Teaching computer basics to an adult with an undiagnosed learning disability?

I've been tasked with teaching a coworker of mine computer basics. She is completely computer illiterate, so we're talking incredibly basic. She also has an undiagnosed learning or intellectual disability. She is an incredibly hard worker, and as such, has managed to get a master's degree and maintain an upper-level education-based job; however, she struggles with retaining new information in a way that makes is very difficult to build on previously taught knowledge, and her complete unfamiliarity with computer jargon and language makes it difficult to give instructions. I've decided that I need to start with basic language and terminology (like "Dropdown Menu" and "email attachment"), but I am struggling to recognize what terminology I know because of my use of computers versus what terminology is part of daily speech. All the resources I have found for "Basic" computer terminology include hardware and network terms. Those kinds of things heavily confuse her, and she doesn't like to ask questions if she feels like she should already know the answer (common in professionally successful undiagnosed adults; it helps them avoid unfair stigmas so they can move through the professional realm). She is also unlikely to ever move past basic computer usage. It's unnecessary for her. Does anyone have any suggestions for resources that are GENUINELY basic in (Apple) computer terminology and/or that help adults with intellectual or learning disabilities strengthen recall? Thank you!

2 Answers

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  • Elaine
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago
    Best answer

    I don't know what resources are available but you need to define what your aims and objectives are. Is it to teach your co-worker how to use a computer? Is it to teach her computer jargon? If the purpose is teaching how to use a computer then here a few tips.

    1) Start with a word processing program.

    2) Have your co-worker type some text.

    3) You then pick one of the menus such as font type. You then have your student select this menu.

    4) You show how to change the font type then have your student try it. You keep repeating the same exercise until it is mastered.

    5) You then select another topic in the same menu such as font size.

    6) Repeat Steps 4 & 5.

    7) Go to the File menu and show your student how to save on a CD or on the computer hard drive itself. and exit

    8) Have your student open the text which was saved.

    9) You keep repeating the same exercises for each menu and its subtopic.

    For each lesson have your student take hand written notes for future reference.

    As for computer jargon and technology keep it at a simple level. Most users don't care about the MHz, the type of chips, bytes and bits, etc..

    10) Once the word processing has been relatively mastered you can then go on and do the same exercises with the spreadsheet.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Elaine is right that what you teach should come in a context that's meaningful to your student. Don't expect her to just memorize terminology. Instead work with her on something that she wants or needs to do. and use the term "dropdown menu" several times, modeling what that means first. And then giving the instruction with her responding. I don't know what makes you think she has an undiagnosed learning disability, but she probably learns better by responding with physical actions rather than listening or reading. No book is going to tell you what terms she needs to know. That needs to come from the work she needs to get done.

    • hollyb4 weeks agoReport

      The goal with terms wasn't actually to get her to memorize. My aim with terms is to create a "pocket guide" to side-step her retention struggles & help me know which computer words she won't know due to lack of retention & exposure. I can't help her if I speak a different language.

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