Online Support Seen for Youths With Learning Disabilities
Used correctly, the Internet can be a safe place for young people with learning disabilities to get support, according to a recent study that looked at their online messages.
Researchers gathered youths’ voices from the Sparktop.org Web site run by the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, of San Mateo, Calif., to look into what they called the “virtual, but authentic” voices of young people who identify themselves as having a learning disability. The site offers resources for children and adolescents with learning difficulties and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The researchers did not know the identities of the 164 youths, ages 9 to 18, whom they studied. However, by combing through close to 5,000 e-mail messages the users in the study exchanged among themselves, other users, and animated fictionalized characters who are set up on the site as “teen mentors,” researchers were able to identify common themes, said Marshall H. Raskind, the director of research and special projects for the foundation, which also sponsors Schwab Learning, an...
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