Dyslexia Intervention Training for Educators

Target Audience: General Audience

Company: Ball Aerospace in partnership with AFRL GRILL®

Description: The Dyslexia Intervention Training for Educators simulation is an immersive virtual reality simulation designed to simulate real-life experiences for dyslexic people. Although Dyslexia is often thought of as a single disability with a single set of symptoms, it is more accurately considered an umbrella term for ten (10) subtypes, each with their own presentations. Intervention strategies may be extraordinarily effective for one subtype while yielding no measurable improvement for another subtype. Of the ten subtypes of dyslexia, eight are considered a form of developmental dyslexia (meaning a person is born with the disability) and two are considered purely acquired dyslexia (meaning the disability is present only after a serious brain injury). As a result, our simulation focuses only on the eight subtypes of developmental dyslexia and omits the two forms of acquired dyslexia as they are unlikely to be encountered by professional educators in a K-12 setting. The intention of the simulation is to allow professional educators to experience each of the eight subtypes of developmental dyslexia and their corresponding interventions. The simulation guides educators through attempts to interact in real-world environments while experiencing the symptoms of a specific dyslexia subtype. The educators are then prompted to attempt the same (or a similar) task while utilizing an appropriate invention strategy for the given subtype. The educators are subsequently able to identify the eight subtypes of developmental dyslexia and choose an effective intervention strategy from the possibilities presented in the simulation. This allows educators to be better prepared to guide their students through the process of utilizing intervention strategies within and outside of the classroom environment. Examples of scenarios presented in the simulation include the user reading warning signs on a beach and observing the meaning of those signs changing entirely when an intervention is utilized. In other scenarios, the user is attempting to grocery shop from a list, pay for car mechanic services, read a trail map, and other common situations.

Skills and Ideas Taught: The skills taught in the Dyslexia Intervention Training for Educators simulation include familiarity with the varied presentations of the eight developmental dyslexia subtypes. This familiarity enables the users to recognize the specific variation of dyslexia displayed by their students and more effectively align intervention tools with student needs. The simulation guides the users through utilization of dyslexia intervention tools according to industry-accepted best practices.

Goal: The learning objective for the Dyslexia Intervention Training for Educators virtual reality simulation is to provide professional educators with exposure to the eight subtypes of developmental dyslexia and the most effective intervention techniques for each subtype. The simulation achieves this by creating an immersive environment which replicates the experiences of learners with each subtype. The user is prompted to attempt the various interventions while the simulation responds by slowing (or eliminating) letter migration, reversal, insertion, and omission as it would for a real-life dyslexic student.

Users first attempt to interact with the environment in a natural manner – they can look at a menu, view a shopping list, and see a warning sign on a beach. All writing in the simulation will mimic one specified subtype of dyslexia (some will have inter-word letter migrations while others have letter omissions, reversals, or even inner-word migrations). When prompted to take an action based on the material presented to them, users are able to experience the disorientation felt by their dyslexic students when presented with similar real-world tasks. The simulation prompts the user to utilize an intervention strategy such as a reading window to isolate words, letter tracing, and lexical route reading strategies. When a mistake is made, the user is prompted to attempt the skill again until they are successful – this is meant to mimic the prompting students receive in a classroom setting. After each mistake, choices are eliminated or further practice is given to assist the user.

Game Engine: Unreal

Operating Systems: Oculus Rift

Primary Audience: Professional Educators in a K-12 setting.