dyslexia a2 z – Computers, Software & VRS – Introduction
Computers – Dyslexia & Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD‘s)
In the UK, approximately *75% of the population has access to a computer, if not at home, at school, college, library etc. Computers are absolutely vital for people with dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD’s), to at least help them to have a level playing field with the rest of the population.
*Ofcom Study Ipsos/Mori 2009
Can computers help with dyslexic students?
Computers are an important part of classroom teaching. Although no computer package can ever be a substitute for good teaching, the correct software packages can help and support the busy teacher. Many programs can be incorporated into a specialist-teaching scheme. They provide over learning, structured and systematic teaching, immediate reinforcement and feedback, and the additional motivation that students require to succeed.
The advantage of instant feedback and the possibility of echoing each letter name, each word, each sentence of any marked section of text, as well as reading through, helps the student with poor short-term memory and ensures an efficient transfer to long-term memory – making learning fun. Software packages can provide structured learning, continually developing skills and providing support for literacy and numeracy.
Computers, Laptops, ‘Tablets’ ‘iPhones’ or any other handheld Computer device
Laptops, ‘tablets’, or other handheld device are the most popular computers these days because of their size. They can range from just £225. Most computers in this range incorporate speakers and sound cards (i.e. multimedia) that make it ideal for specialist educational software, (although I have to say that the sound & graphic cards (that’s the bits inside the computers) are not the best ones in the world and it may be worth paying more, about £500, if you can afford it).
(Touch screen computers)
These computers look like any other monitor but they work by simply touching the screen with your hands. They are very useful in identifying and assessing children (of three years plus) for early signs of specific learning difficulties.
Keyboards – for nursery/Key Stage 1 children (or children with dyspraxia)
BigKeys is a starter keyboard and has a lower-case keyboard. It has been designed for nursery/Key Stage 1 children and it has a colourful and uncluttered layout in the traditional ‘qwerty’ style. All unnecessary keys are removed or hidden. The very large keys are colour coded – vowels are yellow, ‘r’ is red, ‘b’ is blue, etc – further aiding letter recognition. This beginner’s keyboard makes an excellent start before changing to the standard keyboard. It is very easy to use; no software needed – just plug in and go. An excellent choice for very young children. Further information from ‘KeyTools’.
The hands-free computer
Hands-free computers use neither screen, keyboard nor mouse. Hand movements control them in mid-air. The ‘virtual computer’ is used in some offices and operating theatres. Hand movements in mid-air are picked up by cameras coupled to pattern recognition software and used to control the computer in the same way as a mouse does. These systems cost more than conventional computers. However, there use for people with disabilities is infinite.
Please don’t take your old computer to the tip – Give them to a local charity
Anyone getting rid of your old computers please consider there are usually charities in your area that will pick them up from you and service them and give them to people who can’t afford one. Don’t worry, because they will give you a guarantee that your personal details will be deleted before the computer is given away. What a brilliant idea! It’s a ‘win, win’ situation! You get rid of your old ones and people make use of them – Really Green.