Assistive technology has the ability to transform the lives of your children who have dyslexia. Along with other more traditional strategies, we could see a generation begin to fulfill their potential . Can’t stress enough how AT impacts self-esteem.
“The Power of AT” is a project that is close to my heart. 80% of schools in the UK have Assistive Technology. But how well is it used and how fit for purpose is the hardware and infrastructure in schools to benefit from it? But there is something you can always do – even minimally. This series of films we want to give freely to schools shows its importance.
We are also in an era where interoperability between the different platforms makes that dream of access possible. Two single most elements that are now in the mainstream operating systems are text to speech ( the computer reads to you) and speech-to-text ( you speak to the computer). Coupled with other technologies that will be demonstrated such as word prediction. They are powerful to enable your child or children who have dyslexia to benefit from AT and help overcome their barriers to recording.
Text to speech with highlighting can enable a student to hear and see the word being spoken in context. This can now be done in browsers. Also via extensions in Google Chrome using the ReadWrite extension or even Hyperbird or Natural Reader free extensions.
The value of cloud-based learning is that work can be saved and retrieved on any device in any location.
The same applies to Microsoft 365. From Office 2016 and upwards the use of Dictate on the Home menu gives you speech to text whilst Immersive Reader allows any work put in to be read back and highlighted. At home this is powerful and not embarrassing to the child. Microsoft Edge has Read Aloud which allows any website to be read back and you can even change page backgrounds to make the reading easier.
You can also have word prediction on your Windows 10/11 machine switched on by going to Settings and typing in Typing settings and switch on suggest as I type option.
Must mention Grammarly as useful tool for my grammer and your child’s grammar there is also a useful add-in to Word (https://www.grammarly.com/office-addin)
This is a short list of apps that I have found useful to suggest to parents. Details of how to get hold of them and the costs involved are below:-
Claro ScanPen – £9.99 Claro ScanPen on the App Store (apple.com)
Claro Speak – £free – ClaroSpeak – Literacy Support on the App Store (apple.com)
Remember the Milk – To-Do List – £free –Remember The Milk: To-Do List on the App Store (apple.com)
Class Timetable -£free – Class Timetable on the App Store (apple.com)
Dyslexia.ai – Smart Phonics – £free Dyslexia.ai – Smart Phonics on the App Store (apple.com)
Clicker Writer – £free –Clicker Writer on the App Store (apple.com)
New Kid on the block – Chatgpt
This is controversial as it does the work for you! So in schools, this would be classed as plagiarism. It is using artificial intelligence to answer questions you put it and provides you with text. There are pros and cons.
Enables children to find out things – like Google Search – buit have presented in a literate form
Very fast – in seconds
Gets children to learn how to ask the right questions
Not always accurate or up to date – so needs checking. Bing ChatGPT gives sources
Does the work for you when the teacher is asking a child to compose it themselves
Schools don’t know yet what to do with it
I don’t know yet what to do with it!!
Comes with a warning! Maybe used for secondary aged children doing research. I think children should state they used Chatgpt to do their work
Customising your Browser
You can make your browser experience more accessible. Dark Theme may help your child to make reading a bit more bearable. Live captions are on Windows 11 and Google Chrome. Just follow these instructions:-
- Go to settings
- Then Appearance – select “Dark”
- Then Theme – whichever colour you want your display
- Go to Settings
- Then Accessibility – live caption