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:
- Fine motor activity such as holding and using a pen,
- Gross motor control in maintaining a stable and appropriate posture,
- Mental processing and recall of word structures involved in spelling,
- Mental recall and application of punctuation and grammar,
- Mental processing and working memory used for building sentences, and
- 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.
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 Speaking 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 Mac: 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.
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!