Orlando Bloom. Keira Knightley. Richard Branson. Albert Einstein. Pablo Picasso. Jennifer Aniston. What do all these names have in common? Each of these actors, businessmen, artists, and scientists were diagnosed with dyslexia. What was once considered a disability has now become something much more valuable. Enhanced creativity and better ways to navigate dyslexia through Natural Language Processing (NLP).
WHAT IS NATURAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING (NLP)?
It’s the study of natural language to see if machines can emulate humans in their speech patterns. Think chatbots, translators, and voice assistants to name a few. NLP is always changing and growing as it learns the context, nuances, and ambiguities of human language.
So, how does it help your business? It can glean insights from the huge amounts of data that cross the internet every day, and automate tasks like Q&As, and ticket routing, directing you to the right person if your questions go deeper, offers turn-by-turn directions in your GPS, and can read your text messages and emails to you, translate language, and so much more. This makes it perfect for those with dyslexia allowing them to absorb information by listening rather than by reading.
According to Neurosciencenews, “variability in natural speech is challenging for the dyslexic brain”. The acoustic variations and phonemes we hear when we say a word sound different. We all learn differently. NLP offers speech-to-text to help us write, read, and understand the information on the page.
NLP has been around since the 1950s and is only expected to continue to grow in 2022 and beyond.
IN THE CLASSROOM
NLP technologies can help students learn to write better and comprehend what’s been read while offering teachers cognitive feedback for student learning. In writing, NLP solutions such as automatic writing evaluations can provide feedback to students with tips about vocabulary or dig deeper with advice about whether or not their argument makes sense. This type of specific information goes beyond the grammar and mechanics of writing.
Recent research has focused on NLP predictors of students’ differences, including vocabulary knowledge, working memory, and identity.
For teachers, NLP tasks have expanded to include source-based essays in which students must use external sources to back up their argument. In so doing, teachers can gain insight into what is happening at a cognitive level with their students.
October is Dyslexia Awareness Month and from October 3rd, Microsoft will be running a “Be You” Campaign. Why? To raise awareness of how technology benefits individuals with Dyslexia and other neurodiverse learning differences. Its goal? To empower people with dyslexia, dispel misconceptions, and showcase the range of creativity and critical thinking brought to the table in business by individuals who have dyslexia.
Did you know you can list ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ as a skill on LinkedIn? This is just one of the ways in which Microsoft is showcasing the tools available to help. But it’s not just for dyslexic individuals. New technological tools such as NLP can help with conditions such as hearing and vision disabilities, too. Businesses will continue to benefit from NLP, from improving their operations and customer satisfaction to reducing costs and making better decisions. Neurodiverse individuals bring strength and skills to the table that many may not realize. Their thinking patterns are different which means fresh ideas and new perspectives, and brilliant problem-solvers. Why? Because they’ve most likely devised strategies to overcome their own difficulties.
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