I’m doing some research into how to make the environment and project choices at our Dojos more welcoming to Ninjas who may have accessibility needs around things like, for example, autism, dyslexia, hearing, mobility or vision. If you have experience in addressing such needs at your Dojos that you could share, that would be really valuable to us and the community.
Hi Phillip, just started with CoderDojo but has been working with accessibility for the last 22 years.
We are working on a open source project called SensAct : https://github.com/AbilitySpectrum/Sensact
We’ll be looking into accessible dojo as I am settling in gradually.
About 20% of our ninjas are on the autistic spectrum so we now have some experience in this at our dojo. The most important thing we have found is to talk to the parents. Every child is different and some have certain things that will help them.
e.g. We have one boy who has Aspergers and a grandparent explained that he zones out his hearing when sensory overload kicks in. At this point we now know to place a hand on his shoulder when speaking to him as this helps him to focus on listening to us.
We have a child who finds making choices very difficult when faced with too wide a range. So we tend to restrict choices where possible. For example, when choosing a colour for something instead of “What colour is this going to be?”, we would ask "Will we make this Red or Blue?"
These are very specific examples for individual kids and will not work for all ninjas. It’s best to ask the parents what they recommend.
Our next step is to make our dojo more accessible for those who are visually impaired. We have been approached by the RNIB to get something set up for young people with visual impairments so they can attend our dojo. At the minute I am getting in touch with our university venue to see if we can get Zoomtech Fusion or something similar on the PCs in their labs. Does anyone have any activities they have used for people with visual impairments that we could possible reuse?
Hi @Natasha-Cavanagh that’s great advice. I definitely think it’s really important to remember that every child is different and has different needs and that discussing what works for each child with their parents is a great approach rather than a one-size fits all mentality.
Regarding resources for children with visual impairments, CoderDojo London ran sessions with the RNIB which you can read more about here: https://coderdojo.com/news/2016/06/29/making-coding-accessible-inclusive-and-fun-with-coderdojo-london/
Projects completed included:
Project 1 – “Spot the Difference” web accessibility puzzle by Recite Me. During this project, the kids had to identify and fix accessibility issues on web sites whilst learning about screen readers and web accessibility standards.
Project 2 – “Experimental Braille Communication device” – powered by the BBC micro:bit. During this project, the kids had to work together to solve a puzzle using basic electronics, programming and logic. The exercise was based around a Braille Cell and a BBC micro:bit with buzzer, USB cable, battery pack and alligator clips.
I know Cubetto has also been used at similar sessions, but is quiet expensive. I would love to hear what other resources young people with visual impairments are finding useful to learn coding skills
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