Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is critical to the learning of children, young people and adults with dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties.  It can assist in making education and life in general, less complicated and more enjoyable. With the right use of technology it may even help level the playing field for students with learning difficulties.

The use of assistive technology is continuing to evolve every day. SPELD Victoria is constantly looking for new solutions to match student needs.

Points to consider with Assistive Technology

If you have recently decided to take the plunge into Assistive Technology with your child it can be helpful to ask yourself some questions first.  Here is a checklist of questions from understood.org to consider before purchasing a new device or tool for your child.

Some further useful websites for apps, books, software, other resources and technologies can be found at: Call Scotland;  DSF Literacy and Clinical Services Store; TTR4L

Below is a list of tools, software and applications for use by those with dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties.

Tools To Assist Literacy for Older Individuals

Texthelp Read and Write ($)

Read & Write literacy software has been designed as a “floating” toolbar that will assist students improve in their reading and writing.  It does have a text to speech function that enables what has been written to be read back.

One Subscription lets users sign in on any device: Windows PC, Mac, iPad and Android tablets.

Suitable for: Upper Primary, Secondary, and Higher Education.

Features:

 ✔ Read out loud

 ✔ Speech feedback

 ✔ Phonetic spell checking

 ✔ Word prediction

 ✔ Picture dictionaries

 ✔ Summary highlighters

ClaroRead ($)

ClaroRead is an effective, multifunctional, multisensory text-to-speech software for assisting in reading and writing.

For Windows PC, Mac and Cloud (across any device)

Suitable for: Upper Primary, Secondary and Higher Education

Features:

 ✔ Word prediction

 ✔ Audio-note-taking

 ✔ Mind map

 ✔ Reading ruler

 ✔ Screen colour overlay support

 ✔ Spell check

 ✔ Reading out loud any text with new Nuance Vocaliser Australian English voice.

Penfriend Software ($)          

Penfriend software provides support for writers with dyslexia or learning difficulties.

For Windows PC          

Suitable for: Primary, Secondary and Higher Education

Features:

 ✔ Speech feedback

 ✔ Word prediction

 ✔ On-screen keyboard

 ✔ Can customise with individual settings

 ✔ Integrates with Clicker 5.2 and later

Software For Sounds Letters and Words

Word Shark 5 ($)

Word Shark is a comprehensive multi-sensory spelling and reading program based on the widely used literacy programme.

For Windows PC, Mac and also available as USB

Suitable For: Primary, Secondary and Higher Education

Features:

 ✔ 60 motivating games combined with serious learning

 ✔ Records of activities are kept and progress can be tracked

 ✔ Customisable speeds and options

 ✔ Your own words can be easily added and recorded

Letterland Living ABC ($)

This is brilliant software for teaching young children the sounds of letters, letter shapes and writing. Lots of fun exploring the scenes and the children learn remarkably quickly at the same time.

For Windows PC and Mac

Suitable For: Pre-School and Primary School Students

Letterland Living Code Cards ($)

Letterland Living Code Cards focuses on the phonic structure of words, language development (which underpins all written work), word building and spelling in a very enjoyable way, with stories, songs and activities. Encourages children to use their imagination too.

For Windows PC and Mac

Suitable For: Primary School Kids

Fitzroy Readers - Sounding Readers ($)

The Fitzroy Readers are a popular series of books based on phonic system for learning to read. Especially useful for struggling readers as they are excellent for getting children started.

CD for Windows PC, Mac, and also available on iPad, iPhone and Android

Suitable For: Mainly Primary

Features:

 ✔ Each story can be read

 ✔ Any word is repeated on request (in a different voice)

 ✔ Students can creatively rewrite any story and print it

 ✔ Includes word games with the vocabulary of each story

Spinout Stories ($)

These are collections of high interest stories and related activities especially designed to appeal to older struggling students.

CD for Windows PC and Mac and also available on iTunes

Suitable For: Upper Primary and Lower Secondary School Students

Features:

 ✔ Each story is available at three levels of reading difficulty

 ✔ The computer can read all the story text aloud (with an Australian accent)

 ✔ All are designed to grab the attention of reluctant readers.

 ✔ Each CD contains reading activities to develop students’ basic skills.

 ✔ Time Control for Teachers

Tools For Reading

C-Pen Exam Reader ($)

The C-Pen Reader is a totally portable, pocket sized pen device that reads text out loud with an English human-like digital voice. It has an in-built dictionary function and capacity to capture lines of text and upload to a PC or Mac, making it ideal for students, teachers or professionals.

There is also a C-Pen Exam Reader that excludes the dictionary function. With headsets on, students can now undertake their exams at the same time and in the same room as all other students.  Truly a win-win situation for both student and schools.

Suitable For: From age 6 to adults

Literacy Multimedia

Clicker7 ($)

Clicker 7 is a powerful yet easy-to-use writing support and multimedia tool that combines a talking word processor with on-screen grids. These enable children to write with whole words, phrases, pictures, multimedia and sound and can be used to support any area of the curriculum.

For Windows PC and Mac

Suitable For: Primary and lower Secondary School Students

Features:

 ✔ The definitive primary word processor

 ✔ Child-friendly planning tool

 ✔ Voice Notes

 ✔ Speech feedback (new children voices)

 ✔ Intelligent word prediction

 ✔ Eye gaze compatibility

 ✔ Touch screen friendly

Textease Studio CT ($)

Textease Studio CT is a highly versatile and powerful program with 9 modules. 

For Windows PC

Suitable For: From the youngest of primary school children to adult users

Features:

 ✔ Publisher CT – For all your writing and publishing needs.

 ✔ Draw CT – A revolutionary vector drawing tool.

 ✔ Spreadsheet CT – The perfect introduction to simple spreadsheets.

 ✔ Movies CT – Produce exciting movies in minutes.

 ✔ Database CT – A truly easy to use, multi-user database.

 ✔ Paint CT – A vibrant, creative painting tool.

 ✔ Presenter CT – Create top-notch presentations to be proud of.

 ✔ Turtle CT – Flexible, progressive on-screen turtle graphics.

 ✔ Branch CT- Imaginative way to sort and classify.

2Create a Story ($)

This powerful program combines words, pictures, sounds and animation in a storybook format to support Literacy and Technology.

For Windows PC

Suitable For: Pre-School and Primary School Students

Software For Numeracy Skills

Number Shark ($)

Number Shark will address many difficulties that students have with basic maths including short-term memory and sequencing skills. Its bright colours, animations and choice of games will motivate students and provide them with a structured but enjoyable learning experience.

For Windows PC, Mac OS X version 10.7 to 10.13, a computer with a USB port if buying the USB version

Suitable For: Primary and Secondary School Students

2Calculate ($)

This is powerful program which can help students: learn place value, fractions, and decimals, explore number sequences & negative numbers, teach money, shape & space, data handling, and use spreadsheets & graphing tools

For Windows PC

Suitable For: Primary and some Lower Secondary School Students

Integrated Software For Teachers

Ideal-Resources ($)

Engaging interactive resources for teachers. Over 600 activities designed for whole class teaching on an interactive whiteboard, projector as well as standalone computers

Suitable For: Primary School Students

Lexion ($)

An extensive program designed for people with language related difficulties, such as dyslexia, to improve reading, writing, spatial and arithmetic skills. Provides all the tools needed for assessing areas of weakness, creating tailor made exercises and tracking the progress of individuals.

Suitable For: Primary, Secondary and High School Students

Nessy ($)

Nessy programs are designed to help students of all abilities learn to read, write, spell and type, especially those who learn differently. 100 lessons following a structured, phonic approach printable card games, activity sheets, mnemonics and computer games. Nessy Learning Programme – follows a tried and tested approach of learning that combines structured incremental phonics linked with language, writing skills and vocabulary development, combining to create highly effective multi-sensory learning.

Suitable For: Primary, Secondary and High School Students

Literacy Apps

Word Wizard for Kids ($) – L’Escapadou

This is a comprehensive, spelling and vocabulary application. It uses sound, text and visual cues to teach and reinforce spelling and vocabulary skills including phonics, homophones, plurals, prefixes, suffixes and much more.

Suitable For: Primary and Early Secondary School Students

Available on iPad and iPhone

Prof's Phonics (Free) – Doc Ruth

This application designed to explore detailed paintings for words that start with a particular sound.  Children will come to understand that words may start with the same sound that is represented by a letter of the alphabet.  This is known as ‘cracking the alphabetic code’ and is essential for children to be able to understand the reading process. 

Suitable For: Pre-School Students

Available on iPad and iPhone

Apps For Maths

Algebra Touch ($) – Regular Berry Software LLC

Provides lessons and practice problems covering a variety of topics including simplification, prime numbers, and commutativity.

Available on iPad and iPhone