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Cognitive Compensations for the Visually Impaired

November 25th, 2013 2 comments

Two summers ago, I volunteered at a special education academic program at the Weston High School in Weston, Massachusetts. As I observed the students work, I was astounded by how behind in learning their disabilities put them compared to the average level their age would normally be associated with. While I was there, I helped a 13-year-old blind girl with her reading comprehension homework. I was asked to dictate a passage to her, and she had to answer one of four questions that she read in brail. As I watched her fingers trace the dots, and dictate to me the correct answer, I was both astounded and intrigued.  I wondered and still wonder, how does the human body adapt and reorganize itself to compensate for deficits, by birth or by injury? More specifically, how can blindness affect one’s cognitive abilities, in particular the various parts of the human memory?

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