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May 12, 2005
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Can Biology Based Learning Assist Non-Verbals in Career Selection? - By K
Biology Based Learning is an exciting new field applying the scientific
understanding of how the brain is wired to the rest of the body to how it processes
information in learning. A new area of application is currently being developed
which seeks to use this knowledge to assist non-verbals in career selection and
improve work flow design.
Case History 1
George is a student at a special needs high school in Christchurch, New Zealand.
He was brought for career counseling by his teachers because he had reached the
age where he should be leaving school, but because he was so unresponsive, they
did not know what options to present him. George was perceived as unresponsive because
he always slumped over with his head down. Actually George was doing exactly what
he needed to do to process information because he only receives it through his right
ear. Having discovered this, we demonstrated to his teachers that when we spoke
to his right ear, he did respond. George subsequently went on to practice answering
phones in his work shop classes. He was very proud of this and as long as he was
not required to take written messages, he did very well.
Case History 2
Catherine is an Intellectually Disabled client in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Catherine is a receptionist who has never been trusted with filing because she always
gets it all mixed up. Catherine was given a biology-based learning test and it revealed
that she processes information mainly through her right eye. With this knowledge,
Catherine?s work station was redesigned so that the main flow of information came
to her from the right. She was taught to file from Z to A instead of A to Z and
has become quite proficient at it. When instructions are presented to her in reverse
sequential order, she does quite well. For example, if you would like Catherine
to put 5 cheque books in particular pigeon holes by the end of the day, you would
present the information as follows:
1. Catherine, by the end of the day, I would like these 5 cheque books to be
in these pigeon holes.
2. Before you can do that, they must be recorded on this computer file. This
is how you do it.
3. Before you can do that, they need to be recorded in this special book.
4. Before you can do that, they need to be date stamped.
5. Before you can do that, they need to be taken out of the mail bag.
Because Catherine processes information mainly through her right eye, she was
advised that Reception was not a particularly good career choice for her. She was
encouraged to aim for clerical work instead. Catherine is currently learning to
type and is proud to say that she is currently typing at 20 wpm with 90% accuracy.
All of her managers report they have never seen Catherine function at such a high
level, noting marked improvement in confidence and competence. Well done Catherine.
Catherine?s career alternatives were based on the following biology based learning
results which I then interpreted using my knowledge of the skills required for the
jobs she was interested in:
IF brain = right
AND eye = left
AND ear = right
AND hand = right
AND leg = right
THEN Receptionist = NO
AND Secretary = YES
The Biology Based Learning test employed took 5 minutes to administer. With that
information, decisions were made on work space design, information processing and
career alternatives. More research needs to be done in this new application to determine
if biology based learning can assist non-verbals in career selection.
? 2003 By K Tate
K Tate of Career Alternatives is
experienced with people from all walks of life and cultures, including non-verbals
and intellectually disabled. Her unique skills combine biology based learning (how
the brain is wired to the rest of the body and how this affects career choice, work
tasks, study and information processing) with cross-cultural communication and specialised
skills for survivors of violent crimes. She participates in the Career Practitioners
Association of New Zealand, and has over ten years experience providing career and
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