Understanding Dyslexia With a Foreign Language

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Sara Lee

By Gabriel Sandler

At Arizona State University’s (ASU’s) School of International Letters and Cultures, teaching language helps prepare students for a globalized world. For Professor Sara Lee, it also lets her help students overcome dyslexia.

“I see myself as a dyslexia specialist when it comes to teaching foreign language, especially German,” Lee said.

According to the Dyslexia Center of Utah, in the United States 15 to 20 percent of students have a language-based learning disability, the most common of which is dyslexia. Lee explained that this often makes students insecure when it comes to language learning. Based on Lee’s work, however, students can excel regardless, especially with German.

“The difference is really in the language itself.” Lee explained. “In English, there’s much more of a variety of how different sounds can be represented by different letters or how one letter can have different sounds. In German, it’s much more of one letter represents one sound.”

“My philosophy is to see the heterogeneity in my classroom, to see the different needs of students, to see what they’re capable of doing, to differentiate. Students can be very successful in language learning at different levels,” Lee said.

While a dyslexic student may struggle with a written vocabulary test, that is the only tool Lee has to measure proficiency. And Lee believes that German is fundamentally conducive to learning a language.

Consider as an example the words “tough” and “through.” Although both words end in “ough,” they are pronounced differently. In German, the phonetic pronunciation of the word corresponds to the spelling.

Dyslexic students, according to Lee, cannot visualize entire words from memory and have to work through them “step by step.” Without that visualization, however, they struggle to recognize when words are spelled incorrectly.

Lee says that in Germany, the rate of dyslexic speakers is 8 to 10 percent. Her research indicates that the easier structure of German words impacts that rate.

“It’s not quite as confusing. There are not so many different ways of pronouncing and spelling words,” Lee said. “So it’s actually easier to speak and learn German than it is to speak and learn English.”

Ultimately, Lee identifies herself as a teacher first, and has brought her understanding of language-based learning disabilities into the classroom for the benefit of the students.

She describes working with one student who had tried studying three languages already. When he decided to try German, Lee designed the curriculum with sensitivity to his dyslexia, and “he actually realized he had quite a knack for languages.”

According to Lee, “A lot of students who are suffering from dyslexia have suffered so much during their school years that they don’t trust their abilities when it comes to learning languages. … One of my main goals is to show them, especially in America, when you struggle with dyslexia because of English, German may actually be a really good choice for you.”

Learn more about the school’s German language programs here.

Source: ASU Now; silc.asu.edu

About the Author
Gabriel Sandler is a graduate student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He previously received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and certificate in human rights.

What kind of questions should you ask at the end of a job interview?

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man sitting at a desk being interviewed by a man and womanfor a job

It’s a scenario many of us have found ourselves in. You’re nearing the end of a job interview and finally, you can begin to relax a little. Despite the nerves, you’ve come across well and answered all the questions confidently – and with a little bit of luck, you may just be offered the position.

Before you can run out of the room, however, the interviewer wants to know if you have any questions for them.

It might be tempting to say no, so you can leave as quickly as possible – but asking questions can be of huge benefit when it comes to interviewing for a job.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that interviews should always be considered a two-way street. Yes, the recruiter is interested in finding out if your skills and abilities are suited to the role in question. But a job interview is also a chance for you to work out if this is the right job for you – and if you are going to fit in well at the company.

“As candidates, we can often get caught up in the whole process, particularly as we try to remember the answers we’ve prepared but it’s equally as important to take time towards the end of the interview to ask your own questions,” says Row Davies, HR business manager at the recruitment firm Macildowie.

While you’re preparing for your interview and imagining the kind of questions you might be asked, it’s also useful to think about any queries you might have too. However, don’t ask an interviewer anything you can find out easily yourself, either online or on the company’s social media channels.

“It’s crucial for you to assess whether the company is the right fit for you, as just like any relationship, both need to benefit and feel comfortable with the partnership,” Davies says.

“Not only does the process allow you to show your enthusiasm for the company, asking questions also gives you the opportunity to check your goals and values are aligned with the business. You don’t want to be a year or more down the line and find that the company is heading in a direction that you don’t want to or perhaps can’t follow.”

So what kind of questions should you be asking as an interview candidate?

Davies believes there are three key questions that should be on every job applicant’s list.

“The first, is asking the interviewer ‘is there anything regarding my experience you would like me to expand upon?’. Not only does this show that you are engaged, it also provides you with the opportunity to further emphasise your strengths and how you believe these will be an asset to the company’s objectives,” she says.

The second is about learning and development – and specifically, whether the company is actively investing in their employees. After all, you want to know that you’re going to move forward in a job.

“Ask, ‘how do you support the professional development of your employees?’. Answers to this question will give you an insight into how the business will support you as you progress up the career ladder,” Davies says.

“It also shows the interviewer you have aspirations and a drive to succeed in the organization.”

Finally, it’s a good idea to find out more about the company’s environment and whether they look after their employees.

“I would encourage any of my candidates to ask the interviewer, ‘what do you like most about working for the company?’ This is great for building a personal connection with the interviewer, giving them the opportunity to share their personal views and the passion they have for the company,” Davies says.

Continue on to Yahoo News to read the complete article.

Top 5 Tips for Job Seekers with Disabilities

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man in wheelchair talking with hiring manager

By Adam Kaplan

Despite an unemployment rate nearly double that of their non-disabled peers, people with disabilities can look forward to a bright jobs future—provided that they approach their career activities the right way.

Both experienced job seekers as well as those new to the world of employment can follow these five tips, culled from our conversations with hundreds of disabled individuals and other job seekers searching for work over the past few years.

1 Dare to Dream

When we speak to candidates who tell us they want a job, the first thing we ask is, “doing what?” Know what you want and why you want it before hitting the job market: this is essential to your eventual success. Most individuals have enough self-awareness to know what work activities they enjoy performing, and these usually correlate with what they are actually good at. When skill and interest are combined they are usually also accompanied with passion, which a recruiting or hiring manager can plainly see.

2 Identify In-Demand Skills

While perfecting your skills is essential, knowing how they fit in the market for talent is also important. Demand for certain skills is always evolving—yet some are consistently in higher demand than others. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that such diverse jobs as computer programmer, actuary, and market research analyst fit the bill. Matching your interest to those of talent managers can be the key to getting a good job.

3 Let Everyone Know!

The best way to find a job is through networking. Tell your friends, families and people you meet about the job you are seeking. Go to networking events. Promote your interests on social media.

4 Getting a Job Is a Job; Treat it as Such

Getting a good job is usually a marathon, not a sprint, especially for recent graduates and those who have been out of the job market for a while or are making a career change. Set aside certain hours for networking and research. Filling out applications is OK, too—just remember that answering help-wanted ads is usually the least effective way to find work. Use job boards to identify open positions, then network to identify the hiring manager.

5 Practice Makes Perfect

If you follow the first four tips correctly, you will have good leads to jobs that will lead to interviews. To have the best chance of translating those interviews into job offers, you need to practice, practice, practice. In fact, never go to a job interview without practicing beforehand. Ask the recruiter what to expect on interview day. Have someone you trust play the interviewer. Give him or her some questions to ask or have them ask their own. See where you can improve your answers. Use the practice interview to ace the real one, and get the job you want!

About the Author
Adam Kaplan founded Kaplan Executive Search, a retained executive search company.  He partners with CEOs of middle market and emerging growth companies to recruit top talent, including COOs (Integrators), CFOs and VPs of Sales.

Adam also has a personal passion for workforce diversity, especially in creating opportunities for talented professionals with hidden and visible disabilities.  He was appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to serve on the Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services.

Meet Arthur Edge of GSK

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Arthur Edge is a biopharmaceutical Technology Manager at GSK and his challenge at the company is to strengthen GSK’s manufacturing processes and launch new products in the fight to cure Lupus.

He is proud to be a part of the team to gain approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the new self-injectable formulation of Benlysta (belimumab), which treats systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in adult patients.

This became a really personal matter to him, when a close friend was diagnosed with Lupus.

For Arthur, recruiting and retaining a diverse team is important, especially in the pharmaceutical industry where there’s a lack of diversity.

Arthur Edge GSK headshot
Arthur Edge GSK-Glaxo Smith Kline

At GSK, he had the most productive and rewarding career experiences working on global teams where each individual is unique and their uniqueness is recognized.

He has a passion for learning and a desire to continuously improve. He believes he is bigger than his career, and his life is bigger than himself. GSK helps him to live this reality through its Modern Employer culture.

Arthur is active in leadership roles within the biotech community and in community service. He is the president of the Manufacturing, Engineering, & Technology advisory board for Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools, and he has leveraged GSK employee volunteers to work with him and support student success.

Finally, Arthur list three points of advice for young professionals: find an area of expertise and build a career platform around that area; be mentored and be a mentor; and work on problems that interest you.

Friendship Over Business’: Coffee Shop Owner Helps Competitor Stay Open During Hospice Treatment

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coffee shop owner is pouring a cup of coffee alongside competitor

OAK GROVE, Ore. – After the owner of an Oak Grove coffee shop was diagnosed with terminal cancer, his cross-town competitor is stepping in to help cover his medical expenses.

Dave McAdams runs The Local Coffee Company with his wife, Tina McAdams. He’s currently in hospice care with a terminal cancer diagnosis.

December marks the couple’s first full year of business in the parking lot outside of The Bomber, just off of SE McLoughlin Boulevard.

Sadly, Dave will be celebrating the occasion from hospice care.

“He was diagnosed with cancer for the third time– this time unfortunately was in operable. Unfortunately, he’ll be leaving in a few weeks,” said Tina McAdams.

Dave’s a Rotarian, is involved with a non-profit, and coaches youth baseball. He’s a well-known and well-loved member of the community.

In an incredible act of kindness, the owner of Moonlight CoffeeCoffee shop owner and his wife are pictured smiling next to their drive thru coffee shop stepped away from her own business to help the McAdams family keep their stand open.

“It’s supposed to be friendship over business, community over competition,” said Pixie Adams of Moonlight Coffee.

She is working at the stand with Tina – for free – to help them cover medical bills and expenses.

“I am here supporting them trying to generate attention for their business,” she continued, “to help make sure that after Dave is gone, they still have the ability to keep the coffee place open.”

Continue on to KATU to read the complete article.

With ‘Drama,’ Victoria Canal Could Raise Bar For Disabled Artists In Pop Music

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Victoria Canal is on stage singing in to mic with a male guitarist by her side

The ever-evolving entertainment industry can be daunting for any young, up-and-coming artist in pursuit of creative fulfillment. For her new song and music video, however, Victoria Canal found herself looking inward to address the most formidable obstacle of all: herself.

HuffPost got an exclusive first look at “Drama,” viewable above. In the video, Canal plays both a “light” and “dark” version of herself. Each persona, she said, “casts a different energy and puts out a different reality into the world.”

“The concept came about as I was starting to enter the music industry space more and really putting myself on display more than ever before,” said the Spanish American singer-songwriter, who is based in Los Angeles. “I sat down to write a song about the inner voice in my head, the self-critic who tries to make me feel small and tries to make me feel like anything other than what I know is my highest self. I wanted to really brush off that voice.”

Canal is hopeful that the self-empowering message of “Drama” will encourage all listeners to “embrace the best version” of themselves. The song also speaks to the 21-year-old’s personal experiences as a bisexual woman who was born without her right forearm.

The singer-songwriter ― who lived in Germany, China, Japan, Dubai and Spain before settling in the U.S. ― said her global upbringing has influenced her music as much as her disability and sexuality have. At the same time, she’s also conscious of the fact that mainstream pop has been slow to spotlight both LGBTQ artists and artists with disabilities.

“I’ve always seen [my identity] as a unique opportunity, really,” Canal said. “I used to shy away from the word [‘disabled’] and all the things it implied. But as I’ve grown up and lived a few more years, I’ve met a community of people who embody strength. ‘Disabled,’ to me, actually has a totally different connotation. To me, it means strong or resilient, determined, hopeful.”

Continue on to Huffington Post to read the complete article.

Teen With Asperger’s Named Time Person Of The Year

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NEW YORK — She inspired a movement — and now she’s the youngest ever Time Person of the Year.

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish 16-year-old activist who emerged as the face of the fight against climate change and motivated people around the world to join the crusade, was announced Wednesday as the recipient of the magazine’s annual honor.

She rose to fame after cutting class in August 2018 to protest climate change — and the lack of action by world leaders to combat it — all by herself, but millions across the globe have joined her mission in the months since.

“We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow,” Thunberg told Time in the issue’s cover story. “That is all we are saying.”

The Person of the Year issue dates back to 1927 and recognizes the person or people who have the greatest influence on the world, good or bad, in a given year.

Since her protest, Thunberg has spoken at climate conferences across the planet, called out world leaders and refused to waiver in her quest to make an impact on the future.

Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal acknowledged Thunberg as “the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet” in an article explaining the 2019 selection.

“Thunberg stands on the shoulders — and at the side — of hundreds of thousands of others who’ve been blockading the streets and settling the science, many of them since before she was born,” he wrote. “She is also the first to note that her

“We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow,” Thunberg told Time in the issue’s cover story. “That is all we are saying.”

The Person of the Year issue dates back to 1927 and recognizes the person or people who have the greatest influence on the world, good or bad, in a given year.

Since her protest, Thunberg has spoken at climate conferences across the planet, called out world leaders and refused to waiver in her quest to make an impact on the future.

The selection of Thunberg was praised by Hillary Clinton, who tweeted that she “couldn’t think of a better Person of the Year.”

Continue on to Disability Scoop to read the complete article.

Stepping into the Limelight

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Verizon's collage of disability images

By Kat Castagnoli, Editor, DIVERSEability Magazine

Seeing people with disabilities on a TV series, the big screen or even in commercials hasn’t always been the norm. Actor portrayals have been more typical than an actual person with a disability playing a role. But no more. DIVERSEability Magazine is giving a standing ovation for those with a disability who are proudly stepping into the limelight so that more youngsters can point to a television or movie screen and say, ‘hey, they’re like me!’

Like Ali Stroker, our cover story, the very first actress who uses a wheelchair to win a Tony Award. The 32-year-old, who won for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Ado Annie in Oklahoma!, says it’s “really cool” to see herself represented. “It didn’t feel like, ‘Oh, you did something to overcome being in a chair,’” Stroker said. “It was actually, ‘We’re recognizing you for being at the highest level of your field.’ That’s what I’ve always wanted.”

And what about America’s Got Talent’s latest winner Kodi Lee? The singing phenom—who is both blind and autistic—stole the hearts and minds of millions who were cheering him on through Season 14, including AGT judge and actress Gabrielle Union, who declares, “Kodi has literally changed the world.”

We here at DIVERSEability can think of nothing better. Because when people with disabilities are represented, it changes the way we think about disability and inclusion in all walks of life and business. The 2,000 attendees at Disability:IN this past July can definitely testify to that. Read the jam-packed Wrap-Up on page 16, and you’ll see “life-changing” as an overriding theme.

In addition to our Best of the Best list of disability-friendly companies, we’re seeing even more jobs for people with a disability (page 46). Also, take a look at ways to create better experiences for all your employees (page 40) as well as how to make your business even more successful (page 66).

Finally, we are thrilled to see companies like Verizon shattering stereotypes by launching their new Disability Collection of images (pictured above). The company says the new image library aims to shed light on how the world views the disability community.

We challenge all companies to step into the spotlight and follow suit to create a more inclusive, visible and well represented workforce. Can you imagine a world where we can all say, ‘hey, they’re just like me!?’ We can.

Bank Began Hiring People With Disabilities 20 Years Ago, And It Paid Off

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Patricia Saucier is seated at her desk at Bank of America

When Patricia Saucier was a teenager, she felt as if her life story would be defined by what she could not do.As a child, she was diagnosed with an intellectual disability. By the time she was 16, her parents signed her up to receive Supplemental Security Income from the government. They wanted to make sure she would be financially OK, but it made her feel different — and not in a good way. (Pictured: Patricia Saucier)

“I felt like they were saying I couldn’t do anything,” she said. But Saucier, now 43 and living in Searsport, has found a way to rewrite her story. For 20 years, she and her twin sister, Latricia, have worked for Bank of America’s 48-person Support Services team in Belfast. Nearly 40 of the team members have an intellectual disability — the others are managers — and both sisters have thrived there. They are paid well, get along with their coworkers and like the work. Patricia Saucier was even named employee of the quarter this year.

“I love working here. Even though each of us has intellectual disabilities, the managers never talk down to us. They talk to us. They know we’re adults — we just learn differently,” Saucier said. “I wish there were more jobs like this out there.”

The idea for the Support Services team began 30 years ago in Delaware. That’s when Charles Cawley, the founder of credit card giant MBNA, learned that one of his managers was concerned about the future of his son, who had a disability.

“Mr. Cawley said, ‘Don’t worry about it,’” and started the program, Brian Bragg, the head of Support Services in Belfast, said. There was a need. According to Special Olympics, approximately 6.5 million Americans have an intellectual disability, such as autism, Down syndrome or limited intellectual capacity. Most such adults are unemployed or underemployed, with about a third working full time, according to a 2014 survey by the sports organization. But the study also showed that people with disabilities can stick with competitive jobs.

Continue on to Bangor Daily News to read the complete article.

Making a Difference and Influence through Diverse Abilities at TIAA

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TIAA employees pose for a group photo in an office setting

This October, TIAA employees celebrated National Disability Employment Awareness Month by giving back to the community and candidly sharing the triumphs and challenges of living with disabilities and helping those with disabilities.

TIAA’s Diverse Abilities Business Resource Group (BRG), formed for associates with disabilities and caregivers of those with disabilities, held multiple events companywide in honor of Disability Employment Awareness Month, to grow awareness and support of diverse abilities and how it affects colleagues and people in the community. The events educated TIAA employees on diverse abilities and how to be more inclusive to everyone.

One of the events included a visit from Hendrick Motorsports’ Richie Parker, who shared his unique story of overcoming obstacles and facing adversity. Richie Parker was born with bilateral amelia, a non-genetic birth defect in which limbs are not formed. He is a renowned speaker on overcoming adversity, and has been profiled by ESPN. Parker is the contributor to six NASCAR Sprint Cup championships, and currently serves as a chief engineer of government and military projects.

TIAA is also passionate about making a difference in local communities, and additionally in recognition of Disability Awareness Month, the Diverse Abilities BRG and TIAA’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team partnered to facilitate a community service project with seven local offices. The teams assembled sensory kits for children with autism and other similar developmental disorders. The Diverse Abilities BRG office chapters came together via video conference in offices to pack sensory kits that included ‘squeezy’ and fidgety type toys and kinetic sand designed to calm children.

“We’ve had a need for things like this particularly in the eastern part of North Carolina these past few years due to hurricanes,” said Jessica Otto from the Autism Society of North Carolina. “As you can imagine, it’s very traumatic for a person with autism to deal with the power going out.  These kits will be a comfort for lots of kiddos!”

TIAA’s Diverse Abilities BRG virtual coast to coast event began with a Kinetic Sand Packing Race, where each site selected two members to pack the small bags of kinetic sand the fastest. In total, they packed 50 small bags of kinetic sand.  In Jacksonville, the Diverse Abilities BRG and TIAA Bank employees brought the effort full circle by volunteering at the Mount Herman Exceptional Student Center to hand out the sensory kits to the students, and helped with other tasks at the center. TIAA employees from Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Iselin, Jacksonville, New York and Waltham packed over 930 kits for four local nonprofits that support and help with autism.

TIAA values and practices diversity and inclusion, as well as philanthropy and giving back. Providing numerous opportunities for employees and their families to learn, share, and help those with diverse abilities advances inclusiveness in the workplace and in communities.

This AI system predicts seizures an hour before they happen with 99.6% accuracy

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picture of a brain x-ray

A pair of researchers from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette have developed an artificial intelligence system that predicts epileptic seizures with 99.6 percent accuracy.

The World Health Organization estimates that between 4 and 10 in every 1,000 people suffer from epilepsy-related seizures. According to numerous studies, 70 percent of those afflicted have symptoms that can be mitigated with medication. The problem is that many patients are unable to tell when they enter the preictal stage (the period directly before a seizure occurs) when such intervention would be effective.

Professor Magdy Bayoumi and researcher Hisham Daoud, the duo who created the system at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, want to take the guesswork out of seizure prediction. According to the pair’s research paper:

We propose four deep learning based models for the purpose of early and accurate seizure prediction taking into account the real-time operation. The seizure prediction problem is formulated as a classification task between interictal and preictal brain states, in which a true alarm is considered when the preictal state is detected within the predetermined preictal period.

Predicting a seizure is no small feat, especially for AI. Machine learning systems essentially run on data; the more you feed them the better the training and results. Unfortunately the frequency, detection time before onset, duration, and relative intensity of a seizure can vary wildly from one subject to the next.

This means, unlike teaching an AI to recognize photos of cats by feeding it millions of cat images, you can’t use a general purpose training dataset to create a seizure-detection system for individual patients. The researchers instead use long-term records of a person’s cranial EEG scans to develop a sort of baseline for brain activity before, during, and after seizures.

Patient’s personal data is required to develop the training and prediction paradigm, but the results are nothing short of astounding. Bayoumi and Daoud report near perfect accuracy at 99.6 percent detection with a false detection rate of nearly zero.

This has the potential to dynamically improve the lives of the estimated 50 million people afflicted with epilepsy world-wide.

Continue on to The Next Web to read the complete article.