Entrepreneur Arun Fernandez, from Chennai, Prepares Screening Tool for Specific Learning Disability
Even though it is easy to diagnose physical disabilities, it is a challenging task to identify learning disabilities. Chennai-based Arun Fernandez, diagnosed with dyslexia, developed a screening tool for parents to ensure early identification of Specific Learning Disability (SLD), a disorder manifesting as the inability to read, write, process languages or perform calculations in children.
“The all-pass norm till class VIII in schools prevents students with learning disabilities from getting diagnosed at an early age, which is crucial for timely intervention. The platform, Dlearners is AI-enabled with simple logic. For clinical assessments, a child has to be at least 8-years-old and the process takes around 3 hours, the same can be completed within 1.5 hours on the platform. Once a child is diagnosed as ‘at risk’, the app helps them build phonetic awareness and the system connects a special educator to the child if an expert intervention is required,” Arun tells Education Times.
1.6 million children are part of the 40 million visually challenged in India. An everlasting dearth of textbooks alongside the high cost of Braille books negatively impact students’ future education and job prospects.
Bangalore-based Nagarajan Rajagopal, who has rich experience of product development with international organisations, has designed a battery-based portable device called Hexis that allows any text content in English or Indian languages to be converted to Braille.
“It has only four keys for navigation of content which makes it easy to learn and use. The ready availability of textbooks removes the problem of printing and distributing expensive Braille books. Teachers can form virtual classes to share class notes and assessments. By providing analytics to teachers, the reading habits and understanding of children can be tracked,” he says.