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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Oct 172013

If your child has a reading disability, check out this cool Reading Pen Assistive Technology to enable independent reading for kids with dyslexia:

reading pen assistive technology

The Reading Pen

Reading pens are great for assistive technology. Your child can use the pen to scan a word or a sentence, and the pen will read the text aloud so your child never has to guess when reading.

As assistive technology, reading pens are particularly useful for older children who prefer to work independently, but are still working on learning basic reading skills.  A reading pen allows your child to work with grade-level books in science, math, history, and literature because it reads those difficult words to your child.

Using a Reading Pen can help you avoid the “Matthew Effect,” which occurs when a child gets further behind in all subject areas due to a disability in one subject area. The Matthew Effect occurs when a child doesn’t have equal access to grade-level materials in all subject areas that the child is required to study. A reading pen can provide the needed accessibility to grade-level materials.

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

reading pen assistive technology for reading

The Benefits of a Reading Pen

One of the best things about a reading pen is that it can be taken anywhere to read any print your child may encounter. Unlike text-to-speech capabilities on computers, the scanning function of the pen can be used to read just about anything that is printed in a typical reading font.

The reading pens have earphones too, so your child can use the Reading Pen in libraries, in the car, in class, or anywhere he may need to read without disturbing others.

The biggest benefit of a reading pen is providing your child with independence while working. No longer would he have to wonder what a word is, skip over it, or ask someone.

The reading pen can enable a child with a specific learning disability in reading to read required texts fairly easily. This capability will enable your child to read at a more fluent rate rather than struggling to read.

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Reading Pens and Reading Comprehension

Perhaps the best benefit of all in equipping your child with a Reading Pen is that this assistive device can enhance a child’s reading comprehension. Studies show some promising results, although not every child is shown to benefit in every study:

“The Readingpen significantly improved comprehension levels as shown by an increase in number of correct answers on given tests. On average, the Readingpen increased science scores by 18 percentage points and social studies by 10 percentage points.” (Wizcomtech, http://www.wizcomtech.com/education/main.asp?contentID=1283)

In “Exploring the affordances of I-pen for improving student reading skills,” Sze Yee Lye concludes, “The data analysis produced encouraging evidence that I-Pen is beneficial for the weak readers. The pupils find I-Pen easy to use and their reading experience appears to be enhanced by the I-Pen.” (Academia.edu)

In conclusion, having a reading pen won’t teach your child how to read, but it sure can make reading content more accessible. The Reading Pen can give your child independence, increase his reading speed, and enhance his comprehension as he reads more fluently. All-in-all, I think Reading Pen Assistive Technology is among the handiest of devices for kids with dyslexia.

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