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Dyslexia

Old 17th May 2009, 18:14
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Dyslexia

Hi Guys

I have got a student who has told me he is dyslexic - his reading and writing skills are very poor.

Is there any way he can take the PPL exams without being able to read / write?

Does anyone know if special arrangements can be put in place (eg the examiner reads out the questions and records the anwers)?

Does anyone have any practical experience of how that might work in the Nav exam, which requires a fair bit of calculation?

He has held other professional technical qualifications with exam requirements, thougfh I haven't quizzed him yet on how those exams were handled.

I don't know whether Dyslexia is classed as a "disability" and so covered by the Disability Discrimination rules, and / or whether there are any opt-outs to those rules for aviation - anyone know?

I'm not new to pprune but I'm using a different username to better protect the anonimity of my student.

Thanks
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Old 17th May 2009, 18:56
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Same boat - my club has passed candidate's special needs assessment from school onto CAA. We await response with interest!

I know that at my university (in my proper job I'm a lecturer), a 'special needs' student can, if the disability is severe enough, get

(i) extra time (10-15 mins per hour);

(ii) a reader, ie someone to read the paper to the candidate;

(iii) a scribe, ie someone to write the answer;

(iv) a computer with special needs software;

(v) special coloured cellophane, to cover the paper to make it more comprehensible.

I believe that appropriate training will compensate for learing disabilities. However, I have experience of a student, when asked to climb from 1000' to 1500' actually climbed to 5100' (I remember thinking, as we passed 2000' that we'd end up at 5100); but that's a very obvious and simplistic example of a special needs student. My employer tells me that all individuals are different, eg numbers, arithmentic, writing, comprehension, etc.

Good luck
 
Old 17th May 2009, 20:24
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Are you really suggesting that its safe to operate an aeroplane if you cant read the checklist, the flight manual, NOTAMs. Met forecasts and navigation charts?

The last time I heard the question asked the answer was a resounding NO on safety grounds.
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Old 18th May 2009, 05:50
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Safety

Whopity

Are you also going to suggest that it's not safe to have a wheelchair user as a passenger in a commercial aircraft or as an audience member in a theatre because they would need assistance with evacuation in the event of an emergency and would therefore slow things down?

The information you refer to is only an issue because it is normally only made available in written form. If it is made available in other formats then it is possible for it to be comprehensible and an equivalent level of safety established.

That said, you are echoing my concerns ........
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Old 18th May 2009, 06:27
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Anyone remember Saudia 163? The aircraft burnt out on the tarmac at Riyadh following a cargo fire in flight. From airdisaster.com:

The Second Officer, who was thought to be dyslexic, spent nearly all of his time searching through the aircraft's operations manual, the whole time repeating to himself "No Problem."
All 301 on board died.
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Old 18th May 2009, 06:51
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Are you also going to suggest that it's not safe to have a wheelchair user as a passenger
No comparison! In order to qualify as a pilot one has to demonstrate certain skills. That involves interpreting information in the formats that it is commonly found in. If you cannot do that, then you do not posses the necessary skill to be given a licence. If you're 4 ft 3 you are not going to become a basket ball player! The fact that information could be provided in another format is not relevant until all information is available in that format.
A passenger can be assisted, a Pilot in Command cannot!
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Old 18th May 2009, 10:37
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The UK Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) makes the following observation -

A Person has a disability under the DDA if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Dyslexia can constitute a disability if it has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
These activities do not include work of a particular form, but can include promotion assessments and examinations as these are normal, if irregular, activities.
When assessing the effect of a disability, the comparison is not with the population at large, but with the way in which the individual would carry out the activity if not impaired.

The above statements are largely directed towards the treatment of someone within an employment scenario. Training for a PPL and exercising the priviledges of the license would, I imagine, fall outside the scope of 'normal day to day activities'.

If there is no grounds for disqualification from training on medical grounds then the matter is a safety issue as determined by the competent authority. They may take the position that the format of formal examinations exists in part to demonstrate an ability to read and write which is necessary for the safe operation of an aircraft. However if they are willing to accomodate the provision of a reader and/or scribe to help your student through the exam then perhaps this is a form of approval.

Finally there are varying levels of severity with dyslexia. There are many pilots flying with mild dsylexia but i feel sure they are all capable of reading and absorbing the information required to plan and conduct a safe flight, as well as being proficient at carrying out nav calculations in the air when required to do so.

As an instructor maybe you could help to make this determination of your student. Would you be happy to let this student plan a solo xc flight from scratch, execute a diversion if weather forces one, and complete all the necessary paperwork after the flight - without any input from another person? At this point in time you are probably best qualified to answer your own question.

Best of luck
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Old 18th May 2009, 10:53
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Morning all,

Interesting question, particularly in these PC times. I suspect however that the issue is nothing to do with whether the student has a disability and is purely to do with whether they can fly safely after a licence is granted.

This in turn should depend on PRACTICAL assessments of their abilities with particular emphasis on what happens in the air. To be a PIC the ability to plan, calculate and take in written information en route is a pre requisite, otherwise an unexpected event could become something of a show stopper.

On the ground, I guess the situation is a little less clear - we all use aids to help us plan (whizz wheels, glasses, computers, other pilot's knowledge) so the measure is whether the necessary information is demonstrably absorbed and understood with normally available help - for exams, the method of asking the question is often unrealistic (seldom are problems in real life presented in written multi choice format) and therefore it is reasonable to alter the method or medium of questioning to make the problem more readily understandable however being able to rely on memory, intelligence and reasoning to provide the correct solution will always be a pre requisite.

Ultimately, there will always be people that are unable to reach the required standard to fly for a variety of reasons and some of these reasons will relate to student capability as measured by the real life requirements of the task.

If capability can be enhanced or the required level reduced through safe technological aid and development then why not?

Regards all, enq.
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Old 18th May 2009, 11:11
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This might be useful for you as an instructor as you will be forced to adapt your teaching style to suit this particular student.

Dyslexia Learning Styles | Being Dyslexic

An introduction to how focussing on particular learning styles can help dyslexics.

Learning should be: structured and multisensory - this bypasses the organisational difficulties in the brain; integrating all learning pathways helps to ensure automatic memory.
Overlearning is vital: practice till automatic: adults with dyslexia have short-term memory difficulties.
Use a variety of ways to practice spelling: let adults choose the ones, which work best for them.
Work on one problem at a time.
Adults with Dyslexia often "overload": Tune into this and you'll save a lot of time!
Use Right Brain skills: like imagination, patterns, colour and visualisation to augment learning.
New Information needs to be given more than once: even if the adult appears to understand it - dyslexics often have distractibility and short-term memory problems.
Dyslexics often find it difficult to generalise.
Develop a holistic approach: another right brain strength - adults with dyslexia like to know the whole and then are happy to tackle the part.
Work to the adult's strengths: avoid reinforcing failure, e.g., seeing incorrect spellings or making him do dictation or words he cannot spell.
Remind dyslexic, if necessary, of a spelling strategy for as long as they need you to: that's "not cheating, but learning".
Give time: for the dyslexic to organise their thoughts.
Encourage use of technology: spelling dictionaries, memory aids, to get round the problem - why rub two sticks together when you can throw a switch!
Present learning material: in a variety of different ways to help student generalise - some dyslexics find this difficult.
Adults who are dyslexic: need to concentrate much more than other students because of their difficulties.
By recognising and discussing the nature of their difficulties with them: we can enable them to come to terms with the condition, put it in perspective and take control of their learning.

Can't help thinking that this could be an interesting journey for both of you and one in which you could learn as much as your student does. Never a bad thing for a professional instructor.

Hope it goes well and it might be worthwhile posting updates - it's always nice to hear about triumph over adversity.

Best of luck

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Old 18th May 2009, 11:14
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Dyslexia

The promulgation of the idea that a person who has dyslexia should be prevented from holding a PPL is appalling and demonstrates shameful ignorance.

Many who have a difficulty reading and writing are also very successful in life, running multi million pound complex businesses. Others I have taught have had diffilculty in reading questions and identifying answering with regard to the 'Otto Cycle' but just the same have no difficulty in stripping and rebuilding an engine in their classic or rally cars and have taught me much about the workings of an engine.

As to weight and balance calculations and flight planning I wish more did it. In my experience individuals who have the common levels of dyslexia are very capable by hardwork to learn the everyday processes of planning by repitition and are unlikely to forget it later. Take a straw pole of the average club member and note how many can remember how to use the 'whiz wheel' or do a weight and balance. If you do not know the answer already then you will be shocked.

this is my user name, the answer is lots of groundschool and encouragement. The cd's that Oxford produce, by example, I have known to be invaluable. By whopity's response don't expect a sympathetic response from the CAA, just get on with it and expect to give the student that little extra bit of support.
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Old 18th May 2009, 14:59
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Quote: "The promulgation of the idea that a person who has dyslexia should be prevented from holding a PPL is appalling and demonstrates shameful ignorance."

Maybe. But you can't get around the fact that a disabilty such as dyslexia and operating a complex piece of machinery in a technically challenging environment are generally incompatiable. You could probably train a dyslexic to a safe standard for flying in a majority of circumstances, but by nature, flying is a passtime/occupation which throws up complex situations, and assessing someone for the award of a licence must take thier ability to deal with such situations into account.

It may be un-PC to say so, but life isn't as simple as saying everyone should have the chance. I've been in the situation of having to make a decision where someone who with learning disabilities could quite obviosuly not get a PPL had to be taken aside and be told after many hours of training,

"Mate, this game isn't for you".
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Old 18th May 2009, 15:07
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And on the flip side. I flew with an F/O the other day who is dyslexic. I've been flying with him for over 3 years and only found out because he told me. He is just as good as anybody else I fly with.

Of course I understand that there are varying degrees of dyslexia but all hope is not lost.
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Old 18th May 2009, 16:22
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Dyslexia

Dan winterland

There is a big difference between someone who has "learning difficulties" and another who has difficulty learning in a particular way.

Dyslexia has no direct link to intelligence. Many dyslexics are extremely intelligent, quick learners and have achieved considerable achievements in the academic world. The ratio of Dyslexic intelligence is no doubt the same as is generally the case. People who do not have dyslexia have various levels of intelligence also. Chesty Morgan refers to an individual who has had to pass very tough examinations and as he witnesses performs well in a professional multi-crew cockpit.

I genuinely thought that everyone had moved on from the 1950's treadful idea that Dyslexics lacked intelligence simply because they are dyslexic.
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Old 18th May 2009, 16:27
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The promulgation of the idea that a person who has dyslexia should be prevented from holding a PPL is appalling and demonstrates shameful ignorance.
Well said.

Seen more than one PPL holder with dyslexia, taught another myself and know of at least one ATPL with dyslexia who is also well known on here! None required any special arrangements for their written exams and fly safely on a regular basis.

I suggest Whopity, that you do some research. Some may call it 'PC' but there's nothing clever about insulting people because of ignorance - makes you look very silly.

VFE.
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Old 18th May 2009, 17:11
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I'm dyslexic. My skills test is on Wednesday.
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Old 18th May 2009, 19:45
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Originally Posted by VFE
I suggest Whopity, that you do some research. Some may call it 'PC' but there's nothing clever about insulting people because of ignorance - makes you look very silly.
VFE.
VFE, I really don't think Whopity was insulting anybody. He was simply being realistic and I agree with his comments.

Clearly, with any disability, it will depend both on the degree to which the person is affected and also the tasks involved.


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Old 18th May 2009, 21:17
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I suggest Whopity, that you do some research. Some may call it 'PC' but there's nothing clever about insulting people because of ignorance - makes you look very silly.
I have a son, with a rare form of dyslexia so I think I know something about it. As there are many variations and conditions that qualify as dyslexia, referring to it generically serves no useful purpose. That however is not the issue, its a question of whether someone who has difficulty reading and writing should be allowed to take exams using special help. If they are granted a license as a result of this special help, will they then need special help to safely exercise the privileges of the licence? A licence is a permit, issued on proof of the relevant skills.

I regularly conduct medical flight tests and assessments for disabled pilots, so I am not unfamiliar with the business of assessing whether a particular disability will affect safe operation. I have never said that a person with dyslexia should not hold a licence however, at times a persons dissabilty may mean they cannot operate safely, in which case they should not be granted to opportunity to endanger themselves and others.
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Old 18th May 2009, 22:17
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Ok Whopity, duly accepted but you didn't really elucidate too well with the wording of your previous postings or by stating...

The last time I heard the question asked the answer was a resounding NO on safety grounds.
Clearly there are many pilots with dyslexia so your experiences do not appear to be indicative of the overall picture.

VFE.
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Old 19th May 2009, 03:44
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Ok, I was generalising and I think I used the word 'generally'. I should have said "severe dsylexic"'. There is no such thing as dyslexia as a uniform condition. The term encompasses many different disabilities to varying degrees through dyslexia and dyspraxia and it's only recently that these conditions have become better understood .

The original question asked was about a student whose reading and writing was poor, and it was with this in mind, I slanted my answer. This will be a problem for him. There are also others who have mild and different forms of dyslexia which prevent them for recognising symbology for example, an aircraft instrument. The student I referred to in my earlier post had such a problem. His reading and writng were fine, but he kept on misreading instruments. He had a digital watch because, by his own admission he couldn't read analogue watches.

I do know about dyslexia. It runs in my family.
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Old 19th May 2009, 07:16
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Assessing being up to the tasks

All the previous posts address the original question well.

A further useful dictum is:-

" When I sign this student off, will I be happy for him/her to fly my own family?"

OR when applying for a Commercial Licence:-

" Am I prepared to pay him/her to fly my own family ?"


This surely applies to all Instructors when they pass students.
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