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Re: Footnote Call Was: New Java-based software speech synthesizer available



Greg, sorry for the delay, nearly missed your mail.

"There are about 210,000 people with severe learning disabilities in 
England, and about 1.2 million with a mild or moderate disability."....
"People with learning disabilities have little control over their 
lives,few receive direct payments..."
"Employment: Very few people with learning disabilities - probably less 
than 10% - have jobs."(1)


My students are adults, and recognised as having a severe learning 
difficulty*, many of whom have down's syndrome.
They have an approximate reading age of 4 years old, though the range 
includes many with no reading skills (the majority,) and a few with 
slightly better developed reading skills. Another measure is an "IQ less 
than 50"(2). You may know this as a cognitive difficulty.

They benefit from multi-modal means of communication, these can include 
small amounts of text, with symbols, signing, (and diagrams of signing,) 
photographs, sounds as well as spoken words. Tactile re-inforcement is 
also often used. Hence the very real benefits that emacspeak might 
offer, especially when combined with a graphical browser such as 
mozilla, or possibly Xemacs.


If you visit our site http://www.learningdifficulty.org and follow the 
links, you will find many resources, some with statisitics. Discussions 
within various groups at WAI suggest around ~2%-5% is a very rough guide(3).
A search for "severe learning difficulty" at google will also be 
helpful,there is remarkably little to read, most from the UK.


None of the above relates to the situation of the majority of people in 
the third world who will never be able to afford a computer, never mind 
software. Radios and televisions are rare amongst this community, even 
the cost of batteries is known to be prohibitive. The  provision of open 
source software is a real and necessary predicate(4).

I hope I may look forward to your co-operation in future.

thank you,


(1)
Valuing People
A New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century
Presented to Parliament
by the Secretary of State for Health
by Command of Her Majesty
March 2001
http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm50/5086/5086.pdf

*There may be a confusion with specific learning difficulties(SpLD), 
which is also known as dyslexia, there is no connection between dyslexia 
and SLD. Indeed people  with  dyslexia are known in all walks of life. 
The same cannot be said for people with Severe Learning Difficulties,

(2)
The incidence of children born in the UK with some form of learning 
difficulty is 1 in 20 births, and with a severe learning difficulty (IQ 
less than 50) is 6 in every 1000 births.
http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/social/cp25.htm

(3)
In 1998 the Department of Health found that within every 100,000 of the 
population the incidence of some of these disabilities were:
. with a moderate / severe learning difficulty
300 - 400
http://www.adoption.org.uk/information/page15.htm

(4)
35 million disabled students (in India)
http://www.hindustantimes.com/nonfram/261000/HTH01.asp








-- 
j.chetwynd@btinternet.com

http://www.peepo.com "enjoy surfing the net"
http://www.learningdifficulty.org

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