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How new technologies can help with ‘invisible disabilities’

The European project ICTBell aims to investigate the field of dyslexia and language learning, with the final purpose to create a specially designed Business English Language Learning ICT-based course and a virtual learning environment (VLE) where dyslexic learners can thrive through the integrated e-learning content, virtual learning environment and online tutorage.

The general objectives of the project are to support improvements in quality and innovation in language learning for adult dyslexics while supporting participants in language learning.

In recent years the idea that Internet would contribute to a new era of participatory democracy has become dominant, but there is a real risk that what has been proclaimed as a tool of democracy can turn into a factor leading to social marginalization for those who are not able to master the processes of reading/writing proficiently. To avoid this risk, it is necessary that the educational and social institutions consider the problems and difficulties that people with disabilities have to face when they use modern technology, and provide them with specific tools like training, and software.

Only in this way can technology be considered, if not the solution, at least a part of the process to minimize the impact of dyslexia on individuals, to promote social inclusion assisting with the difficulties, the anxieties and the problems that the dyslexic have to face in everyday situations.

Authors of the report:

  • Giovanni Torrisi, Professor of IT, University of Milan “Luigi Bocconi” and at the University of Urbino
  • Sonia Piangerelli, Researcher in Foreign Language Didactics , Faculty of Foreign Languages of the University of Urbino