In most cases, the brain is often used for facilitating the transfer of genes from one generation to the next. As such, most humans associate brains with producing behaviors which are regarded as innate (Goldstein & Brockmole, 2016). These innate behaviors may include eating, fighting, and mating among others. Apart from interpreting the environment, brains have evolved to identify various meaningful patterns. The patterns may range from learning and memorize to acting adaptively. Furthermore, specific adaptations such as expressing the selective biases present in the physical world including natural images and sounds may often be statistically perceived as a form of learning.
Regarding the concept, the main aim of this paper is to look at how learning or sensation and perception are enhanced by people with specific disabilities such as blindness or deafness. Moreover, it will also focus on the stability of memories and how it can be distributed across a system whose elements experience constant remodeling. When looking at this regarding perceptual learning, the brain plays a fundamental role in expressing the statistics of the physical world. The reason for this is because it contains two main types of cells, neurons, and glia (support cells). Despite the many fundamental roles associated with glia, the neurons are considered to be essential since they can transfer information and process it. Also, they transfer various forms of energy such as photons, pressure, and chemical binding among others into an electrical signal.
The process of Self-Evaluation and Reflection upon Learning
Many go through different cycles of life by viewing their experiences as events which are isolated and unrelated. This term is often referred to as "episodic grasp of reality." To illustrate, people tend not to associate these experiences as part of the learning process (Motta, 2016). Despite the avoidance of passing these habits to future generations, reflection may act as a source whereby it can assist in the process of deriving and constructing meaningful purposes from experiences of different individuals.
Reflection in learning is composed of many aspects. For instance, when one reflects on work experience, the result would focus on the importance of work. As such, when people reflect on their experiences, they create the awareness that is required to gain meaningful insight and complex for learning purposes. Also, reflection may also consist of a current experience which might be linked to previous experiences. This kind of process is often termed as 'scaffolding.'
Perceptual Learning: Deafness and Blindness
Perceptions towards disabilities such as deafness and blindness have significantly varied from one generation to another over the years. The history of disability has always experienced limitation due to lack of development and formation of perceptions towards people with disabilities (Proulx, Brown, Pasqualotto, & Meijer, 2014). As generally observed, the acceptance of people with disabilities within a particular society is not wholly dependent on financial resources or technical know-how. For instance, many European countries such as Denmark and Sweden tend to accept people with disabilities more in comparison to other countries like the United States. Furthermore, such countries also had the capability of providing people with disabilities effective services of rehabilitation while accepting equal social responsibility without regard to the disability condition, or to the extent of the condition.
When putting this concept into practice in the field of education, the perceptions of children and adults with disabilities towards learning has experienced significant changes. As such, the challenges addressed have been taken into consideration whereby all institutions can accommodate people with disabilities. According to the 1993 U.N Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (1993), such an opportunity is prevalent in all countries (Proulx, Brown, Pasqualotto, & Meijer, 2014). As it mentions, "States should recognize the principle of equal primary, secondary and tertiary educational opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities in integrated settings.
The Sensory-Cognition Interface
The sensory-cognition interface tends to consider different kinds of experimental deprivation and how they relate to cognitive development. In multisensory processing, most submissions are based on whether the absence of one sensory modality affects the processing that occurs in another (Dye & Pascalis, 2017). It was observed that on the peripheral visual field, perceptual changes could be induced by deafness or sign language. For instance, it is confirmed that deaf singers can perform better in comparison to hearing and non-hearing singers in a forced choice task. This experiment proves that in peripherally presented stimuli, sign language acquisition alone does not determine or change the peripheral vision when compared to deafness.
According to various researches that have been carried out at auditory spatial localization, cognition in both children and adults in institutions with blind or low vision were more susceptible to visual experience in their learning capacities (Bogdashina, 2016). This is as a result of the development of domain-general spatial cognition, in which, early visual experience plays a profound role. Individuals with early blind, but not late blind, often experience difficulties in identifying the auditory motion paths. As such, if they succeed in any possible way, their ability to reproduce shapes in their locomotion will be limited.
Most deafblind individuals experience some form of residual vision or hearing. In most cases, the narrow-angle of vision is considered as an important sense since it can be used for manual communication. The remaining audition may slightly be facilitated through identity and localization mechanisms (Ostry & Gribble, 2016). Furthermore, echolocation may also be used to enhance a narrow frequency range in hearing even if the range is not applicable to speech communication. Also, the kinesthetic and tactile senses may play a profound role in the effective movement. Spatial memory representations tend to support theses senses enabling individuals to walk through areas which may be familiar.
The Impact of Visual Impairment on Development and Learning
When visual impairment is experienced from a congenital (birth) perspective, the impact will be more significant in comparison to adventitious stage or later on in life (McLinden & McCall, 2016). Visual impairment may affect all aspects of development. As such, in a social developmental viewpoint, children can often encounter limited eye contact and non-verbal clues. In turn, this may create a negative impact in their social interactions as they may appear disinterested or experience unsustainability regarding the connections they make. Also, their motor development may be less motivated due to the inability to explore the environment and materials required for cognitive development.
The acquisition of language may also be affected by the loss of vision. As such, in most cases, the active interaction can be limited due to the limitations experienced within the environment as well as people (McLinden & McCall, 2016). Furthermore, the development of language may delay as there is insufficient independence among the activities involved in daily living and learning through observation. As Berthold Lowenfeld pointed out, three basic limitations are experienced as a result of blindness. These include loss of range and variety of experiences, loss of locomotive abilities, and lack of environmental control and the self in relation to it. These restrictions often limit the individual to relying on the remaining senses for relating and learning about the world. Thus, students with visual impairments must be placed on special experiences for them to make sense of what is being taught. Furthermore, teachers are required to equip them with the necessary training and skills by engaging them in active exploration with concrete materials.
Visual Movement Perception in Deaf and Hearing Individuals
Many changes tend to be observed as a result of altered sensory experiences in the perception of visual motion. When considering this regarding the human experience, the evidence that comes from observed behavioral patterns is less visible regarding the perception of motion (Iversen, Patel, Nicodemus, & Emmorey, 2015). In response to stimulation of intact sensory modalities, the observable auditory complex activation in both deaf humans and animals supports a cross-modal plasticity hypothesis. Regarding this concept, the lack of information in one sense may activate the intact modalities such as vision and touch, thus, allowing information to be processed in the deprived cortical area.
In cases involving human deafness, the process of visual and tactile information is enhanced in the auditory complex. Deaf humans tend to experience behavioral improvement within the neutral substrate as a result of the cross-modal reorganization of the auditory cortex (Iversen, Patel, Nicodemus, & Emmorey, 2015). Furthermore, many types of research have also shown that static visual stimuli enhance performance in deaf individuals when compared to detection using hearing controls. Specific behavioral changes such as enhanced peripheral vision due to neural changes in the retinal structure may occur on deaf individuals. Thus, these specific retinal adaptations are greatly involved in visual motion areas and cross-modal realignment of the deprived auditory cortex.
The Development of Education for Deaf-Blind People
The assessment of learning for deaf-blind people is often associated with the process involved in learning rather than the outcome (Doolittle, 2014). The placement of a deaf-blind child in school usually depends on the opinions suggested by different professionals. The reason for this is because this kind of disability embodies an extremely low incidence. Children who are deaf-blind may relate to specific models of learning which are particularly relevant regarding their complex needs or style of learning. These models include Piaget's model, Vygotsky's model, learning theory, dynamic systems, and information processing.
This type of model primarily relates to how interactions and activities with objects can allow children to move through the stages of development (Saxe, 2015). According to Piaget, the sequence of typical development is usually determined by the primary existence of a positive environment. As such, the assessment of the developmental stage is conducted by observing how a child interacts with certain objects. For visually impaired children, the developmental process may be slow due to their blindness thus additional help may be required.
For Vygotsky, assessment plays an important role in the joint process. Assessment helps in developing language and thought for a child with deafness (Saxe, 2015). The term 'mediating learning' implies an important factor which associates itself with success rather than direct chance encounters related to objects within a specific environment. Similarly, an 'intervenor' is also considered to be significant in terms of interpreting and preparing the environment necessary for the learning process to take place by a deaf-blind child.
As stated in the learning theory, positive reinforcement of certain behaviors is required for children to learn either externally or internally. These reinforcements also encourage repetitive behavioral patterns thus making it an integral part of the child's repertoire.
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