Assistive Technology & Dyslexia

Danielle Foard -Assistive Technology & Dyslexia For some, dyslexia is defined as a condition resulting from neurological, maturational, and or genetic causes. Others such as psychologist believe dyslexia is a specific reading problem(s) that becomes evident and no reference to causation is given.

In the article “Reading, Writing, Frustration”, Sarah, a young sophomore girl in high school who suffers from “Classic” dyslexia, uses Assistive Technology (AT) to aide her in her academics. Her parents who were very concerned during Sarah’s childhood years noticed inconsistencies in her reading and writing skills. As a result, they invested over $1500.00 into batteries of test to find out why their brilliant daughter could not read at the level of her peers. Sarah continued to struggle through middle school and her first year in high school before her parents stumbled upon Assistive Technology. Her mother found a web site for “Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic” (a nonprofit organization that produces recordings of books and textbooks for people with visual impairments and learning disabilities (RFB&D)). After the first digital recordings (2000), Sarah instantly was excited and pleased. As a result, Sarah’s grades improved immensely as she continued to us AT. Sarah also used AT to for writing purposes and proofreading. Sarah actually had a program that would read back to her whatever she wrote.

Assistive Technology and various other technologies will continue to create opportunities for those who may be deficit in various aspects of life. Other programs and software that were mentioned in the article are as follows:

Speech recognition software translates speech into text. Programs include Dragon Naturally Speaking and Simply Speaking.
• Word prediction programs anticipate a word that a user intends to type. WordQ, for example, suggests words and provides spoken feedback to help users find mistakes.
• Screen readers read aloud typed words. Some also read aloud from books and other printed material once they have been scanned into a computer. Computerized, portable "pens" can help dyslexics with certain words or phrases. Users run the "pen" over a word or phrase, and the device reads it out loud.
• Talking electronic spell-checkers allow users to enter words by how they sound and then read the correct spelling out loud.