Dealing with Dyslexia has become easier in this new technologically advanced world. I have worked with students who have learning disabilities as a peer educator and an assistant to my mother who is a special educator. And I have always been interested in exploring technology solutions to make learning easier and more fun for students with learning challenges.
So here is a quick walkthrough of some easily accessible tech tools that really help students with learning issues:
Early Education Apps
Many apps have been built to target specific areas of learning basics of reading and writing for children. Some of these apps prove to be very helpful for children with learning disabilities.
Dysgraphia — People with Dysgraphia can use the app ‘ABC Cursive’ to help improve their handwriting they can also use ‘DoodleBuddy’.
Dyslexia — ‘Sight Words’ is an app that offers flash cards of sight words for free instead of having to go and purchase them. ‘Word Shaker HD’ and ‘Ruzzle’ are apps that provide word building exercises. ‘Letter of the Day’ can be used to improve the child’s vocabulary. ‘Spelling Magic’ is another app that teaches the sound of letters and teaches how to build words. Most of these apps can be used by anyone, as they help and are often quite fun too.
Text To Speech
This tool is extremely helpful to people of all ages struggling with dyslexia and even attention disorders. Instead of having to read through files and messages, people can just listen to them. This often helps children in school when they are given reading comprehension work. This work would require a student to read a passage carefully and then answer the questions that follow.
Unfortunately, most people with dyslexia are often unable to grasp information from an excerpt if they are also told to read it. They can either focus on just trying to read the passage or they could focus on trying to comprehend it. Doing both tasks at the same time proves to be extremely hard for them. Hence if the text to speech tool is used, then the student can comprehend the passage better and then answer the questions.
Audiobooks work on a similar basis as the text to speech tool. However it is simply too hard to use that tool on an entire book. Hence there are many apps and sites that offer audiobooks. ‘Blinkist’ is an efficient app that offers many audiobooks once you are subscribed to it. There are also many free online services that may provide the audiobook that you want.
Listening to these rather than actually trying to read and comprehend from a book is much easier for people with learning disabilities. These are popularly used by people of all ages. ‘Audible’ is another platform where you can find many useful audiobooks, and it also comes with a few added benefits for amazon prime members.
There are a few apps that serve the purpose of a speaking dictionary. Essentially, it can be used by people with learning disabilities to learn the meanings of words by listening to the meaning and explanation. This makes it much easier for them to understand what the word means as they do not have to spend their time and energy in trying to read what is written when they only want to know the definition.
These people also often find it tough to look for a word in the normal dictionary as they may not be familiar with the spelling of the word but they may just have heard it somewhere.
There are many YouTube channels that are made to help parents, teachers, and children to cope with learning disabilities both in the classroom and in real life situations. Many of these channels like, ’The Dyslexia Coach’ guide you on how to help the person with a learning disability and other tips and tricks that can be used by the person to help themselves in various situations. This channel is run by Rama Tandon who is a dyslexia therapist, videos in English as well as in Hindi are available on her channel. It is most certainly worth a watch as it is the easiest resource you can get for advice and help in dealing with a disability.
-- Rohm Tandon/New Delhi
(The author is a 16-year-old, studying in class XIIth at the Vasant Valley School. Views expressed are personal.)