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Children and young people with disabilities: Breaking new grounds and bridging information worlds

Dania Bilal, Mary Grace Flaherty, Dana Hanson Baldauf and Bharat Mehra

(Submission #194)


The nature of the 21st century digital environment requires that every citizen become an independent learner equipped with effective information literacy skills (e.g., abilities to identify an information need, master available sources, investigate, seek, drive meaning, evaluate, and use information ethically, critically, and independently) ( ningStandards.pdf). In today’s digital age, children and young people with cognitive disabilities and other special needs should possess knowledge and information skills that can help them learn and master the complex and heterogeneous information environment. Although in the last two decades, we have gained much knowledge and understanding of the fact that children are not simply “short” adults and that their information behaviors and interaction with information retrieval systems (IRs) do vary from those of adults (Bilal, 2000; Bilal & Kirby, 2002), we are yet to learn about the information behavior of children and young adults with learning disabilities. What are the characteristic of these young users’ information behavior? How does their behavior vary from that of “typical” counterparts of young users? How well are existing IRs supportive of these users’ information seeking, needs, and use, and what challenges and issues researchers confront in working with and/or exploring the behavior of this population of special needs? In this panel, a team of four researchers and scholars will report on research projects that have broken not only new grounds of research in this area of study, but also employed innovative and uncommon methodologies to reach out to these young users.


Program Track:  Track 1 - Information Behaviour
Submission Type:  Panel Proposal

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