assistive technology

Assistive Technology

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The Tech to combat a learning disability.

Technology is evolving at an incredible pace and there are constant advancements in the tools and resources available to us. This round-up provides some of the best resources available to you to assist you with reading, writing and math challenges.


Firstly, text-to-speech, (TTS) this ever-advancing area of tech tools is one that is used by many – learning disability or not, the reasons are obvious – it allows a much faster, easier way to communicate and provides life-changing advantages to those who are suffering from conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and ASD associated challenges.

 

The link above takes you to the Balabolka site where you can download the app – it allows you to use across windows based systems and will open a vast range of file types, this includes PowerPoint, PDF, word and excel documents. It allows flexibility in that there are a number of voice types for you to choose from.

This assistive technology application is also able to record audio, so if you prefer to dictate or narrate your work or communications you will be able to use this feature to record this. In addition, it will provide you with the ability to bookmark chapters, or topics, allowing you easy navigation through more lengthy documents.


 

This next link takes you through to an application that works across both Windows and Mac-based operating systems, it also provides a floating toolbar – which allows the easy translation of text to speech from web pages.

The application can read all the usual file types, simply allowing you to open your file from the apps library, this includes e-books, it can also, with the paid-for version, provide an OCR – this enables images such as .jpg to be scanned and text read aloud.


 

If you are looking for more basic resources, for younger children we would also strongly recommend the following link – allowing phonological recognition and exploration of words. The link takes you through to IXL and provides a wealth of learning resources and is suitable support for a number of different types of learning disabilities.

We also like APA libraries and book resources providing a range of childrens books in e-pub format these books are provided with full illustration and in combination with the resources identified above for TTS can really help to stimulate your child and help them relax and enjoy learning and develop language skills.

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Secondly, assistive technology for maths is another much advancing area, we have the basic tools we are all very familiar with such as calculators, for example, and also formats for writing, such as graph paper can really help with general writing skills – providing a spatial grid in which to form letters and provide a guide to those that particularly struggle with handwriting.

Here we are focussing more on the applications that can assist with the learning and performing math-based work and study and encourage you to check out the links below to see if they could help you to achieve your full potential.

This tool is really designed to make math more accessible and allows the user to actually visualise and explore maths equations.

It provides speech recognition and also allows handwriting input and will integrate with most operating systems – windows, mac and google docs. You can access the full features of the application for £100 per year* and there is also a free trial offered.

*correct at time of writing – November 2021.


MathType offers an application that will integrate with the Microsoft Office suite of tools, Mac and windows operating systems as well as Google Docs and provides the user with a simplified view of equations.

This app also allows handwriting input – if you are working on a touchscreen device and will provide the ability to collaborate and work with others – whether this be teams of colleagues or allowing students to share with teachers, parents or mentors.


Finally, we would like to encourage anyone struggling with a learning disability, or indeed any type of anxiety or mental health problem to visit Mind, a mental health charity that relentlessly works to help support and alleviate the challenges faced by those who are suffering negative effects of mental health problems. The link is a super practical guide and covers challenges that we all face daily, it provides the prompts and recognition to those factors that can spiral and have an impact on our everyday living.

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