Catasauqua Press

Monday, November 20, 2017
contributed photoNick and Sam Uliana study the new audio manual. contributed photoNick and Sam Uliana study the new audio manual.

Audio version of drivers manual available

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 by CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE in Local News

Two parents, with the help of state Sen. Patrick M. Browne, R-16th, and the cooperation of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), have successfully achieved a victory for teens with dyslexia. PennDOT has released an audio version of the Pennsylvania Drivers Manual.

By making the driver’s manual available in an audio form, Pennsylvania will allow potential drivers with dyslexia and other reading issues to access the driver manual in a way that takes into account their learning issues.

This initiative was begun by two parents, Daphne Uliana and Kathleen Hartos, both of whom had the experience of helping teens with dyslexia prepare for the driver test. Uliana enlisted the help of her two sons, Nick and Sam, while on spring break in 2016 to look up all 50 states’ manuals to find how many states had an audio version already online. Pennsylvania has joined 15 other states, including New York and California, in providing an audio version of the drivers manual.

“My son studied for the exam by taking the practice test online numerous times, and although he passed the test, he does not fully know or understand the driving laws in Pennsylvania,” said Uliana, who lives in Northampton County.

Hartos, who is both a parent and tutor of dyslexia children, saw similar issues with one of her students.

“I saw the struggles my student had while he was preparing for his learner’s permit,” Hartos, of Allegheny County, said. “He would have benefited from access to audio assistance, which enhances comprehension of the driver’s manual content for all individuals of driving age in our state who struggle with specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia. Additionally, even those with low literacy skills and English language learners benefit.”

Dyslexia is a lifelong neurological condition that makes reading difficult. It is the most common learning disability and affects 15 to 20 percent of the population. Most dyslexics have an average to high IQ. Dyslexia can cause problems with reading comprehension, spelling, writing and math.

The audio version of the Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual is available on PennDOT’s website, dmv.pa.gov/Driver-Services/Driver-Licensing/Pages/PA-Driver’s-Manual---Audio-Version.aspx.

Both Hartos and Uliana are members of the Pennsylvania Dyslexia Literacy Coalition, an all-volunteer coalition of parent advocates and education professionals working to raise awareness of dyslexia and improve literacy for all children. Visit pennadlc.org for more information.