Sunday, December 9, 2012

A special guest post from Mark Victor Hansen

Helping kids break their learning barriers

I know of many kids who have certain learning disabilities that hold them back from the rest of their age group.  But I believe that their inability to cope is not a problem born out of being less smart, it's one that is born out of the problem of miscommunication.  Kids with learning disabilities are simply unable to share their genius with the world.  This is where computers come in.

There are many instances where computers have proved that kids with learning disabilities are silent intellects.  An inarticulate child featured on 60 minutes was able to display his emotions and feelings by using the palm top that he'd been given.  With the single press of a button, he could say things like "I'm hungry", "I'm sad" and "I want to see my brother".

The earliest instance I can remember is of one that happened almost ten years ago.  My kids used to go to Kaiser Elementary School.  The principal then, Mrs. Chris Jurenka, paid someone $150,000 to install a bunch of computers so that every child with a learning disability had a computer to work with.  The change was instantaneous.  Every child, who'd been silent for so long, was suddenly communicating with the computer with complete ease, and through the computer, the kids could communicate with other people too.  The school was one with kids coming from many cultures, so many different languages were spoken.  English was a common subject though and Mrs. Jurenka expanded the computer learning program to teach English.  It was as much a success as the first.  The parents were thrilled that their kids were speaking English perfectly and came down to see the computers and tapes.

Computers can help a child unleash his genius, and today, computers are accessible to everyone, whether you can afford to own one or not.  Almost every public library has a computer section.  U.S.A, Canada and most of Europe have public libraries that provide free access.  This ensures that nothing comes in the way of unleashing the genius of each child.



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