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!

 Assistive Technology for Writing Comments Off on Dysgraphia Assistive Technology: Let Your Child Speak His Mind with Dictation Software
Jun 092014
 

Low Tech: Educational Posters for Enhanced Learning

Visual Learning Aids: Educational Posters for Learning aren’t technological, but they are assistive learning devices. Using educational posters will help your child see and understand concepts in chemistry, geography, math, history, etc.

No matter what subject your child is studying, if there are educational posters available, they are a great addition to your multisensory teaching tool kit. For visual learners, these visual learning aids can mean the difference between understanding and remembering, or not!

For your convenience, I’ve created categories for some of the most sought after educational posters. If you don’t see the category you’re looking for, you can type the topic for the educational poster you are seeking in the search box at the top of the left-hand column. I hope you easily find the perfect visual learning aid!

 Educational Products, Multisensory Learning Comments Off on Educational Posters for Learning: Visual Learning Aids
Dec 082013
 

Kindle Tablets are Perfect for Children with Reading Disabilities or Dyslexia

What makes the Kindle Tablet perfect as assistive technology for children with reading disabilities?

I picked the Kindle Fire for my personal choice because of the huge library of books available for use on the Kindle, but there’s a lot more to the Kindle than a large library.

More about the Kindle for Reading Disabilities below, but I did want to mention, if you’re interested in other strategies for reading, you may want to check out other Assistive Technology for Dyslexia and Reading Disabilities too!

Kindle Fire’s main reading accessibility features are:

  • The ability to read any book using the built in text-to-speech functionality,
  • The ability to change page contrast to be black text on white, white text on black, or a low contrast sepia background for the text,
  • The ability to change the display brightness,
  • Whispersync capability which coordinates your Audible Book edition with the text edition of a book and provides text highlighting of words as they are read aloud,
  • The small size of the “Mini Tablet” is ideal for small hands,
  • As well as an extensive library of available books and apps.

There are other accessible features as well, but these are the best features when using the Kindle tablet for reading disabilities as a reading assistance device.

I really like the Kindle reading voice in the device’s text-to-speech feature. The voice is a little bit mechanical, but the voice is far smoother than most computer-based voices and is a pleasant female voice.  The text-to-speech programming uses good pausing at periods and commas, as well as good inflection for questions.

Compare Prices and Models on Amazon

Kindle has Great Learning Apps to Practice Phonemic Awareness and Writing

One of the other great aspects of the Kindle is your ability to install Android Apps that can be used by your child to practice phonemes in a multisensory manner.

As part of the Orton-Gillingham method for overcoming dyslexia is to have a child trace, recite, and hear the sounds a letter represents simultaneously.  There are APPS for THAT!

With the Kindle’s touch screen, your child can practice tracing letters with his finger while saying the phoneme aloud.  With some apps, your child can the phoneme read aloud too as he traces the letters.

There are even apps for kids with apraxia, math skills practice, building memory, etc. The wide variety of available apps for learning makes the Kindle tablet a top choice for kids with reading disabilities.


There are TOO MANY Educational APPS for Kindle To List!

Here are a few Kindle Apps that are Good for Phonemic Awareness and Writing practice:

I LOVE my Kindle and use the accessibility features even though I don’t HAVE to.  The Kindle is lighter and easier to handle than the bigger tablets, and that will be particularly important for your child if he’s in elementary or middle school.  A high school student may like the small size, or may prefer a larger tablet.

Some of the competitor tablets at this time do not have the built-in or pre-installed text-to-speech capability, but I’m hoping they all eventually get there. While my top choice is the Kindle tablet for reading disabilities, there are other small tablets that offer similar features, and providers are moving towards disability-friendly technology.  The best is yet to come, I’m sure!

 Assistive Technology for Reading Comments Off on Using the Kindle Tablet for Reading Disabilities or Dyslexia
Oct 212013
 

Assistive Technology for Executive Functioning and ADHD can help kids with these learning disabilities plan, manage, and complete their school work better.

Kids with Executive Functioning Deficits and ADHD have difficulty with organizing, planning, sequencing, and managing their school work. There are a lot of tools that help kids with these learning disabilities manage and perform better.

Because executive functioning issues and ADHD cause children to have difficulty organizing their thoughts, you may also want to check out some of the assistive technology for writing. Also, you may want to check out cognitive enhancement programs that help a child develop stronger abilities to focus, process information, etc.

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

High-Tech Assistive Technology for Executive Functioning and ADHD

Personal Time Management Software or Digital Planner

Visual Scheduling software

Mind-Mapping Software

Graphic Organizer Software

Electronic Reminders

Portable, Electronic Data Storage, Organization, and Access (Evernote, HeapNote)

Mid-Tech Assistive Technology for Executive Functioning and ADHD

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Handheld Electronic Calendar and Personal Assistant

Digital Highlighter

Digital Sticky Notes

Timers

Digital Recorder

Low Tech Assistive Technology for Executive Functioning and ADHD

Sticky Notes

Highlighters

Grading Rubrics

Graphic Organizers

Checklists

Personal Planner

Personal Calendar

Organizer Notebooks (Trapper Keeper, Portfolio, etc.)

Container or Bin-based Organizing System

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Oct 212013
 

If your child has a specific learning disability in math, using Assistive Technology for Dyscalculia and Math Disabilities can improve your child’s ability to progress in the general math curriculum.

Whether your child is a visual, hands-on, or auditory learner, there are several options for learning math in a multisensory way. Using a variety of teaching tools helps kids visualize and understand math concepts better.Assistive Technology for Dyscalculia and Math Disabilities

For kids who struggle with math facts, there is Assistive Technology for Dyscalculia and Math Disabilities that will help the child learn his math facts. If you need information about remediation of dyscalculia, check out information about instructional strategies for overcoming math disabilities on LearningAbledKids.com.

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

High-Tech Assistive Technology for Dyscalculia and Math Disabilities

Virtual Math Manipulatives

Math Simulators

Math software with voice recognition

Math Software (MathType)

Virtual Flashcards

Electronic math worksheets

Mid-Tech Assistive Technology for Dyscalculia and Math Disabilities

Calculator

Talking calculator

Math Tool Bar

Low Tech Assistive Technology for Dyscalculia and Math Disabilities

Manipulative Blocks

2D and 3D geometric shapes

Picture boards

Abacus

Math Template paper (Panther)

Math Fact Cards

Tactile Rulers

Jumbo Rulers

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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 LearningAbledKids.com 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

Scribe

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)

Dictionary

Thesaurus

High Contrast Pen and Paper (Brightlines Paper)

Slant Board / Lap Board

Word Spacer

White Board

Page Holders

Correction Tape

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Oct 212013
 

If your child has a reading disability, dyslexia, and/or attention deficit disorder (ADHD), you will find assistive technology for dyslexia and reading disabilities will help your child overcome many problems with learning.

Assistive Technology for Dyslexia and Reading DisabilitiesSince the majority of educational content comes in the form of books, having dyslexia or a specific reading disability can severely impact a child’s ability to learn if he doesn’t have assistance. This is where assistive technology for dyslexia and reading disabilities can enable your child to read independently, learn to read better, and it will help your child learn from books.

If you want to help your child overcome his reading disability, check out the information on LearningAbledKids.com about how to remediate dyslexia. You CAN help your child overcome dyslexia!

There is a wide variety of tools you can use as assistive technology for dyslexia and reading disabilities. I’ve included high, medium, and low tech solutions so you can choose the assistive technology solutions that will help your child most. I’ve also included information about assistive technology for writing, math, and executive functioning (ADHD) elsewhere on this site too.

High-Tech Assistive Technology for Dyslexia and Reading Disabilities

Audiobooks

An E Reader READs When Your Kid CAN’T Yet Read
See Also: KINDLE

Text-to-Speech electronic reading software (Windows Built-In Text reader, ReadPlease, VoiceDream Reader, NaturalReader )

OCR Scanning with Text-to-Speech electronic reader (Kurzweil)

Personal Listening Devices for Audiobooks, Podcasts, Audio Lectures (MP3, IPod)

Mid-Tech Assistive Technology for Dyslexia and Reading Disabilities

Reading Pens

Noise Canceling Headphones

Low Tech Assistive Technology for Dyslexia and Reading Disabilities


Reader

Reading Guide

Reading Tracker

Color Overlays (Irlens, See It Right)

Enlarged Text

Special Fonts

Highlighting pens

Highlighting tape

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