How Tech Can Help Students With Dyslexia

 

Dyslexia is a very misunderstood learning disability, many people think that dyslexia solely affects people’s ability to read and write. And that is true to a point but in many ways, it is an over-simplification. Dyslexia also effects phonological awareness, verbal memory, and a person’s verbal processing speed.

It’s a complicated learning disability that is often over-simplified and misunderstood which can make it very difficult for people to get the support and guidance they need. While many businesses may have things in place to help support dyslexic employees many are letting the new and improved technology that could help go by the wayside.

This is a real shame but one particular area that is struggling is schools, colleges, and universities these three establishments support a wide range of students and many of them will suffer from dyslexia and are seeking further help through a number of means, including dyslexia courses. It’s important that students of any age (but especially those that are younger) get the help and support they need to ensure they get a high-standard of learning despite the challenges dyslexia brings.

Technology can help you achieve this in many ways and there is a great array of resources that schools can use. Let’s take a more in-depth look at how you can help students with dyslexia in more detail using the great technological resources available.

Text To Speech Tools 

Have you ever watched a science-fiction movie or TV series and noticed how many of the characters just talk to the computer to get things done? Thanks to recent advancements like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana the future seems a lot closer now, doesn’t it?

While these are virtual assistants and not text to speech tools in the traditional sense they do show the versatility and flexibility of text to speech. Text to speech programs might not be the most prevalent software programs but they are seeing an increase in popularity.

You’ll find many free text to speech programs online and plenty of smartphone and tablet apps, but the free price does come with a few issues. While they definitely range in quality some are probably not going to be all that helpful, however, there is some professional text to speech programs available.

Dragon speech recognition from Nuance is one of the leading names in text to speech software and will be a big help to any dyslexic individuals. With text to speech programs reading and writing is going to be a lot easier for people who suffer from dyslexia and they can ensure much more accuracy.

With text to speech programs dyslexic individuals will be hearing information instead of reading it, this will make it much easier for them. They can also use text to speech software in a wide variety of different tasks which will make studying much easier as well.

Built-In Accessibility

Computers today and indeed even in older models have a wide range of built-in accessibility options that will make a big difference for people who suffer from dyslexia. Many people don’t realise that these accessibility options even exist which is a shame because with just a few clicks of your mouse you can much using a computer much simpler and easier from someone who suffers from dyslexia.

There are a lot of different ways you can use these built-in accessibility options to help make using a computer easier for dyslexic people and it will differ from person to person, so before you do anything make sure ask the student if it helps or not. But some common accessibility tips are laid out below.

    Tinting the screen.

    Making text bigger.

    Changing the text style or colour.

    Increasing visual aids and much more.

A lot of research suggests that dyslexic people are sensitive to the glare of a white or block coloured screen, which is why many of these tips involve adding more colour and reducing screen glare. It might seem strange that a simple thing like changing the screen or text colour can have such a big impact but when it comes to dyslexia even small things can make a big difference.

One tip to ask dyslexic students is whether the screen looks like its flickering or if the text looks like it’s moving slightly. If they say yes, then changing the text style and adding a splash of soft colour can make a big difference.

Digital Textbooks

One easy thing any school, college or university can do to help their dyslexic students is to provide digital textbooks. With a digital textbook, students can change the text size, font and in some cases even the colour. This can be a huge help to dyslexic students because many of them will find reading a traditional textbook difficult.

If you can also make these materials available to students on a virtual learning platform it will also give students more customisation options. With a digital textbook you can do things that would be impossible on a traditional paper alternative, so try to get your students access to digital alternatives whenever possible.

Use Built-In Templates

Not all the ways you can help dyslexic students require you to buy new software or to be blunt mean extra expense, there are many tools available on a number of standard software programs. Take Microsoft Word, for example, there are dozens of built-in templates dyslexic students can use which will make it easier for them to carry out their work.

Microsoft Office programs in particular offer a great variety of templates that are perfect for dyslexic students, but whatever software program you use you’ll often find templates available.

These will provide a great shortcut for dyslexic students and make carrying out work a lot easier for them. Even simple touches like setting up a bigger font size by default can make work easier for dyslexic students.

Dyslexic students face a lot of challenges at all levels of their education, but you can do a lot to help them along the way. Technology has had a huge effect on the way students can learn and study and it has made it much easier for dyslexic students.

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