Assistive tech

June 10

The community resources presentations were interesting in that for services like the DMV and voting there seem to be pretty widespread knowledge of LD and ways to accommodate. However, it was kind of amazing that the libraries seem to be uninformed about LD and really were mostly stumped by the idea of offering services to people with LD. I was touched by the story of the MIT grad student, Kurzweil, meeting Stevie Wonder on an airplane and getting the inspiration to create a scanning device that could convert written text to the spoken word. What a prime example of using technology for a helpful end. It seems like every library and even school should have a scanner with this ability.

I looked on the web (http://www.kurzweiledu.com) and it seems the main thing that makes this work now is the software. There are now a variety of commercially available scanners that can serve the purpose. As well as converting text into words, the software has the ability to be used to strengthen comprehension with some other tools such as highlighting the words as they are being spoken and when writing, to speak each letter of the word as it’s being written to recognize any mistakes.

The video of the show, “I’m not stupid” was touching. It seemed to be very well done and also give a real insight and perspective into children and adults with LD. It was amazing to learn that Jackie Stewart has LD, thought he was stupid and dropped out of school at 15. I happen to know of him since my older brothers were interested in Formula One racing (which, by the way, is racing through twists and turns simulating the real road rather than going round in a circle, as some races do…). As a boy I used to hear about Jackie Stewart and knew that he was really quite an expert in his field and very well respected. I can see even today, as the film showed, his opinion is still very highly regarded. I never thought he was unintelligent. Clearly he has talent, knowledge and skills in his field. He seems to have found a very good fit for his work and also made and adaptations or accommodations he needs.

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