December 18, 2017

Assistive Technology for Students with Dyslexia—22 Apps and Resources

During our webcast, Don’t Stop the Learning: Assistive Technology in the Classroom, Eric Price, M.Ed., talked about the importance of using technology to improve learning for students with dyslexia. He started the presentation with a quote from the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity:

“Assistive technology offers a way for dyslexics to save time and overcome some of the issues they may encounter because of their dyslexia, such as slow note-taking or unreadable handwriting, and allows them to use their time for all the things in which they are gifted. For dyslexic students, technology opens doors and allows them to demonstrate their knowledge in ways that were unimaginable in the past.”

Here is a list of the resources that were mentioned to help students with dyslexia:

Audio Books:

Learning Ally

Learning Ally, which was previously named Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D), is a non-profit volunteer organization operating nationwide in the United States. It produces and maintains a library of over 80,000 accessible audiobooks for people who cannot effectively read standard print because of visual impairment, dyslexia, or other disabilities. 

Bookshare

Bookshare is the world's largest online library of accessible eBooks for people with print disabilities. 

State Libraries for the Deaf and Blind

Audiobooks can be checked out after submitting an application; a doctor’s signature is required. 

Overdrive

OverDrive Media Console is a proprietary, freeware application developed by OverDrive, Inc., for use with its digital distribution services for libraries, schools, and retailers. The application enables users to access audiobooks, eBooks, periodicals, and videos borrowed from libraries and schools—or purchased from booksellers—on devices running Android, BlackBerry, iOS (iPad/iPhone/iPod), and Windows, including Mac and Windows desktop and laptop computers. 

Audible

Audible is a seller and producer of spoken audio entertainment, information, and educational programming on the Internet. Audible sells digital audiobooks, radio and TV programs, and audio versions of magazines and newspapers. Through its production arm, Audible Studios, Audible has also become the world's largest producer of downloadable audiobooks. Audible's content is accessible only through special proprietary closed software, including unauthorized-playback prevention, by means of an Audible username and password.

Software Programs and Apps:

Voice Dream Reader

$14.99 – Read with your ears! Voice Dream Reader is a widely acclaimed desktop-class app that reads articles, documents, and books out loud using text-to-speech.

SnapType

Free – SnapType helps students keep up with their peers in class even when their penmanship holds them back. Students can easily complete school worksheets with the help of an iPad or tablet.

Prizmo (Apple)

$9.99 – Prizmo is a universal photo-based scanner app that lets you scan and recognize text documents, business cards, and images and then export them as PDF/Text, vCard, or JPEG/PNG.

Claro ScanPen Reader

$6.99 – Need to listen to printed text spoken aloud at school, in a test or exam, at work or at home? Use Claro ScanPen to photograph your printed text document, letter, or test paper, then select the text with your finger (or stylus), and hear it spoken straight back to you instantly! No Internet connection is required. 

Nessy

Prices vary by program – Uses strategies and games that were first proven to be highly effective in the classroom, especially for students who don’t seem to learn following conventional methods. It has been designed to be language-based, multisensory, structured, sequential, cumulative, cognitive, and flexible. 

Dyslexia Toolbox

$4.99 – For older kids with dyslexia. One feature is a type pad with word prediction software that can help kids create messages for text, e-mail, and social media. There’s also a digital document reader that takes photos of text and reads them aloud. 

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Speech recognition software: Talk, and your words appear on the screen. Say commands, and your computer obeys. Dragon is three times faster than typing, and it's 99 percent accurate. 

Ginger

Ginger Software has developed language enhancement technology that uses statistical algorithms in conjunction with natural language processing, aiming to improve written communications, develop English-speaking skills, and boost smartphone productivity. Ginger Software differentiates itself by recognizing words in the context of complete sentences.

Google Chrome Apps and Extensions:

Read&Write

Wonderfully intuitive and easy to use, Read&Write for Google Chrome™ provides personalized support to make documents, Web pages, and common file types in Google Drive (including: Google Docs, PDF, ePub, and Kes) more accessible. It’s designed to help everyone engage with digital content in a way that suits his/her abilities and learning styles.

Grammarly for Chrome

Scans e-mails, documents, even Facebook posts for spelling and grammar and provides corrective suggestions.

Co:Writer

Co:Writer® Universal Extension for Chrome™ helps you write with proper grammar and spelling using topic-specific vocabulary. It integrates with the Chrome™ browser for word prediction and speech recognition just about anywhere you write online, including Google Drive™, blogs, social networks, and e-mail.

Just Read

With one click (or less!), you can remove distractions like ads; read the article in a customizable, simplified format—like a read mode, but better! No login required, and it is completely free!

Scrible

The Scrible Toolbar Extension offers the best way to annotate, tag, and share online articles and Web pages and save them to your Scrible account. The Extension places a Scrible button to the right of your address bar.

SpeakIt

SpeakIt converts text to speech. Select text and SpeakIt reads text aloud.

Speech-to-text on Google Docs

Toolbar: Tools, Voice Typing (requires a headset with microphone).

Google Translate

Translates text from one language to another, with audio option.

Voice Note II

Typing with your voice and speech recognition with a simple and functional notepad.

There are also many structured literacy programs that can help students with dyslexia drastically improve their reading skills. Of course, with this improvement, reading will often remain belabored and assistive technology is great at bridging the gap. 

If you missed the presentation in October or would like to watch it again, you can find it here. The slides are also available for download on the same page. Did we mention that you can also receive a certificate of attendance? That’s right! You can view the presentation and get one hour of professional development credit for free!

Learn more about structured literacy >

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