What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive Technology (AT) is the term used to describe all of the tools, products and devices – from the simplest to the most complex – that can make a particular function easier or possible to perform. Some assistive technologies include screen readers, alternative keyboards, head pointing devices, voice recognition software, and screen magnification software.
What Kinds of AT are Available for Individuals with Learning Disabilities?
Learning disabilities affect the way we take in and process information. The most common types of AT used by people with learning difficulties are focused around reading, language, organizational skills, and processing information. Some examples are:
Screen Reading Software (Text-To-Speech)
Screen reading software (also referred to as text-to-speech software) will read text that appears on a computer screen to the user. Screen reading software is particularly useful for individuals with dyslexia, but is also used by people who are auditory learners. Some text-to-speech programs available are:
Speech/Voice Recognition Software (Speech-To-Text)
Speech/Voice recognition software (sometimes referred to as speech-to-text software) will convert the spoken word into text on a page, or into computer commands (i.e. opening files, or navigating software applications) via a microphone. Speech recognition software is particularly useful for individuals who have difficulties with written expressive and difficulty using keyboards to navigate software applications. Some speech-to-text programs available are:
Word Prediction Software
Word prediction software will present possible words that a user is looking for while typing text, which the user can select with a mouse click. The software will also predict the next possible word based on frequency of usage and context. This technology is particularly useful for individuals with difficulty spelling, and for people who have difficulty typing. Some word prediction programs available are:
Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software will convert paper-based text into electronic text for use with screen readers. A scanner is needed to scan materials from book or other paper-based text. The OCR will then recognize the letter shapes through imaging analysis and convert them to electronic text. This technology is particularly useful for individuals who cannot access printed materials due to low vision or processing deficits. One program to consider is:
Visual Organizers are used to present ideas, concepts, information, and related concepts in the form of charts, tables, graphs, flowcharts, and diagrams. This technology is particularly useful for individuals who have difficulty processing, analyzing, and comprehending text-based information, but is also useful for people who are visual learners. Some resources include:
Electronic or digital organizers are hardware devices or software used for time management and resource organization. This technology is particularly useful for individuals who have difficulty with time management and organization, and is also used by people who are tactile learners and prefer opportunities where they can actually do something physically with the information they are to learn. Some electronic organizers include:
1.TeuxDeux (To Do)
Tablets and Smart Phones
Over the past few years tablets and smart phones have become a mainstay in society. For starters, both tablets and smart phones have great organizational features built in- think iCal, timers, inotes.
To further the use of tablets and smart phones we can access an endless variety of apps. There are apps available for a wide range of learning difficulties and to support various executive functioning skills.
Below are a list of apps that can assist with various learning difficulties and executive functioning skills. These apps will be updated on a regular and rotating basis. Please check back often to see new updates!
Some apps are free, some charge a fee, and some apps will have a free trial period.
- Activity Timer- Interval Edition
Executive Functioning Skills
- Writepad for Ipad
If you have a gmail account don’t forget about google calendar, google docs, google sheets, and gmail. Google makes a great system that is automatically updated across all of your devices. Also the google app is available for Ipad/Iphone.
***Don’t forget about the reminders feature! You can set reminders before meetings, work, and events to send a message or alert to a phone or email address***
- Free Books - 23,469 Classics For Less Than A Cup Of Coffee
- Practical Money Skills Calculators
- Math Everywhere
- Time Timer
- Ghotit Real Writer
- Learn to Read, Write, and Spell
The world of Assistive Technology can be daunting and overwhelming. LDAY provides various services relating to assistive technology. LDAY can provide training and familiarization, make recommendations for products, and help access funding to acquire assistive technology. Please contact LDAY to learn how assistive technology can support your needs.
Member of the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada