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Thread: Quadriplegia Vs. Mathematics & traditional textbooks

  1. #1

    Quadriplegia Vs. Mathematics & traditional textbooks

    Eight years after my injury I would like to return to school (online university) and pursue a bachelors degree in computer information science.

    Two sticking points (as you can tell from the title) that raise concern are traditional textbooks and mathematics. I know that automatic page turners are available for purchase, does anyone have experience or tips about the ease or difficulty of using one? Or maybe someone is aware of a particular model that works better than the others? The other area of concern for me is mathematics. I found mathematics software online that is compatible with the voice recognition software I use, but I am still curious if any other quadriplegics (with no hand use) have experience or any tips on the easiest way to succeed at mathematics without being able to physically write it down.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! (Sorry mods. If this is in the wrong forum)



  2. #2
    I might not be the best voice for this as I am a para. I studied mathematics and statistics at UC Berkeley and me and many of my colleagues used pdf files of textbooks instead of the actual textbooks, which are very bulky. You may want to take this issue up with the DRC at whichever institution you end up at and see if they will give you access to texts on pdf.
    No one ever became unsuccessful by helping others out

  3. #3
    Senior Member wheeliecoach's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    East Haven, CT
    Talk to the school. Most schools have things in place for disabled students. They may have something already in place for you.
    "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing's going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Seuss

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rick1's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Carlsbad, CA
    The Kindle DX was designed with textbooks in mind. The current selection of college textbooks is fairly limited, though I would expect that to improve. The DX also supports document files such as PDF and Word.

  5. #5
    Senior Member cypresss's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    C5 functional
    IMO understanding mathematics is one thing, solving math problems in schools is another thing. Ofcorse, you cannot solve the problems if you don't understand how it works. When u know how it works the problem of solving it is reduced to dictation.

    I promise you that are a lot of free resources(in a lot of media types) which will allow you to understand mathematics needed in computer science schools(AFIR most are related to analysis and statistics in the first 2 years).

    Especially for quads, SCI is an expensive disease. Until researchers will come with a cure(if they will come in our lifetime) we have to live our life and for that we need money. A good education and degrees are the assurance for a good payed job.

    If is an Online university, they definitely have all the courses in a digital format.
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  6. #6
    para here too, so no direct experience--but I have heard that Mathtalk works as a voice-recognition software for mathematics.

    the problem seems to me that solving math problems is very nonlinear: you want to be able to back up, scratch out your answer, etc. Dictating to a live human might be the best thing for complicated problems. I have taken dictation from students with CP in my calculus course. They took longer to finish the exam but it seemed to work well. Sometimes the school permits dictation to peers also.

    anyone with personal experience here?

    Good luck!

  7. #7
    Before I was injured I was a scribe for students with disabilities. We were paid by the university as part of a Federal program. I was also a reader. To get approved you had to do tests, special ones for Math and Science because the dictation and reading process is harder for those subjects. One of the folks I read for was visually impaired, no vision at all. She had a computer program that read for her and also used the Library of Congress for books on tape. That program is available to individuals with physical disabilities as well. You need to get certified at your state level by your doctor. Once you have state certification you can qualify for Federal and use Library of Congress.

    I agree, scaned books are a good option but having a skilled scribe is also important.
    Every day I wake up is a good one

  8. #8
    Senior Member cypresss's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    C5 functional
    I think we all know about those genius/brilliant quads:Brooke Ellison[wikipedia] and Stephen Hawking[wikipedia]
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  9. #9
    Senior Member mr_coffee's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    I think the hardest part for you is going to be the repetition of it all. For me to really get good at the higher levels of math it took constant repetition to get a feel for how the problems are solved.

    I learn math by pattern matching and photographic memory but I can only apply the photographic memory/pattern matching if I constantly write it down. Then when I do the problems its kind of like looking at a cheat sheet. If I read about it or just see someone do the problem on the board its useless to me (thats why I stopped going to class :P )

    Figure out how you learn then work with the people at your university to see how they can accommodate you. If you can learn visually or by listening to lectures you will be in good shape if you can't write it yourself. Schools will go to the extreme to help their students. Some will video tape lectures even. I also agree with the above, .pdf versions of the book will help you a lot as well.
    Last edited by mr_coffee; 11-16-2009 at 12:59 PM.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Fragile's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    Southwest NM
    I'm a C-5 quad. Went to college for 5 semesters in the late 90's, the school provided a notetaker while in class. At home I wore a weight lifters glove that had a rubber-like material on the palm to turn pages. Don't know if it's still available, but used a program called Scientific Notebook to do homework.

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