in the classroom, he or she might consider allowing a handful of students to use them, as official note takers, says Robert Dinerstein, a former acting dean of American University Washington College of Law, who directs its Disability Rights Law Clinic. The note-taking group should include students who do and do not have accommodations for laptops so no one is stigmatized, he adds. Dinerstein, a former commissioner on the ABA’s Commission on Disability Rights, now serves as its liason from the ABA’s Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice. Additionally, he co-chairs the section’s disability rights committee.

 

8 Principles for Supporting Students with ADHD — from cultofpedagogy.com by Jennifer Gonzalez

Excerpt:

Regardless of the subject area or age you teach, you’re likely to have at least a few students with ADHD in your classroom every school year, so a good working knowledge of it should be part of any teacher’s professional training.

This slim book is not meant to be comprehensive or in-depth. Barkley states outright that he’s not going to spend time on narrative prose and extensive research citations; his goal is to simply explain ADHD so that busy teachers can understand it, and tell them what they can do to help students who have it. His message is “Trust me, I know this stuff. Do this, not that.” And while this obviously leaves him open to criticism, the book certainly delivers on its promises, and it’s a great starting point for any teacher who wants a crash course on ADHD.

 

K-12 education in America is like quickly moving trains that stop for no one.

K-12 education in America is like quickly moving trains that stop for no one.

From DSC:
A family member struggles with spelling — big time. This causes her major amounts of anxiety in school.

Another family member had some learning disabilities and reflects back on school with some bad memories.

Another family member struggles with social graces and learns at a much different pace than her peers — the move to her education being (predominantly) done via homeschooling has helped significantly.

A friend of mine has Dyslexia. He recently said that school was hell for him.

Another person I know doesn’t understand his daughter’s learning disabilities — at all. He’s asking a fish to climb the tree and yells at his daughter when she doesn’t produce like the other kids do. Her school is for college-bound learners, and there’s always pressure to maintain the school’s “blue-ribbon” status (i.e., sorry if you don’t fit in…but please board the train anyway, as it’s about to depart).

These people and stories about their educations got me to reflect on all the people who went through the school systems in the United States (over the last few decades) that didn’t work well for them. In fact, not only did the systems not work well for them, they were the sources of a great deal of pain, anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, and embarrassment.  Instead of being a place of wonder or joy, school was a painful, constant struggle to get through.

For those who can keep up or even excel at the pace that the trains travel at, school isn’t that much of a problem. There are likely different levels of engagement involved here, but school is manageable and it doesn’t cause nearly the stress for someone who struggles with it.

For those with learning disabilities, I’d like to apologize to you on behalf of all the people who legislated or created rigid, one-size-fits-all school systems that didn’t understand and/or meet your needs. (Why we allow legislators — who aren’t the ones on the front lines — to control so much of what happens in our school systems is beyond me.) I’d like to apologize on behalf of all of the teachers, administrators, and staff who just accept the systems as they are.

Please help us reinvent our school systems. Help us develop the future of education. Help us develop a more personalized, customized approach. For those who are working to provide that, thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

To everyone working within Pre-K through 12th grade, help us offer: More voice. More choice. More control. The status quo has to go. School should not be a constant source of pain and anxiety.

Learners need: More voice. More choice. More control. -- this image was created by Daniel Christian

 

 

What Educators Need to Know About Assistive Tech Tools: Q&A with Texthelp CEO — from thejournal.com by Kristal Kuykendall and Texthelp CEO Martin McKay

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

THE Journal: What are some examples of the types of assistive technology tools now available for K–12 schools?
McKay: There are a broad range of disabilities, and accordingly, a broad range of learning and access difficulties that assistive technology can help with. Just considering students with dyslexia — since that is the largest group among students who can benefit from assistive tech tools — the main problems they have are around reading comprehension and writing. Assistive technology can provide text-to-speech, talking dictionaries, picture dictionaries, and text simplification tools to help with comprehension.

It’s important that these tools need to work everywhere — not just in their word processor. Assistive technology must work in their learning management systems, and must work in their online assessment environment, so that the student can use the assistive tech tools not only in class, but at home as they work on their homework, and perhaps most importantly on test day when they are using a secure assessment environment.

 

Day in the Life: Blind or Visually Impaired Professionals — from inclusionhub.com by Jeffrey Howard
While blind or visually impaired professionals still encounter inaccessibility and exclusionary hiring practices, some companies are adopting more inclusive protocols including remote work options and other accommodations.

Excerpt:

“It’s the same as someone asking for a second or third monitor,” continues Preston-Watson. “I’m asking for a screen reader. You’re asking for these accommodations. I’m just asking for the tools to do my job. People in different roles need different tools to do their jobs. And that’s the same thing for disabled workers.”

 

Google TalkBack: An Overview of Android’s Free Screen Reader — from boia.org

Excerpt:

TalkBack is Google’s free screen reader for Android devices. The software responds to familiar touch and swipe commands, allowing users to interact with websites and apps. When activated, TalkBack announces where the user’s focus is located, enabling people to control their phones, tablets, and other Android devices without using visual cues. In certain apps, users can input other touch and voice commands.

As part of our series of articles on assistive technologies, we’ll review some of TalkBack’s unique features — and provide tips for using the software to evaluate mobile accessibility.

 

Some Colleges Are Ending Hybrid Learning. Students Are Pushing Back. — from chronicle.com by Adrienne Lu
Daily Briefing: Is the End of Hybrid Learning Leaving Disabled and High-Risk Students Behind?

Excerpt:

Some students, though, want their colleges to make hybrid learning permanent. They argue that scaling up remote learning during the pandemic made higher education more accessible — not only for students with disabilities and the immunocompromised, but also commuter students, those balancing schoolwork with jobs, and students with caregiving responsibilities — and helped to protect vulnerable faculty members.

 

Learning Disorders and Law School: Strategies and Resources — from onlinemasteroflegalstudies.com with thanks to Allegra Balmadier for these resources

Excerpt:

Law schools across the country with all kinds of students and faculty could fairly be described by a single word: rigor. Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree programs are traditionally known for copious amounts of required reading and semester-end exams that count for a student’s whole grade. A legal education is an intensive course of study that would challenge any student.

A student with a learning disorder or disability (LD) may struggle for a particular reason—not for lack of effort but because of the conventional structure of class, assignments and tests. LDs can cause difficulty with processing information, a problem that is exacerbated when universities and colleges fail to offer support.

However, with appropriate strategies, students with LDs can succeed in law school and in the legal profession. Learn more about learning disorders and find resources below.

 

Best Deaf Awareness Lessons & Activities — from techlearning.com by Diana Restifo
The following free deaf history and awareness lessons and activities highlight the accomplishments of deaf people in the arts, education, sports, law, science, and music.

 

The 20 best dyslexia resources for homeschoolers — from raisinglifelonglearners.com Colleen Kessler

Excerpt:

Homeschooling a child with dyslexia can be a challenge, especially when you are struggling to find resources. I believe homeschooling is the best possible educational choice for your dyslexic child. You just need to right education and support. These are 20 of the best dyslexia resources out there for homeschoolers.

Also relevant/see:

 
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