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Re: Functional Cognitive Disabilities


From: Joshue O Connor
Date: Oct 31, 2006 4:00AM

Pauls list (thanks Paul) is a good segue into a discussion on how to
best serve users with cognitive disabilities.
I think users with cognitive disabilities are the hardest to serve, and
in terms of what WAI/WCAG are doing, they
are maybe the hardest to provide a definitive roadmap for developers to
successfully accommodate their needs.

If any one in the list has some links to other good resources on this
subject, please share.

I am finding this a little difficult to impart, so if the following
wanders, please forgive me:

But I think, maybe a subsection could be added to Pauls list around the
area of motivation/interest, especially within the context of education?
I have taught students who are very keen to learn but are frustrated in
their studies by their disability or by their ability to learn. There is
a flip side to that also as there are those who have the ability but not
the interest to apply themselves. I have experienced the latter within
the context of students with sensory/intellectual disability.

I have worked with students who are very capable and intelligent, but
would not apply themselves to the course materials (I was teaching two
students with cognitive/sensory disabilities the ECDL course, whether we
should have been doing that or not is another issue), and one girl in
particular would not apply herself to the fullness of her ability, which
I found frustrating as I had other students who were very keen, but did
not have her ability, and therefore would have found the course very

If the above makes no sense, apologies in advance.


Emma Duke-Williams wrote:
> You've probably thought of this under the "Encoding" section - but the
> difficulty in understanding symbols - while symbols for some are
> fantastic if you can't read, for others the same symbol can mean
> different things - or is it "transfer"? - e.g. is a door the entrance
> to something exciting - as often happens in adventure type games, or
> the exit from the software ...
> On 10/30/06, Paul R. Bohman < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
>> I'm trying to compile a list of functional cognitive disabilities. I'm
>> not referring to clinical or medical categories, but to the conditions
>> and/or limitations that affect a person's ability to use internet
>> content. Here is a preliminary list. Please add to it, comment on it,
>> correct it, or otherwise help me compile a more complete and more
>> accurate list:
>> (e.g. short term memory loss & other memory deficits)
>> (e.g. difficulty concentrating, focusing, or paying attention)
>> (e.g. difficulty recovering from errors, difficulty figuring out new or
>> unexpected situations)
>> (e.g. difficulty with non-literal language and/or concepts)
>> (e.g. deficiencies in the brain's ability to perceive and/or encode
>> information received through vision or hearing)
>> (e.g. reading disorders, dyslexia, etc.)
>> (e.g. difficulty with certain forms of information or media, such as
>> text only, and/or the need for multiple methods of encoding, such as
>> audio and illustrations)
>> (e.g. Difficulties in connecting or associating knowledge or ideas; for
>> example, not being able to apply a principle learned in one situation to
>> a new, similar situation)
>> So, what do you think? What would you add, delete, or change?
>> --
>> Paul R. Bohman
>> Administrative Faculty, College of Education & Human Development
>> Lead Architect of Web Services, Office of Technology Support
>> Technology Coordinator, Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities
>> George Mason University


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