EMPOWERMENT & INSIGHT CENTER FOR STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES AND ADHD USING ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY

A. Frishman-Shitrit, O. Tykochinsky

Kibbbutzim College of Education (ISRAEL)
Empowerment & Insight Center- (EIC) was established in 2002 at the Kibbutzim College of Education in order to assist and empower students of the college's Teacher Training program, challenged by learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders. Each year, EIC assists 450 Kibbutzim College of Education B.Ed students. EIC's vision is "to offer students with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders opportunities to realize their intellectual and personal potential and develop their unique skills, so that they may contribute in the field of education."

The center follows the Human occupational model, which focuses on three components: the person's components, the component of the occupation and the components of the environment. The goal is to promote a level of participation and success in studying with minimal effort and with maximum concentration in studying. The center offer students aid in the following areas: improving occupational skills, including learning accommodations and assessment accommodations; time planning and organization, which includes a monthly and weekly planning, getting organized during the exam period, technological assistive as reading software support, using X mind software etc. The students becoming more efficient in dealing with time-wasters; organization of the studying space, including personalized courses in language, English and art therapy and assigning a personal tutor.

The center offers support for all learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia. The center is run by professionals from academia, a center manager who is a learning disabilities expert, a psychologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating learning disabilities, an occupational therapist, an expert in handwriting, organization for studying and sensory processing related difficulties, an assistance technologies expert and student tutors. Each student with a learning disability and/or attention deficit disorder arriving in EIC is assigned a personalized "assistance package" to suit his/her unique needs.

The EIC model has been recognized by Israel's Ministry of Education and EIC centers are to be nowadays found in a few post-primary schools.