Assistive Technologies for Persons with Dyslexia
Imagine spending a day without reading, spelling, or writing. Sounds impossible, right? This just proves how important these activities are to our lives.
That’s why when you face difficulties in any of these tasks, your daily life would be greatly affected. But there is still a way to rise above this situation. And this is done by understanding this condition and identifying the technologies you can use to cope with it.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities in children and in many adults. Similar to the example above, dyslexia hinders a person’s ability to read, write, and spell. Sometimes, it can also affect a person’s ability to speak.
When you have dyslexia, your brain experiences difficulty in translating visual or auditory information into understandable language. Dyslexia is not caused by a lack of intelligence. Also, it is not caused by hearing or visual impairments.
Useful Equipment and Software for Dyslexic People
There are many products that can assist dyslexic persons in understanding information or improving their skills. You should be aware though that the needs of a dyslexic person should be assessed first before acquiring any of these products.
Let’s look at the most popular examples of assistive technologies for people with dyslexia.
Audio Recording Software for Dyslexic Persons
This type of program provides a way to quickly take notes or reminders and even record lectures. A unique feature of this software provides the user with a visual representation of an audio file.
Once the program has finished recording, it will identify the natural pauses in the audio file. The program then breaks down the file based on these pauses. This lets the user navigate from one section to another. The user can also insert text or images in specific parts of the audio file.
Through this software, dyslexic people who find it hard to read printed text can still acquire and understand information in another format.
Touch Typing Tutors
Most dyslexic people find writing by hand difficult or problematic. Computer touch typing presents a good alternative and minimizes the need for manual writing. Touch typing tutors are applications focused on helping the user learn this skill.
Also, touch typing tutors can help dyslexic individuals learn to spell correctly. Through the use of a touch typing tutor, persons with dyslexia can associate the spelling of a word with a typing pattern on the keyboard. So when they type an actual document, they can simply recall the specific typing patterns to ensure the correctness of their spelling.
Additionally, touch typing tutors have written and spoken instructions to ensure that users can properly follow the lessons.
Spell Checkers for Dyslexic Persons
We’ve all at one time tried using the spell checker feature in our word documents. While this feature can be useful, they can only correct the misspelled word if it is very close to the actual word.
Spell checkers for dyslexic persons can provide suggestions to misspelled words based on the context of its sentence or the words nearest to it. This type of spell checker can therefore correct a word although it may have been spelled very differently from the actual intended word.
A text to speech feature also lets the user hear what is written in the document. This lets the user make further corrections on the text.
These are portable devices which dyslexic people can use to listen to text instead of reading it. The user points the scanning pen on a particular printed word and the pen’s speech synthesizer then speaks that word.
Scanning pens can also scan a line of text and read it aloud. Some of these devices have built-in dictionaries that can speak the definition of a scanned word.
Through this device, dyslexic users can understand printed text regardless of where they are.
Mind Mapping Software
Certain dyslexic people prefer to create concepts and process information through images and diagrams. This makes mind mapping software a very useful tool for them.
Mind mapping software enable users to identify ideas represented by graphics. Users can then create the relationship, using lines or other visual elements, between these ideas to complete the diagram.
Persons with dyslexia can use this program to form concepts and ideas without having to write them down. They can even share these ideas to other people and explain them through the diagrams.