Assistive technology is essential for students with learning differences. As parents, it is very important to research and find which apps will help our child the most. There are many free apps that are geared for students with learning differences. For Dyslexia, audiobooks and text-to-speech software gives students independence and confidence that they never had before. Assistive technology is not a crutch! It is not cheating! It gives students access to higher levels of information that they would miss out on otherwise.
As an example, after receiving a diagnosis of Dyslexia, my student then qualified for Bookshare. Bookshare makes books accessible for free to those with qualifying print disabilities. Voice Dream Reader is an advanced text-to-speech that can be used with Bookshare. Using Voice Dream Reader for Bookshare enabled my student to access any book he was interested in. He ended up discovering the classics and read Sherlock Homes, Moby Dick, and many others during his summer break…..JUST FOR FUN! It was an amazing opportunity for him to experience the joy of the written word.
Local libraries carry audio books. Audiobooks are so useful in building good vocabulary.
In the coming weeks, I will review other assistive technologies that are commonly used to help students with learning disabilities. For more information on Bookshare and Voice Dream Reader go to http://www.bookshare.org. and http://www.voicedream.com