Aug 242014

Why Use Dysgraphia Assistive Technology for Writing?

Whether your child has dysgraphia, ADHD, or Executive Functioning deficits, writing can be quite difficult for a child with a learning disability. It causes problems with handwriting, spelling and written expression on paper.

Writing is a difficult activity because it involves all of the following:

  1. Fine motor activity such as holding and using a pen,
  2. Gross motor control in maintaining a stable and appropriate posture,
  3. Mental processing and recall of word structures involved in spelling,
  4. Mental recall and application of punctuation and grammar,
  5. Mental processing and working memory used for building sentences, and
  6. The ability to perform all of the tasks above simultaneously at a speed fast enough to get thoughts written down on paper.

Learners with dysgraphia, ADHD, or Executive Functioning deficits find it highly challenging to accomplish all that is needed to write effective compositions without using assistive technology. If you’re interested in other strategies for Writing, be sure to check out other Assistive Technology for Dysgraphia and Writing Disabilities too!

Fortunately, to the relief of many parents and learning abled kids, assistive technology can rescue your child from his writing difficulties!

Battle tested dictation software is available at affordable prices, THANKFULLY!

Benefits of Using Dictation Software to Overcome Dysgraphia

For kids with dysgraphia, ADHD, or Executive Functioning deficits, writing by hand can be a dreaded task.

In most cases kids with specific learning disabilities that affect writing end up producing work that does not reflect their true ability to express themselves. The child’s conversational skills often demonstrate a much higher level of thinking than the child’s written work.

With assistive technology, a child can concentrate on what he wants to say and let the dictation software complete the words-to-paper portion of the writing task.

Dictation software transcribes your child’s natural speech as he speaks. Taking the hand-written component out of writing can transform a child’s hatred of writing into a much more enjoyable task.

With dictation software, your child can boost his creativity, speak with his naturally robust vocabulary, and organize his thoughts much more easily better.

Additionally, your child can easily see spelling errors and correct his own mistakes since most dictation software programs work with word processors that have a built-in spell-checking and grammar checking features.

Because kids with dysgraphia typically have illegible handwriting, having a transcribed speech-to-text composition is more legible than the handwritten. When a child has reached his teens and still has poor handwriting, it is critical for him to be able to present legible papers if he plans to go to college.

In college, virtually all papers are typed, so it is an additional benefit for your child to be able to use dictation software to create lengthy college papers.

For kids with ADHD, having to hold a composition in mind for any length of time before it gets written on paper is an invitation for intruding thoughts that make your child forget what he was going to write. Dictation software lets your child get his thoughts on paper almost as fast as he can say them, which enables him to write before he forgets what he was going to say.

Children with Executive Functioning deficits often have overlooked errors in spelling and punctuation. While dictation software won’t be a cure all for overlooking errors, it does help minimize them. Additionally, the software will allow your child to get ideas on paper as he organizes them in his mind, which can help with the organization and planning component of written assignments.

SO, teaching your child to use dictation software can ease struggles with written school work.

Click to See dictation software prices on AmazonDysgraphia Assistive Technology

How Does Dictation Software Work?

Dictation software works on the basis of recording a person’s voice, recognizing the syntax and phonology, and then converting words to text using a set of rules. This magical process uses voice recognition logic built into the software.

The program requires use of a microphone and speakers.

Dictation Software can be integrated into word processors, file explorers, email programs, internet browsers, etc. so that your child can also use the program in many instances where typing would be required.

Depending on the severity of your child’s dysgraphia, he may experience relative ease or difficulty in using the dictation software.

How Easy is it For Your Child to Use Dictation Software?

Elementary children may not speak with proper pauses or emphasis, which may make the dictation software misinterpret the child’s dictation. Generally speaking, dictation software is more difficult for young children to use than it is for teens to use.

Speech-language difficulties also make dictation software susceptible to recording errors caused by word repetition, poor pronunciation, or misspoken words.

However, if your child is a well-spoken middle or high school level learner, he’ll probably find the software relatively easy to use. Knowing how to use dictation software in college can enable a student to really impress professors with great papers!

Which Dictation Software Program is Best for My Child?

There are a number of dictation software options in the market today. While most of them support speech to text conversions, there are notable market leaders that are user friendly, cost effective, and compatible with core applications (like word processors). Some of the top products in the market today include:

Dragon Naturally SpeakingDysgraphia Assistive Technology by Nuance: is probably the most popular and well-known dictation software that converts speech-to-text. It offers users voice controlled punctuation, correction, and editing features. The program is one of the best “out of the box,” but it does require some voice training to accurately transcribe a user’s words.

Dragon Dictate for MacDysgraphia Assistive Technology: This program offers the same features as Dragon Naturally Speaking for Windows, but it is built for Mac computers.

Windows Vista: If you happen to have Windows Vista, that operating system offers built-in speech recognition software. However, its features are less accurate and not as robust as other products’. If you want to give dictation software a trial run, this is a great place to start. However, if your child will be using dictation software regularly as assistive technology, products built specifically for this purpose will probably serve your needs better. 😉

Dictation: This is a free, online speech recognition option offered by Google Chrome. When your child goes to this page, he can dictate into the computer microphone and there is a note window that will show what has been dictated. Your child would then have to copy and paste the dictated text into his document. This is a workable, free solution if you don’t want to spend the money for a Dragon product that will work with most computer programs like word processors, web browsers, notepad, etc.

Click to See dictation software prices on AmazonDysgraphia Assistive Technology

Inspire Writing Creativity in Your Child by Using Assistive Technology

In most cases, children with dysgraphia are average to above average students who can perform better and achieve academic excellence if they are taught to use assistive technology interventions early in their academic careers.

If your child speaks eloquently, but writes simplistically, getting and using dictation software can open up a world of written creativity for your child.

Which is better? Lighting a candle to see or stubbing your toe in the dark? Brighten your child’s educational future with dictation software!

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Oct 212013

Your Child’s Key to Great Writing: Assistive Technology for Dysgraphia and Writing Disabilities

When your child child has dysgraphia, he may have GREAT ideas and a lot to say. However, it is very difficult for your child to get his ideas written down.

As a result, a lot of kids with dysgraphia or specific writing disabilities often write simple, short sentences. Additionally, your child’s writing may be difficult to read due to letter spacing problems, spelling difficulties, or the amount of information that is left out of his composition.

Check out the assistive technology for dysgraphia and writing disabilities to enable your child’s writing while you develop your child’s written expression skills.  If you’re interested in helping your child overcome his written expression difficulties, the information about remediating dysgraphia on the website may be of help to you.

If your child has other learning challenges, you may also want to check out the information about assistive technology for reading, math, and executive functioning (ADHD) elsewhere on this site.

Below, I’ve included high, medium, and low tech assistive technology solutions for you to consider.

High-Tech Assistive Technology for Dysgraphia and Writing Disabilities

Dictation Software (speech-to-text)

Word processing software

Word prediction software (Co-Writer)

Talking Word Processors (Talk Typer)

Onscreen keyboard (touchpad)

Portable word processor

Idea Mapping Software (Inspiration, Kidspiration, XMind)

Writing Tablet with Writing Apps

Proofreading programs

Abbreviation Expansion

Mid-Tech Assistive Technology for Dysgraphia and Writing Disabilities

Electronic Spellers

Electronic Dictionaries

Electronic Thesaurus

Digital Recorders for Oral/Dictated Responses

Dictation Headset

Low Tech Assistive Technology for Dysgraphia and Writing Disabilities


Pencil Grips

Adaptive Grip Pens and Pencils

Wide-lined paper

Raised-line paper

Graphic Organizers

Composition Templates

Lettering Stencils

Writing Guide

Preprinted words or phrases for sentence construction

Words Cards

Word Banks (Word Rings, Word books)

Word Wall (posters)



High Contrast Pen and Paper (Brightlines Paper)

Slant Board / Lap Board

Word Spacer

White Board

Page Holders

Correction Tape

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Oct 172013

Does your child have dyslexia, dysgraphia, use phonetic spelling, or have extreme difficulty with spelling?

What Works as Assistive Technology for Spelling?”

Research shows that weekly spelling tests DO NOT WORK for improving a child’s spelling ability when the child has a specific learning disabilities. Research shows self-correction brings about a significant and permanent improvement in spelling.
phonetic spelling and self-correction sample
“Error self-correction also has proven successful for improving the spelling performance of elementary students with disabilities (Alber and Walshe 2004; Grskovic and Belfiore 1996). The findings of this study indicate that high school students with deficits specifically in written expression also can use error self-correction to improve their spelling performance. This is valuable because individuals’ difficulties with spelling can be more difficult to remediate as they get older (Brice 2004).” (From “Error self-correction and spelling: improving the spelling accuracy of secondary students with disabilities in written expression,” 2007, by Kim Viel-Ruma, David Houchins, and Laura Fredrick).

More information on self-correction in a moment, but I did want to let you know  if you’re interested in other strategies for Writing, there is additional information available about other Assistive Technology for Dysgraphia and Writing Disabilities.
assistive technology for phonetic spelling

How Does Self-Correction of Spelling Work?

Using the self-correction method and assistive technology for spelling is a relatively simple, two-step process.

Step 1: When your child writes a composition of any kind, you simply highlight words which contain spelling errors. If your child is using a Word Processor with Spell Checker, then having the spell checker activated will generally underline misspelled words with a red line.

Step 2: Your child looks up the correct spelling of the word and corrects his own spelling error. When a child has spelling difficulties, looking up the word itself can be difficult, which is where electronic spellers, the assistive technology for spelling, can be a great tool.

How Can a Child with Phonetic Spelling Difficulties Self-Correct?”

Using phonetic spelling is common for children with dyslexia, but often the phonetic spellings they use are widely variant from one spelling to the next. This can make self-correction a very difficult task.
assistive technology for phonetic spelling
Enter Electronic Spellers, which are awesome assistive technology for helping a child self-correct spelling errors. When a child keys in his phonetic spelling of a word, Franklin Spellersassistive technology for spelling (in particular) are excellent for presenting a list of words that your child probably meant to spell.

For example, your child may type “geumt” (a real spelling of a child with dyslexia) and the speller will present phonetic alternatives, including “jumped,” which is the word the child intended. For each word, the child can select it to be presented with a definition which enables the child to determine if it is the correct word. Some of the electronic spellers have built in text-to-speech capabilities and earphones so your child can still use the electronic speller even if he can’t read yet.

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Why Does Self-Correction Work Better than Spelling Tests?”

The reason self-correction works so well is because it is an active, engaged process for your child. Your child has to determine the correct spelling, and make the corrections himself. When your child self-corrects a specific word repeatedly, he builds the neurological memory-recall pathways for that word. The repeated-memory recall process means he’ll eventually be able to remember the spelling with out assistive technology for spelling.

Additionally, when your child repeatedly spells a word incorrectly, and repeatedly corrects the word, over time he will remember that word better. Your child only works on words he doesn’t know how to spell. He quits working on words he has already mastered. Thus, greater efficiency and individualization comes from using the self-correction method for improving spelling abilities.
franklin spelling ace phonetic spelling assistive technology
Self-Correction is the method that worked well for my son when no other method, including years of repetitive weekly spelling tests, did not work. We began using the self-correction spelling method after I researched for the most proven method of remediating spelling difficulties.

We used self-correction of spelling errors throughout high school for both of my boys. In addition to we saw marked improvement in their spelling abilities, including phonetic spelling. My boys became very skilled at self-correcting their own work. The level of skill acquisition my boys achieved is serving them extremely well as college students. 😀
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