Monday, October 25, 2021

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

Image of a person's head as a jigsaw puzzle with two pieces displaced

Dyslexia is a neurological condition in which the brain’s “wiring” makes reading difficult. Brain anatomy studies and functional brain scans show that the brains of people with dyslexia are structurally, developmentally and functionally different from the brains of people without dyslexia. However, dyslexia is not brain damage nor a disease.

Dyslexia is not related to intelligence; highly intelligent people can have dyslexia. People with dyslexia may not read accurately or fluently, because they have trouble identifying the individual sounds that make up a word, or they can’t learn to relate a sound to a visual symbol like a letter. They may have difficulty decoding written or printed language, and may be poor spellers and have illegible handwriting. Having dyslexia may affect reading comprehension; persons who read less also tend to have smaller vocabularies and less general knowledge than more capable readers.

Children with dyslexia often face difficulty receiving an appropriate education. If their teachers do not understand their struggles, students with dyslexia may be tagged as lazy, stupid, or underachieving. However, many coping strategies are available. Dyslexia is now considered a specific learning disability, and can be covered by accessibility laws related to educational opportunities. About 14% of students have enough problem with dyslexia to qualify for special education services. With proper education and support, about 96% of students with dyslexia can become good readers.

For more information on adult dyslexia, please visit these sites:

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Easy Study Tool: Flashcards

A stack of 3 by 5 index cards used for memorization
Index cards for memorization

This old-fashioned tool used to be handwritten on the front and back of 3 by 5 index cards, but no longer. Now there are excellent e-versions which can include not only definitions but also pictures, sounds, and fill-in-the-blank questions. These modern flash cards are available as apps for iOS and Android devices. You can study anywhere! 

This tool is best for memorization and recall. Learning vocabulary in a new language, or multiplication and division tables, or chemical formula names, or famous painting or musical selection identification, or physics or mathematics formulas, or anatomical names, or… pretty much anything you need to commit to memory.

Several companies offer pre-made flashcards on a wide variety of topics, or you can create your own sets and then trade them. Some offer free services, others charge a fee. Many have created games to make studying more fun. Most keep stats so you can track your progress. The best flashcard sets optimize your memorization by repeating incorrect guesses later in your study session, and waiting to repeat correct responses for some set amount of study later on.

Here are some examples of companies offering flash card sets:

Give flash cards a try, no matter what you are studying.

Monday, October 18, 2021

What Can I Ask JAN About?

JAN can be a disabled employee’s best friend.  JAN is the Job Accommodation Network, a US organization that provides free, confidential information about job accommodations and disability employment issues to employees and employers worldwide. Within the US, JAN supports job accommodations under Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as supporting entrepreneurial self-employment for persons with disabilities. JAN is federally funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).

According to the ADA, a reasonable workplace accommodation is a modification or adjustment to either the job requirement or the workplace environment that is made so that a qualified employee who has a disability can perform the essential functions of a job. It also applies to job applicants, meaning accommodations can be made so an applicant with a disability can participate in the job application process. JAN specialists can brainstorm with employers, employees or job applicants to identify potential accommodations.

While half of all accommodations cost nothing, JAN can help employers and employees figure out not only what accommodations might work, but also how to afford them. JAN maintains a list of public and private funding sources. JAN also has information on tax incentives for employers related to increasing accessibility for employees with disabilities.

You can search the JAN website for information on accommodations by disability, functional limitation,  work/task functions that need to be modified, types of accommodation, or other topics. You can also find links to many publications and other helpful resources.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Does HIPAA Protect You from an Interviewer or Employer Asking You Health Questions?

Image of two people in a job interview
A job interview

HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Since 1996 it prevents the release of your protected health information to unauthorized persons without your permission. It also requires that your physician’s office provide you with printed information about how your healthcare information is used and protected from unauthorized access. (That’s the sheet of closely typed information you probably don’t read during check-in, just sign that you received it.)
HIPAA does NOT prevent interviewers or employers from directly asking you health-related questions, including your COVID vaccination status. HIPAA does NOT prevent you from answering such questions. And HIPAA does NOT prevent interviewers, employers, or businesses such as restaurants or movie theaters from asking you to provide proof of COVID vaccination.
However, you do NOT need to respond to these questions or requests. If you consider them nosy or inappropriate, you can certainly say so and refuse to answer. Of course, then the person who asked you may make their own assumptions about your health or vaccination status.
It is not illegal for anyone to ask these questions, and it is your choice to answer or not answer.