Awareness and Inclusion Serving Library Patrons with Learning Differences

Presented by: Lynne Cutler, Disability Services Advocate: Lisa Stringer, Educator and Consultant: Nina Ghiselli, Psychologist and Consultant:

Public Library Association's Eleventh Annual Conference March 2006

This session will cover: • Outline of the California State Library disability Project • Overview of learning disabilities • How will learning disabilities manifest in library patrons? • Ideas for your library • Resources and best practices from one of California’s projects

California Library Services and Technology Act Grant (2003-2004)
• Stipulations of grant: - Services to people with disabilities - Community based surveys for needs - Community Partnership - Outcomes measurement

Projects Implemented Under the Grant
• Staff Training • LD programs for public • Assistive Technology • Collection Development • 88 Pictograms of Dewey subject areas

Sample Pictogram

Where to access the pictograms
• East Bay Learning Disabilities Association • • California State LibraryLibrary Literacy Services •

Introduction to Learning Disabilities
• Impairment, Disability, Handicap • Dyslexia: brain and manifestations • Universal Design

Impairment, Disability,Handicap






Based on the work of Sally Shaywitz, Overcoming Dyslexia

Universal Design
“Universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” –Ron Mace

  The brain uses an eight-step process in the left brain to read.   Dyslexia is caused by many differences in nerve pathway development in these eight areas.   The “bridges” along the reading pathway of these eight regions are damaged or not developed.

Visual Dyslexia
  Most People who are dyslexic have trouble interpreting what they see in print. The visual cortex of the left brain does not learn how to recognize symbols consistently or in the correct direction/sequence As a consequence, letters, numerals and other symbols tend to reverse or turn upside down. Parts of words may also transpose.

Auditory Dyslexia
The ears bring sounds to the midbrain, which is designed to recognize and organize the hard/fast and slow/soft speech sounds. The midbrain does this extremely quickly. Speech sounds are then transported in the correct sequence to parts of the left brain for blending and decoding. Dyslexia is caused when the midbrain is slow in sorting these sounds and the sequence becomes confused.



Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome

Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome affects individuals’ ability to see clearly when reading, writing and performing visual tasks. Although scotopic sensitivity does not appear on regular eye exams; nevertheless it can result in extreme difficulty distinguishing between written words and shapes. • Is found in 60% of adults who score below a forth grade reading level on standardized tests • Is a major barrier to reading for eighty percent of individuals who are dyslexic • Exists to some degree in 30% of the general population

How the Brain Carries Visual Information
Visual information from the parietal lobe is sent to the visual cortex for interpretation

Mango and Parvo cells deliver separate parts of what is seen to the midbrain at different speeds

The midbrain filters, blends and organizes the images. These images are then sent to the parietal lobe to be sorted further

Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome
Scotopic Sensitivity is caused by a problem in the development of the mango cells. Parts of these mango cells are missing, and some of the neurons that blend the images in the midbrain are incomplete. This Cellular deficit sends unstable images through the brain. Finally, the visual cortex “sees” print distortions – Readers experience jumping, unfocused images that result in eye strain, headaches and nausea.

Nonverbal Learning Disabilities (NLD)
Nonverbal Communication and Information Sixty-five percent of all communication and information is nonverbal. Tactile, kinesthetic, visual-spatial affective and experiential information are examples of nonverbal information. Nonverbal communication and information can be used on its own, but is often associated and integrated with language.

Lack of Nonverbal Communication Skills People with NLD have extreme difficulty processing and utilizing nonverbal communication and information. They rely almost exclusively on their interpretation and use of the spoken or written word.

The Neurology of Nonverbal Learning Disabilities

  The right hemisphere appears to be specialized for nonverbal information. It controls visual and spatial perception and also plays a dominant role in the recognition of auditory tones, objects and faces, and in the recognition, interpretation and expression of emotion.

The Right Hemisphere (very generalized)

Nonverbal Learning Disabilities (NLD) result from dysfunctions in right hemispherical systems, or in the inability to access right hemisphere systems due to deficits in sub cortical white matter.

Learning Disability Challenges for Library Patrons
Area of Difficulty Reading • Decoding / Manifestations at the Library
May have difficulty with text-based instructions and forms (such as library card applications)

Strategies & Accommodations
Offer orientations where applications are filled out by librarian and library overviews are given Put application and other forms on computer with audio output and word predication software Expand collections to include more books on tape and videos (have book and tape available for read along)

reading fluently

• Comprehension

Views library as textbased institution Does not use reading Collaborate with “Recordings for the Blind & as preferred method of Dyslexic” or similar organizations with recording ability gaining new information

Install voice-output software onto computers and have book scanning capability In literacy programs, train volunteers in LD and use reading programs specifically designed for LD students (Such as Ortan-Gillingham) Collaborate with schools to support students with disabilities in homework and academic activities Encourage literacy programs to provide support around workplace specific tasks (E.G.: memos / pay checks)

Needs assistance learning to read fluently or completing reading tasks around school or work

Learning Disability Challenges for Library Patrons
Area of Difficulty Reading Cont. Manifestations at the Library Strategies & Accommodations

May have difficulty Expand book collections to include agefinding / understanding appropriate materials (E.G.: adult books with higher-level texts, but haslow-level literacy, high school relevant texts • Decoding and ability and need to access with lower-level literacy) comprehension concepts. Expand Close Captioned video collection Cont. (encourages reading for book reluctant Can experience difficulty patrons) matching call #’s and • Confusing titles to those on books Provide shaded grids for transcribing call sequences and numbers and titles themselves orders of text and numbers
Implement use of pictograms for locating materials and navigating library

Will have particular • Matching sets difficulty in matching titles and numbers on of words and horizontal book / video numbers spines on library shelves

Designate space in the library specifically for adult readers with literacy challenges Display LD relevant material in easy to navigate space in the library / Display materials in front facing fashion Enlarge call #’s on LD related / low-level literacy books / materials

Learning Disability Challenges for Library Patrons
Area of Difficulty Manifestations at the Library Reading Cont.
• Reading at “normal” rates (expect LD students with reading Will have problems reading problems to take five reference materials for times longer to extended periods of time complete reading during any given reading tasks than non LD session peers) • Maintaining / concentrating on reading for periods over 15 minutes • Keeping place during reading

Strategies & Accommodations

Will not be able to complete Extend borrow times for patrons with disabilities readings within standard borrow times
Allow reference material to be saved (not re-shelved) for longer periods of time. Allow LD patrons free photocopying to enlarge and take home reference materials

Have materials archived electronically with alternative formats and speech output

Will experience challenges in Supply “reading pens”, electronic reading small print or funky, spellers and other assistive unusual fonts. technology tools for use within
designated library space

Will have increased challenges with black on white print.

Consider assistive technology lending Provide colored overlays and supply card rulers to aid eye tracking Have non-fluorescent / adjustable lighting for reading spaces

• Seeing an object / Will usually prefer reading word against its with softer lighting background.

Learning Disability Challenges for Library Patrons
Area of Difficulty Writing

Manifestations at the Library

Strategies & Accommodations
Provide portable, electronic note takers (such as Alpha smart ®) for use in designated library areas

Difficulty taking notes from reference materials or nonconsumable texts (Process is Thinking with words Consider partnering with non-profits laborious and notes are to provide discount / free consumable (Tendency to think difficult to refer back to) texts for LD patrons (especially for in images / ideas)
GED and other test-prep books)

Organizing written work Handwriting

Difficulty utilizing library materials for written assignments or projects for school, work and hobbies

Install word prediction or abbreviation / expansion software on computers Install Inspiration or other essay mapping software on computers Provide voice recognition software and allocate space / time for voice recognition users Encourage use of magazines, journals and materials with graphic / pictorial reinforcement

Learning Disability Challenges for Library Patrons
Area of Difficulty • Computers Manifestations at the Library
Difficulty remembering common sequences (Such as, saving to disk, opening an existing document, searching for Journals) Confusion with directionality (Such as left / right click)

Strategies & Accommodations
Allow extended computer times for disabled patrons Avoid referencing left / right. Label directions on computers and mouse pads Provide large, high contrast keyboard and number pads

Display visual summaries of common Difficulty focusing on the screen / “seeing” small fonts tasks that require sequences, such as saving a file or accessing e-mail and distinguishing shapes

Transcribing information to or easy transcribing from the computer

Install text holders onto monitors for

Set up personal screen profiles with larger, simpler fonts and alter screen / text color

Learning Disability Challenges for Library Patrons
Area of Difficulty Manifestations at the Strategies & Accommodations Library

•Concentration Talks out-loud while reading, Have places, times in the library that finding materials allow patrons to engage in multisensory learning (E.G: “talk aloud” spaces, discussion rooms, interactive, Asks the same question multi-media spaces) many times Becomes disoriented, has difficulty navigating the library Expect to repeat information, use concise and consistent language.

Stay with someone until they have Asks to check out more than actually located the wanted item allocated number of items (Don’t simply direct them) Avoid using left / right and numerical references to give directions Assist in screening for appropriate material

Learning Disability Challenges for Library Patrons
Area of Difficulty Manifestations at the Strategies & Accommodations Library

Train staff in the needs of patrons with • Reluctant to None! LD Access and (Bear in mind that Use Library evaluations of and plans for the needs of patrons must Partner with community consultants / extend beyond the existing experts clientele. Library investigations into how to Survey the community to discover serve people with individuals needs and wants better must strive to reach citizens who do not currently Utilize findings of California State interact with the library at Library projects and similar reports all) Hold LD support and focus groups Host LD trainings and guest speakers for patrons

Sample Library Call Number Sheet
Patrons may have difficulty transcribing call numbers and matching call numbers to shelved books. Many patrons with learning disabilities may also have difficulty with organization. Differentiating between call number digits and providing structured grids to prompt correct call number transcription is helpful. Sheets that prompt large, organized copying of call numbers with notes for author and title also assist readers in finding the book and tracking their book search. A key or map that matches call number to book location in the library would also be helpful. If your library adopts pictographs, these could be referenced in your database besides call numbers.

Book Title: ____________________________________________ Author: _______________________________________________

Links to websites on learning disabilities LDOnline. The leading Web site on learning disabilities for parents, teachers, and other professionals. Includes online LD store. The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) works to ensure that the nation's 15 million children, adolescents and adults with learning disabilities have every opportunity to succeed in school, work and life. Special Needs Project, a unique disability bookstore. We carry books, videos, DVDs and related items about mental and physical disabilities...for parents, professionals, educators, family members and persons with a disability. We have the largest collection of books about autism spectrum disorders we know of. Schwab Learning. To help parents, we created Schwab Learning, a nonprofit organization, dedicated to providing reliable, parent-friendly information from experts and parents San Francisco Public Library’s Resource Collection for Learning Differences. The Resource Collection for Learning Differences provides extensive information for adults and children with dyslexia, aphasia and other learning differences and also their families, friends and professionals. Many useful linksEASI (Equal Access to Software and Information). EASI's mission is to serve as a resource to the education community by providing information and guidance in the area of access-to-information technologies by individuals with disabilities. We stay informed about developments and advancements within the adaptive computer technology field and spread that information to colleges, universities, K-12 schools, libraries and into the workplace. AccessIT promotes the use of electronic and information technology (E&IT) for students and employees with disabilities in educational institutions at all academic levels. This Web site features the AccessIT Knowledge Base, a searchable, growing database of questions and answers regarding accessible E&IT. It is designed for educators, policy makers, librarians, technical support staff, and students and employees with disabilities and their advocates. In 1996, Roads To Learning, The Public Libraries’ Learning Disabilities Initiative, came into being. The goal of the initiative is to bring information about LD to the general public through libraries while increasing public libraries’ capacity to serve in this area of need. Roads to Learning bibliography. Learning Disability Resources for Public Libraries. This is not an exhaustive list. It is a beginning guide for public libraries, to develop materials collections for the general public. It includes mostly recent titles, plus a few older items for background. All are available from jobbers, publishers or other organizations. Since listening can help comprehension for some people with learning disabilities, availability of audio cassettes is noted as found in bibliographic sources. The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) currently houses a database called the Louis Database of Accessible Materials for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired. Louis contains information about tens of thousands of titles of accessible materials, including Braille, large print, sound recordings, and computer files from over 170 agencies throughout the United States. RFB&D's library contains more than 104,000 titles in a broad variety of subjects, from literature and history to math and the sciences, at all academic levels, from kindergarten through post-graduate and professional. Chances are, if the book is in your curriculum, it's in our library! Anyone with a documented disability—including a visual impairment, learning disability or other physical disability which makes reading standard print difficult or impossible—is eligible to use RFB&D's audio textbooks but in order to access our library, you need to become a member. National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) The Library of Congress. Through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS administers a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail. Those eligible include persons certified by competent authority as having a reading disability resulting from organic dysfunction and of sufficient severity to prevent their reading printed material in a normal manner. JAN, or Job Accommodation Network, is a free consulting service designed to increase the employability of people with disabilities by: 1) providing individualized worksite accommodations solutions, 2) providing technical assistance regarding the ADA and other disability related legislation, and 3) educating callers about self-employment options. JAN is a free service of the U.S. Department of Labor. Call JAN for advice. One is not allowed to ask about disabilities during the employment process. JAN might be of use if an employee self disclosed that they have a cognitive or learning disability. They have a page of Accommodation Ideas for Learning Disabilities at Steven Fullmer's “Where Can I Go to Find DisabilityRelated Information?” Learning Disabilities Association of America. Since 1963, LDA has provided support to people with learning disabilities, their parents, teachers and other professionals. At the national, state and local levels, LDA provides cutting edge information on learning disabilities, practical solutions, and a comprehensive network of resources. See also California LDA at and the East Bay LDA at (pictograms will be mounted here and on the literacy section of the California State Library website.)

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