Learning Disability Accommodations

Admittedly, I really struggle with written instructions. I have a hard time visualizing them (dyscalculia) and I can’t parse what I’m being asked to do, especially if I feel like the instructions and the task don’t align.

I know this is a mind numbingly easy task (I’ve been using php in WordPress for 10 years) but I got stuck because I hit a cognitive roadblock. Turns out, for years I’ve been accommodating for my dyscalculia with the WP codex. I could copy and paste examples, fill in parameters with options, and I didn’t need to write my own syntax, or even understand all of the pieces at play. But now I can’t work with PHP on it’s own - I need those WP functions to function, apparently. So I’m coming back to learning this and realizing that dyscalculia makes this kind of material difficult to internalize.

The classical introductory exercise. Just say “Hello, World!”.

“Hello, World!” is the traditional first program for beginning programming in a new language or environment.

The objectives are simple:

Write a function that returns the string “Hello, World!”.

Run the test suite and make sure that it succeeds.
Submit your solution and check it at the website.
If everything goes well, you will be ready to fetch your first real exercise.

So the problem here is it says “Write a function” and I was using the online editor and it had a function already for Goodbye something. And I couldn’t understand…like it took me a dumb amount of time just to replace the “Goodbye” string with Hello World, because I thought I was supposed to write something new.

Also - I just echo’d out the hello world in my attempt because…that’s a function? Isn’t it? It does the thing…anyway. For those with learning disabilities, just some “stating the obvious” clarity would be nice.

I also just ran into similar hiccups in the second exercise, and feel bad about my 13 years as a web developer. “Classes” came out nowhere, huh? Why don’t some of these variable declarations end in a semi colon? What does → actually mean?

Don’t misunderstand me - these are REALLY good lessons and I’m very impressed with this setup, and I do think it’ll work for me. But some of us get the question on the test and immediately ask a question about the question and can’t move forward, you know? As much clarity as possible can prevent that.

Side note, unrelated to the main topic here.

The instructions read,

Write a function that returns the string “Hello, World!”.

You can write the string to STDOUT with echo. You can write it to a file. You could convert it to audio and play it. Those are all functions. But none of those returns a string.

For a starting point, it sure would be nice to go over the absolute basics, even what “return” means.

After going through lesson 2 and looking at lesson 3, I am abandoning this course. It had typos, so I can’t trust the syntax, the task made NO sense, had no idea why I went from “Hello, World” to writing a class, I had to look at all of the other answers just to understand what I was supposed to do and even then I was still like - how is this beginner basics? And the third with the ASCII heart…I’m out. The only strings that entire assignment in there were the names of the people, and I don’t even think it explicitly said that.

I’m frustrated and tired of feeling like I’m stupid because I don’t understand the lessons.

I presume you are doing the PHP track. I wonder if you are doing the practice mode, and if it has a learning mode. I do not believe that the learning track will be up to the task (yet), but the practice track will surely feel like you describe, disjointed, and jumping around, since it is for practice, not necessarily focused on teaching.

Depending on which side of things you are doing will help identify what it means to be “the third exercise”, hopefully after that we can see what the typographical errors are, and at least get that worked out.

I really do appreciate the feedback on this, as it does seem strange that we would say that you have to write a function when we already wrote that function, instead of stating that you must fix that function that we wrote that is “broken”.

ASCII heart is likely Highschool Sweethearts in PHP on Exercism. That’s also the third exercise on the track overview which makes the second exercise the mentioned likely Lucian's Luscious Lasagna in PHP on Exercism. That exercise involves a class where you need to add functions.