Reading for kids in a digital world
While reading habits have become more digital, decades of research marks the manifold advantages of printed materials with the following learnings;
1. With short text any aged child learns equally when reading in print or digital, but comprehend informational text better when it’s printed on paper, particularly when there is a deeper meaning.
2. Digital media is lighter, more adaptable and gives kids access to a wider selection often at less cost.
3. The multitude of digital information may lead to distraction and features that can overwhelm.
4. Print books seem simpler to read, encourage adult/child participation and more imagination and meaning making.
With print and co-reading there is greater expression, questioning, and connection. Digital books with “read to me” options may even discourage adult involvement.
Parents can inspire a love of reading as good role models, by spending time in the local library together and by having books available and visible at home. But most importantly perhaps, a child’s love of reading can really take off when they find just the right content for their age in either medium.
Autism and people’s perceptions
A new study from the British Psychological Society has found that non-autistic people’s misperceptions about autistic people can change the way autistic people behave in a major way.
Results show that perceptions and beliefs about the behaviour of autistic people held by others have often caused those with autism to increasingly separate and isolate themselves from mainstream society. This, in turn, researchers suggest, seriously “jeopardizes their mental health and prevents autistic people from developing to their full potential.”
This ongoing situation is not only problematic for the development of all autistic people but has been shown to be to the detriment of wider society, insofar as autistic people are effectively prevented from contributing fully. Not only does this mean that society does not fully benefit from the valuable contribution that autistic people could make in many spheres of life; creativity, innovation, the workforce, and culture, to name but a few. This account also assumes that some, not necessarily all, people living with autism actually yearn to be included in order to be productive and to be useful. As such, it directly opposes accounts by some that view autism as an extreme case of diminished social motivation.
Advocating for your child at school
With school resuming after COVID-19, some students with disabilities will face the same pervasive, unfair disability barriers whether they are going back to attending school in person, or continuing to take their lessons remotely via distance education.
And their parents will still be left struggling to break down the barriers that their kids face. It is stressful and demoralizing and very un-Canadian!
Watch this fabulous video for parents and teachers by David Lepofsky, Chair of the AODA. It’s a 50-minute long talk posted online which is full of really practical tips. Designed to help parents take the right steps in their journey to advocate effectively for their child’s needs, it suggests a direct, respectful and non-threating approach.
The video calls on parents to expect what’s fair to be provided by the school board. Lepofsky also reminds viewers that the school is not the enemy and that teachers want to do the best they can for their students. However, he realistically notes that many teachers work in and are frustrated by a system still designed for students without disabilities.
You can find the complete video that guides you through the advocating process on the Osgoode Hall Law School YouTube channel.