CASE STUDY: Jenny, 6th grade.
Jenny is in 6th grade: she is bright and really creative, but has been diagnosed with a learning disability. The psycho-educational assessment prepared by the school board’s psychologist states that Jenny has an LD that affects:
- her processing speed,
- working memory, and
- phonetic skills.
These cognitive processes are implicated in most of her academic skills, including reading, writing and math.Among other accommodations, Jenny’s IEP ensures that she has access to AT, in the form of:
- Mind mapping software because it minimizes the impact her working memory issue has on her writing skills. Instead of having to remember all her ideas in her mind to introduce them in the right order (which requires the use of working memory), she uses the software to help her create a visual representation of each idea that she can “manipulate”.
- Text-to-speech software because it transforms written text into audio format, allowing Jenny to focus on understanding the ideas presented instead of struggling with sounding out and identifying each word, only to have forgotten what she read by the end of each sentence.
- Speech-to-text software since her writing skills are affected by both her limited phonetic skills and working memory. Her trouble with phonetics makes it difficult for her to remember what letters make which sound, and her working memory makes it almost impossible for her to remember grammar rules and apply them to the text she is writing.
After Jenny had mastered the use of her new AT tools, her teacher began noticing that Jenny was less frustrated when it came time to write. She also noticed that she was more willing to share her thoughts when the class discussed readings, probably because she had understood it better.
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