dyslexia computers & software
Can computers help with dyslexic students?
A lot of dyslexic people say when they use a computer; ‘the written world opens up to them’. Computers are an essential part of classroom teaching. Although no computer package can ever be a substitute for proper instruction, the correct software packages can help and support the busy teacher. Many programs can be incorporated into a specialist-teaching scheme. They provide the essential over-learning, structured and systematic teaching, immediate reinforcement and feedback and the additional motivation that students require to succeed.
The advantage of instant feedback, 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 can help people with learning difficulties in lots of different ways:
* Learning to use databases and spreadsheets may aid sequential thinking and problem solving skills.
* Can motivate people, especially children.
* There is immediate reinforcement.
* Students have the ability to make and self-correct mistakes in private.
* Essential over leaning/reinforcement.
* Most computers can now be programmed to ‘speak to you’. This software could revolutionise foreign language learning. Programs with speech take learning truly multi-sensory computers.
* Can listen – ideas developed orally can be tried out and changed easily.
* Response is immediate.
* Students work at own pace.
* Printouts and text on a screen are often easier to read than their own writing.
* Reading and spelling are incorporated in nearly every program.
* The colours and brightness on computer screens can be adjusted.
Do I have to pay VAT for a laptop for my child?
The school will often allow students to use a laptop in class, but the parent may be asked to buy one. If the student gets DLA, you should not have to pay VAT on the purchases. However, the situation with the VAT office is very complicated, so I would urge you to look at Dyslexic.com.
Aids and Equipment for students with Dyslexia
There are so many computer aids and equipment for dyslexia that parents are often totally confused with what to purchase first. I have listed a selection of computer software, which is specifically designed to help students with dyslexia.
There are various software packages to help with dyslexia such as Word Prediction and Speech Synthesis software packages. These software packages can help if the only thing stopping a student getting the work down on paper is a physical problem. These programs do take a little getting used to, but at the end of the day, they save a lot of time, effort and frustration!
Voice Recognition Software
However, I think that a brilliant piece of software is the Voice Recognition Software (VRS), sometimes called Speech Recognition Software (SRS). One of the main leaders in the market is Nuance, publishers of, Dragon Naturally Speaking.
Dragon Naturally Speaking is so easy to use, and for the first time, students can do their homework without the usual stress levels that go along with it. While this takes a little getting used to, it is very much worth the effort. Have a look at the link below and see what you think?
Look at what the parent’s of a youngster said, as soon as their son, used this software:
“The first assignment our son wrote using Naturally Speaking was so amazing, we had trouble believing he’d written it himself! Being able to ‘talk’ his ideas into the computer allowed his words to flow easily from his mind to the word processor. He began, dare I say, ‘enjoying’ his writing assignments.”
Dragon Naturally Speaking – Look what the makers of Dragon have to say:
If you or your child has dyslexia, enough is enough. There’s no need to spend another minute using a keyboard or a mouse, struggling to get ideas into words.
With Dragon, you can just talk into your headset, and your words appear on the screen – instantly.
No more worrying about spelling – Dragon will take care of that for you. No more struggling with sentence structure either – for once, you get to just talk your ideas without anything getting in the way. You can even check what you’ve written with dictation playback.
With Dragon, writing up a homework assignment, report or email, is so much faster and easier. And because you can use Dragon to control your entire computer, you can use it to browse the web, update Facebook, shop online – and so much more.
(There is a lot more software available and will be added shortly.)
Spell checkers are brilliant, many of us use them every day and wouldn’t be without them, but the following poem shows that sometimes we should be cautious about them.
Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It (plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter-perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.
Voice Recognition Software – Dragon Naturally Speaking
This software is brilliant; further information is available at Nuance.co.uk
The British Association Technologies Committee
The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) now has a separate technology committee.
Further information can be found at: the: bdatech.org