Tag Archives: Higher education

Dyslexia Is Not An Illness Or An Injury

Dyslexia is not an illness or an injury – it is not something that you can ‘get better’ from, but is a learning difference which means you need to approach some things differently. Nor does dyslexia mean that you are ‘less intelligent’ than someone else – but using the same judgments for those with and those without dyslexia creates an unfair playing field.

 

Perhaps to use physical terms (even though your brain is, in effect, just another organ) you wouldn’t ask someone with poor eyesight to just try to look harder or someone who was wheelchair-bound that they just weren’t trying hard enough.

 

Instead, just like wearing glasses, people with dyslexia may need some assistance with some tasks. Again, like those glasses you may use to help you see, so there is technology available to help those with learning differences like dyslexia to get along in a world that isn’t always designed to suit.

 

The law requires that workplaces make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to help those with dyslexia to do their job and the range of support available to students has never been better, yet there still remains a great level of misunderstanding about things like dyslexia.

 

If these types of difference are not recognised and acted upon then we will continue to see a society where those with dyslexia, autism, ADHD and other similar neurodiversities will be marginalised or simply treated as being ‘stupid.’

 

In fact, tests have shown this to be far from the case, and some employers are going out of their way to court neurodivergent employees in order to make the most of any differences in thought pattern and levels of creativity.

 

So, rather than seeing those with dyslexia as having something ‘wrong’ with them, like a broken leg that can be set and fixed, we need to recognise that dyslexia is merely a difference – just like your hair or eye colour, except that it is a difference with how your brain is wired. Not better, not worse, just different – with its own benefits and drawbacks.

 

Dyslexia is not something that we need to ‘cure,’ it is something that we need to accommodate in a world that all-too-often is just not designed with dyslexics in mind. Only when we do this can we unlock potential and fully appreciate the great benefits that neurodiversity can bring.

The Personal Touch – With Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology or ‘A.T.’ is specialist technology that helps support those with disabilities and learning needs. It can be either software or hardware and can be awarded through either Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) or Access To Work (ATW) schemes.

 

Designed to help students and employees overcome any difficulties they may have, for example with dyslexia, ADHD, or autism, Assistive Technology comes in a number of different forms depending on requirements.

 

However, since everyone is unique, Vocendi believe that any Assistive technology support should be matched to the needs of the individual, rather than seeking a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, as is favoured by some other providers.

 

In fact, Vocendi offer one-to-one training sessions where an individual’s needs can be assessed so that the best solution can be found for each person. This holistic approach offers users a unique experience tailored for them rather than trying to cut corners to get as many people on board as possible without actually doing much to really help.

 

Vocendi make sure that our trainers have the rights skills and experience to offer this personal touch when it comes to Assistive Technology. With this in mind, we have implemented a competency framework to monitor and assess our team to ensure that service users have the best possible experience.

 

We believe that everyone has the right to reach their full potential and that far from being a burden, those who require Assistive Technology have a great deal to offer just as long as there is the help required to achieve this potential.

 

Of course, the Equality Act means that discriminating against someone in the workplace because of a condition like dyslexia is illegal and reasonable adjustments are expected to be made by an employer to prevent this.

 

The same can be said for those who are studying, with Disabled Students Allowance designed to help people be all they can rather than being side-lined due to disability or a learning difficulty.

 

You can find out more about our services and how they can help you right here on Vocendi.com – don’t settle for less, be all you can with Assistive Technology and support!

Lifting The Lid On Hidden Disabilities

As people, it seems that many of us are guilty of ignoring what we can’t see. This can be seen in how so many are happy to ignore the plight of the poverty-stricken, refugees, homeless, and others in similar situations. So long as it doesn’t impact on our daily lives, it seems that many people are happy to carry on as if these things don’t exist.

 

However, it is not just societal ills that people turn a blind eye to – but also things such as mental health issues and hidden disabilities such as dyslexia. While we wouldn’t berate someone in a wheelchair for not being able to climb a flight of stairs, it is all too easy to ignore the less-obvious disabilities and issues that others may face.

 

A large part of this is because conditions such as dyslexia are not immediately obvious, often went unrecognised, and were frequently misrepresented as someone not trying, or being ‘stupid.’ Of course, things have steadily improved over the years, but our ability to recognise and appreciate the effects of hidden disabilities still leaves a lot to be desired.

 

Fortunately, with anti-discrimination laws in place, it is becoming harder for employers and others in positions of power to discriminate against those with conditions like dyslexia, dyspraxia, and ADHD. In fact, employers are now required to take reasonable steps to accommodate and support those with these types of conditions.

 

It is not just in the workplace that there have been advances in supporting those with such conditions, but there is also a great deal that can be done to help students to thrive and reach their true potential despite of their dyslexia, ADHD, or other hidden disability.

 

Assistive technology has helped immensely, and is something that we at Vocendi take seriously, but it is not just a question of throwing technology at the problem. It is also about attitudes. As employers, teachers and tutors become more aware of hidden disabilities and how to support those with them, so we are all able to better see the potential of those who have them. Far from being judged by a condition, we can now look to the strengths rather than dwell on the difficulties.

 

Out of sight, out of mind may still be a real attitude problem in our society, but hidden disabilities needn’t and shouldn’t be brushed under the carpet or passed off as something else. It is all about education, knowledge and understanding – not for those with the condition as much as for those without.

 

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist!

Uncovering The Learning Myths Of Neuroscience

There are a lot of common beliefs around how our brains work – especially when it comes to learning. Some common myths are being peddled like facts, and it seems that if you couple one of these pseudo-scientific ‘facts’ with a picture of the brain people are more likely to believe them!

 

Unfortunately, some of these learning myths are believed by teachers and parents and therefore make their way into the beliefs of students too. Of course, understanding how our memories work and how we learn is useful when it comes to teaching and more effective study, but it seems that a few of the more commonly held beliefs are actually wrong, and have no real basis in fact.

 

Here are a few common neuroscience myths – and why they simply aren’t true:

 

  • You have A Favoured ‘Learning Style.’

 

This incredibly common neuroscience myth says that each of us has a preferred way of learning – whether visual, auditory or kinaesthetic – that is using your eyes, listening or a hands-on approach. The theory says that you will learn better if you use your ‘favoured’ learning style.
Despite there being no evidence to support this, it is apparently believed by 93% of teachers. While some students will have a preference for a particular style of learning this doesn’t actually translate over to getting better grades.  In fact, findings indicate that it is best to use a variety of different senses and learning styles to cement new information in the brain – creating neural pathways related to sight, sound and touch is more effective than just using one of these.

 

  • You Only Use 10% Of Your Brain

 

There is a myth going around that Albert Einstein declared that we only use 10% of our brain, leading some to believe that there is a great untapped potential within all of us. However, the theory is untrue – and Einstein never said anything of the sort!

 

Unfortunately, a lot of people still believe this myth, despite there being no evidence to support it. In fact, with advances in our understanding of how the brain works we know that this 10% myth is incorrect.

 

  • Right Or Left Sided Brain

 

An amazing 91% of teachers believe that the difference between the right or left sides of the brain create differences in individual learners who are described as using one side or the other. There is a belief that those who are left-brained are rational and objective while those who are right-brained are more creative. This was based on a study of epilepsy in the 1960s, but since then research has found that neither side of the brain is solely responsible for personality types. Students may decide that they don’t have the right sort of brain for a particular subject, which is, of course, nonsense!

 

  • Brain Training Games Make You Smarter

 

You have probably seen adverts for brain training games and how they claim to be able to help improve your memory, concentration or intelligence. Of course, playing these games frequently means that you will get better at them over time, but there is no evidence to suggest that this transfers over to making you better at other activities, such as learning in class.

 

There are some benefits to be had from these type of games, for example for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and of course, keeping you brain active can certainly help in these type of circumstances. However, a leading researcher into these type of games concluded that there is  “no evidence for any generalised improvements in cognitive function following brain training in a large sample of healthy adults.”

 

These neurological myths are surprisingly widespread but perhaps it is time to look at them with a more critical eye. For example, it is clear to see that makers of brain-training games will be keen to get you to buy them, so may make a few leaps of judgment in promoting them to the public. Here’s hoping that these out-dated myths fade away to be replaced by more solid, research-based facts!

Advice On Cloud Storage For Students

Let’s face it, after weeks or months of work, the last thing you want is for something to go wrong with your computer and you lose that large essay or dissertation that you were working on. Backing up your files should be something that is automatic to students these days, but could cloud storage offer an effective solution to storing your work, as well as some flexibility with your studies?

 

Cloud storage is a system whereby your data is remotely managed, maintained and backed-up – allowing you to access your files online from anywhere via the Internet. This is ideal if you want to check something out from your files while you are on a café Wi-Fi system or over a friend’s house. It could also mean that you can do some study wherever there is an Internet connection – even on holiday!

 

Of course, the main plus point of using the cloud is that your files are instantly accessible from anywhere, and it is easy to just move files between your local and your cloud storage, offering an instant back-up to anything you have stored on your computer.

 

You can of course access your files from different devices, so long as they have the service downloaded to them to allow you access. Systems like Dropbox are widely used and could provide a quick and simple solution to accessing your files remotely.

 

However, be careful when moving items from your local and cloud storage – you will need to copy and paste rather than drag and drop the files – since moving them will delete them from your original location.

 

While there are some real advantages to using cloud storage as a student there are also a few potential problems that you will need to be aware of too.

 

You may have some concerns about data safety and how easy it might be for other people to access your files. While hackers may be a concern for some cloud storage users – particularly businesses – chances are there won’t be too many hackers interested in locating your files on Popular Culture In The 17th Century, or whatever else it is you are studying!

 

The main downside to what is otherwise a great storage solution for students is also its greatest strength – the Internet.

 

Being able to access your files from wherever you are using the Internet is a great thing – unless the Internet goes down. Not being able to get a connection or facing a fault with your Internet service on the day when that assignment needs to be in could prove to be a real headache!

 

That said, as an extra tool to help in your studies, cloud storage could offer you some extra flexibility to keep your life in synch with your studies!

 

All Change For The Department Of Education

There has been a lot of change in UK politics recently. Following the resignation of David Cameron and the appointment of Theresa May as Prime Minister there has also been a reshuffling of the Cabinet, with a number of MPs either being replaced or moving to new roles.

 

One such move saw Nicky Morgan replaced by Justine Greening as the Secretary of State for Education, although this also saw a change to how the department works.

 

The Department of Education has now taken over responsibility for higher education and skills, which was previously under the remit of the Department of Business, Innovation, and Skills. This means that the Department of Education has taken charge of university education as well as vocational training such as apprenticeships.

 

While there is little information on how this will work in practice, there is a real hope that this move will help to align education from school right through to university and beyond into employment. The alignment of higher education and skills with the department of education could also be good news for business and the economy.

 

It is hoped that this move will see a joining up of education and skills at all levels, creating a smoother transition between education and work, while also meeting the needs of business and the economy.

 

When higher education, apprenticeships and skills were under the watch of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, it was easy for young people to feel that their journey through education and training was fragmented, and that there was too little emphasis on how education could transition into employment.

 

Now it is hoped that there will be links between everything from childcare and primary education through to secondary school, further education, university, and apprenticeships and adult skills.

 

These are the hopes for the new unified Department of Education, but of course, only time will tell how it all works out.

 

How Will ‘Brexit’ Impact Neurodiversity In Britain?

In case you have been hiding under a rock for the last couple of weeks, a referendum was held in the UK about membership of the European Union, with 52% voting to leave the EU and 48% choosing to stay. This means that, unless something changes, Britain is set to cut many of its ties with Europe – but what does this mean for neurodiversity and the laws regarding things like employment and education for those with conditions such as autism, dyslexia, or ADHD?

 

As it stands, nothing is set to change any time soon. With matters already being delayed by the need to choose a new Prime Minister following the resignation of David Cameron, talks over how Britain will leave the EU have yet to begin. These are expected to take up to two years to complete before an agreement is reached. This means that any support you get under laws like the Care Act or the Welfare Reform Act will stay as they are for the time being.

 

Indeed, most of the rules made about care and support are not made by the European Union, so many of them should stay as they are even after we leave the E.U. That said, we cannot know what rules or laws may change under future governments

 

So, while we don’t expect much to change right now, we also don’t know exactly how things will look once Britain leaves the E.U. Quite simply, no nation has ever left the E.U. like this before, so nobody really knows exactly what will happen.

 

You may have noticed that a lot of economists and other experts have said that there will be a negative impact on finance, which has already been seen in how the pound dropped in the markets compared to other currencies. The knock-on effect of this could be that businesses are forced to cut jobs or move out of the UK as they face losses on imports and exports. Should this occur then there will clearly be an impact on employment for everyone, including neurodiverse groups. There could also be an effect on the freedom of movement and for those looking to come to the UK, or go abroad, to study.

 

It seems that we are living in the quiet before the storm. It is a time when we really can’t be sure what will happen and how any exit negotiations and agreements will go. As a result, for many, it may more-or-less seem like business as usual, but there is a good chance changes are ahead…