The people with learning disabilities are really special, their needs are special and we have to address those challenges. Most of the consumer goods, electronic devices, cell phones, etc. communication devices are generally produced for “Common” or “Healthy” people. Have we ever thought that how on earth more than 6 Crores (60 millions) people would be dealing with, or cope up with their physical challenges? How can we expect a person with orthopaedic challenge, to climb up the stairs of a school? How can we expect a person with listening challenge to listen to his school/college teacher’s lectures? How can we expect a person with writing challenge, to write an examination or regular notes of his/her studies? Its really very challenging and hampers the educational, economical growth of a Specially Abled Person.
God always helps those who help themselves! This could be a perfect saying for normal people. But now with Assistive Technologies, its becoming very much true for SAP also. Lets see what are the challenges which could be dealt with AT.
Speech Recognition feature of Windows – 7 and some other operating systems allows a person to dictate his/her documents, notes or even emails. So if a person with writing disability is not having speech disability, the problem of writing is solved this way, using computer. But next question arises, Is every SAP in India equipped with a good computer with microphone & head phones? I think we have to make it sure that “Digital India” initiative of PM Shri Modiji, involves Specially Abled People and Assistive Technology for them. We can also try and influence cell phone manufacturers to have speech recognition feature included in their all products! If every Indian can’t have computer, no problem, but I think many Indian SAPs have got Mobile Phones and lets make them useful for this purpose.
Hearing impaired people can have various hearing helpers, which is very popular in India and available at highly affordable rates. We have to have different types of hearing helpers so that experience of the person can be much better, for example TV listening devices, call listening devices and many such devices are available in western markets. Through “Make In India” initiative of PM Shri Modiji, we can try bringing those manufacturers to India and make them more affordable and easily available to the SAP of India.
Generally when writing and listening is made easily possible, the SAP can be highly effective learners. But in some cases we have SAP who can’t grasp the things at the speed of a normal person. In such cases the content should be taught at variable speed(s) and there must be extra classes/coaching for such people.
There are more physical/mental challenges which can hamper a persons learning ability, in the next part of this article we will look upon the more challenges and relatively better technologies for them.