Creating an Opportunity for All - Inclusion, Disability & Accessibility




November is National Disability Rights Awareness Month


In South Africa, the National Disability Rights Awareness Month is annually recognised between 3 November and 3 December.

“Persons with disabilities – Equal participants in shaping a sustainable future.”


The United Nations is celebrating 25 Years in 2020 of championing social inclusion

How are we “removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all” and ensuring . . . .


What are disabilities?

“A physical or mental condition that limits a person's movements, senses, or activities” Oxford Dictionary


Different kinds of disabilities, range from mild to severe problems.

Disabilities:

  • Difficulties to see, hear, write, or speak

  • Understand things differently

  • Difficulties to move

Learning disabilities manifest themselves differently for each individual.


Accessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, and environments for people with disabilities. (wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility)


Why is providing Assistive Technology important to learners with learning difficulties?

  • Allows opportunities for educational and social interactions

  • Increases participation in learning, reduces restrictions

  • Helps learners benefit in general education

  • Creates learner independence


The most common forms of learning difficulties that affect learners:

  • Difficulty with Reading

  • Difficulty with Maths

  • Difficulty with Attention / ADHD

  • Difficulty with Writing

  • Difficulty with Dyslexia


A few tips and ideas to help learners in the classroom


"bed" hands

For learners with reveral difficulties and dyslexia.

Use your hands, make fists and point them together.

You have a "bed"

Left hand is the "tummy" of the "b"

Right hand is the "tummy" of the "d"

Look at your hands when writing these letters


C-Pen Reader

C-Pen ReaderPen™ is a pen scanner, a reading pen with monolingual dictionaries providing word definitions. This assistive technology assists learners with reading and learning difficulties, such as dyslexia and even learners who don't have English as a first language. The white C-Pen Reader has the storage and dictionary functions, and may not be used for tests and examinations.

The C-Pen supports and empowers learners to read and learn independently.


C-Pen Exam Reader

C-Pen ExamReader™ is a reading pen for exams, approved by IEB in 2018, as per the Policy on Accommodations and Exemptions, only learners who have been granted a reader accommodation may make use of an exam reader pen for the National Senior Certificate examinations. (See a copy of Circular 60/2018) The orange coloured pen is the C-Pen Exam Reader.

The pen must be an exam reader which does't have a storage or dictionary function. The Chief Invigilator is to check the pen before each examination session. Learners should check with their schools. The C-Pen Exam Reader assists learners to become more independent.


Read&Write by texthelp.com

Read&Write helps learners with reading online, writing assignments and online research at school and at home.

Read&Write for Google Chrome™ as a Chrome extension

Read&Write Literacy Software


Voice Typing - Google Docs

Open Google docs, go to 'Tools', then down to 'voice typing'.

It opens, select the language you are going to speak in.

Click on 'microphone' and speak.

The typing begins on the page.


See the video I made about using Google voice typing:

https://youtu.be/geTsq4TexbY



Counters for Maths

Supporting learners with dyslexia and dyscalculia in Maths, to develop number sense, number concepts and to use when completing calculations. Using physical apparatus assists in building the learners Mathematical concrete knowledge through active learning.

Use a range of small objects which the learners could use. I used 2L ice-cream tubs with a 100 small counters in each tub. Each tub had different items, which could also be used for sorting and grouping as well. Learners could select the counters they wanted to work with for that day or lesson.


Quad books or squared paper for Maths

Use exercise books with squared or quad paper for learners who have difficulty organizing ideas on paper.

This assists in reducing stress and assists with organising the information logically and understandably on the page.


Alternative Seating

Using alternative seating may assist some learners to have increased on-task behaviour and to be more focused. While at the same time some learners may find it distracting or may opt not to use the alternative seating furniture (Remer, 2017), as other learners may comment or they may not want to be singled out.

Ask the learner, if the learner is willing allow her/him to give it a try.


Fiddle Box

I created a collection of fun stress balls and individual problem-solving games. These I placed in a box and referred to it as a 'fiddle box'. The classroom rule, was that anyone could take out and use any of the items during lessons. These items were for individual use and were also not to be used to distract or disturb anyone else. These items helped learners who felt restless or had difficulty focusing to focus on the task at hand, and to complete their work within the given time frames.


There are many ways we can assist learners in our lessons to assist them to complete tasks, feel comfortable and reduce the stress.

Ask the learner what they find useful, talk to their parents and see how you can assist.


If you would like PD workshops at your school, reach out to me.

Karen, at info@karenwalstraconsulting.co.za


Sources:

South African government, Nov. 2020, Disability Rights Awareness Month 2020 https://www.gov.za/DisabilityRightsAwarenessMonth2020#:~:text=South%20Africa%20commemorates%20National%20Disability,National%20Disability%20Rights%20Awareness%20Day.


United Nations, Department of Economic and Social AffairsDisability, Calendar of Major Events 2020 https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/calendar.html


Wikipedia: Accessibility https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility


Lexico, powered by Oxford: disability https://www.lexico.com/definition/disability


Renae Remer 2017 The Effects of Alternative Seating on Students with ADHD Northwestern College, Iowa https://nwcommons.nwciowa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1071&context=education_masters#:~:text=The%20data%20suggests%20that%20alternative%20seating%20can%20help%20some%20students,all%20students%20that%20have%20ADHD









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