Technology

Dyslexia and Technology

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.


Dyslexia and Computer Software

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 be ‘speak to you’.  Programs with speech take learning truly multi-sensory.
* 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 you may be asked to purchase it yourself.

If the student gets DLA or PIP, you should not have to pay VAT on this purchase. However, the situation with the VAT office is very complicated, so I would urge you to contact the people at Dyslexic.com (they are extremely helpful).


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 foremost 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.”

Zac C.

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

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.

‘Spell Checker’

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

Dyslexia and Voice Recognition Software (VRS)
Can it help people with dyslexia, dysgraphia and other Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD’s)?

Voice Recognition Software’ (VRS), which is sometimes called ‘Speech Recognition’ (SR), is a brilliant tool for anyone, whether they have a learning difficulty or not. However, for the student who has problems physically getting his / her work on paper, it is set to revolutionise the way we teach and the way students are taught.

A few years ago, VRS, got a bad name when some companies were selling software which quite honestly wasn’t really up to the mark. Nowadays, with companies, such as Dragon Naturally Preferred and ViaVoice, etc. students just cannot lose. This software is easy to master and work exceptionally well for students who know what they want to write but have physical problems getting down on paper.

Today some of this software is independently tested to be 99% accurate and is so easy to learn that even a child can do it with maybe just a little help.

This software works by ‘talking’ to your computer. As you talk, the words are written on the computer screen – and they are spelt correctly. (No more confusion with is it ‘there, their, or they’re’, the computer can tell which one to use because of the grammar (words) you are using. This type of software helps to improve spelling because the student always sees the correctly spelt words. The computer types up exactly what you say. The golden rule is, when you record your voice to speak in your normal voice, stressing ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘and’ etc.’, but not in a robotic voice as we obviously do not speak like that every day.

If you are going to use this software to do your studies etc., it may help if you just gave a few minutes thought to how you want your ‘homework’, essay, thesis to be.

It is usually best to jot down a few notes first.  With very young children I show them how to draw, what is mostly a ‘mind map’, using a ‘spider’.  For older student’s  a mind map is essential to ensure you get all your thoughts down on paper, and then retrieve them when you need to.  You can purchase excellent programmes for this and two are Inspiration and MindGenius.

Two of the most convenient Voice Recognition Software packages, I have found, are:

Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 – Adult). This easy to use speech solution allows you to create, edit and revise documents without using a keyboard. For further information from ‘REM’.

Via Voice Pro (7 – Adult) – enables the user to create, edit and revise documents, integrated with Microsoft Word – all without using a keyboard and it’s easy to use. For further information from ‘REM’.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

• Talk to your computer and watch your spoken words appear in documents, email and IM’s
• Your voice is turned into text three times faster than most people type
• It learns to recognise your voice instantly, and continually improves the more you use it
• Most accurate version ever, delivering up to 99% accuracy with no spelling errors
• Easier than ever to use: Dragon NaturallySpeaking installs quickly and requires no special script reading
• Use your voice to dictate and edit in virtually any Windows application
• Browse the Internet: search the Internet, access information, navigate Web pages – all by voice
• Surf the Web just by speaking within Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and AOL and more
• New on-screen help and tutorials will make you an expert user in no time
• Works the way you work: add names, addresses and other words to your custom vocabulary
• New Quick Voice Formatting allows formatting and editing your dictated text in record time
• Control menus and dialogue boxes by voice in virtually any Microsoft Windows application
• Protect yourself: reduce the risk of developing repetitive strain injury by talking instead of typing
• Dragon NaturallySpeaking products have won more than 175 awards worldwide for accuracy and ease-of-use

Dyslexia and Typing
Typing Packages
There are many different types of typing packages on the market. I have listed several of them below.

Dyslexie
A Dutch designer has come up with an innovative way to help people with dyslexia.
Christian Boer is developing a new typeface, called Dyslexie, which he hopes will make it easier for people suffering from the learning disability to read.

People with dyslexia tend to mix up letters, especially ones that look similar, such as ‘p’ and ‘q’. Boer says font designers have compounded the problem by creating typefaces based on aesthetic appeal rather than readability.

The font Dyslexie combats this problem by making changes to easily rotated or inverted letters. For instance, letters are bolded on the underside, the ascender or descender of a letter is lengthened so the difference between the letter ‘h’ and the letter ‘n’, for example, is exaggerated.

Dyslexia - Useful Aids and Equipment

There are too many useful aids and equipment to help with dyslexia, to put on one page, so I have split them into categories below:


I have listed a few of my favourite useful aids below:


Voice Recognition Software – Dragon Naturally Preferred
Just speak and it types – Absolutely great.
This software is wonderful for all ages, but particularly from seven years upwards. Some years ago, this would have costs some thousands of pounds, now look at the price. It is really good for students struggling to get their work down on paper. Mosts schools will let children do their homework on this software now and eventually, I think we will all stop writing all together.
This is extremely good value for money.


Franklin_DictionaryPagemark™ Dictionary

Specially designed to slot between the pages of a book, this slim format dictionary contains the entire contents of the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, providing definitions and phrases to over 145,000 words.
145,000 word Dictionary
Ultra thin bookmark format – slides easily into any book
Phonetic spell-correction

Create your own Study List
Confusables
Databank for 50 names and numbers
Time and date function with local and world time
Calculator
Metric and currency convertor

Quicktionary Reading Pen (Oxford Dictionary)
Reading_Pen_Oxford_Edition
Designed specifically for people with dyslexia who require support with reading, the Reading Pen is an ideal tool to help with reading words that the user can’t spell, pronounce or comprehend. The Reading Pen promotes independent and inclusive learning as it reduces the need for additional support; in other words students and adults can continue reading and studying without asking for help from colleagues or teachers. Available from: Iansyst, website:dyslexic.com.

Grotto_grip

GROTTO GRIP 5 PACK

Finally, a grip with all the ‘write’ features – Developed and tested by pediatric occupational therapists specializing in handwriting. Writing is fifty percent of literacy, this product will help your child be all they can be.

‘I am a teacher and the occupational therapist at our school recommended this pencil grip for a few of my students. It works really well in training their hand to hold the pencil correctly. It is a little bit large, but I find it helps students hold the pencil correctly. For my kindergarten student, I need to remind him how to hold it and watch that he tucks his middle finger under correctly. I very much recommend this grip’.
By Music Fan “Jess”, Amazon

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.