Children with learning differences such as dyslexia (reading) and dysgraphia (writing) often struggle to cope with school work. This is especially true in the past, as instructional materials were focused mostly on physical books and writing by hand. As technology has advanced and the mode of instruction shifted to virtual platforms, more students with learning impairments have found greater success in overcoming educational challenges through assistive and smart devices.
This article highlights some resources that parents and educators can use to help reading and typing with disabilities become easier for children.
Challenges Faced by Students With Dyslexia and Dysgraphia
People who have dyslexia have difficulty reading because they are unable to relate letters with their respective sounds, while those who have dysgraphia have a hard time writing by hand. Some are diagnosed with just one, but others can have both.
It is important to note that having dysgraphia and dyslexia is not related to one's intelligence level, as these impairments are mainly motor deficits. With that said, occupational therapists and special education programs apply a combination of letter forming and automatic writing activities, such as tracing letters and writing from dictation, to develop mastery and speed. Assistive technology has also made the learning experience more seamless for both learners and teachers.
5 Typing Resources for Students With Disabilities
Assistive technology refers to any device or system that helps compensate or work around a student's learning deficits. While it does not treat or eliminate the disabilities, these tools can help children reach their full potential through bypassing their difficulties and focusing on their strengths. For example, a child with a typing disability might find great benefit in a text prediction tool that has dictation capabilities.
Here are some learning and typing resources that can help children succeed in school, at play, and, in the future, at work.
1. Audio Books and Educational Videos
Students who struggle with reading but are good at listening will learn a lot through audio books and educational videos. Although writing by hand will take some time (but can improve with practice), you know that children are well-equipped with the knowledge they need to get ahead using tools that match their learning methods. There are plenty of resources online for free audio books and educational videos for kids.
2. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Software
There are apps that enable computers and mobile devices to read scanned text out loud using a screen reading system. OCR are also available as pocket-sized handheld gadgets that students can take along wherever and point to text they need help processing.
3. Alternative Keyboards
There are keyboards that can be programmed to suit the layout preferences of the user or customized to limit typing options. Typing with disabilities is made simpler with these keyboards that offer personalized visual cues that the student finds easier to recognize and understand than a QWERTY keyboard.
4. Text Prediction Software
Dyslexic typing becomes less of a struggle with text prediction tools that recommend relevant terms and speed up the typing process. Lightkey is one such software that predicts as many as 12 words ahead, including punctuation marks, based on the user's typing patterns and content theme. It also checks for spelling, grammar, and word choice in real-time.
The software benefits a wide range of users with different disabilities — from specific learning disabilities (SpLDs), anxiety and depression, to physical disabilities, and fine motor control issues. By reducing the number of keystrokes needed to write full sentences and paragraphs, students with learning impairments can reduce the potential physical and mental struggle their condition might place on them.
5. Writing Tools With Dictation Features
There are plenty of software and mobile apps that can automatically translate speech into written text, enabling users to create full compositions just by speaking. An upgraded version of the standard tape recorder, these tools come handy in school and even at work when one needs to write homework, a letter, or a presentation.
Elevate Your Child's Learning With a Real-Time Text Prediction Software
Students, and even adults, with dysgraphia or dyslexia have a tough time with reading, writing, and typing — but that shouldn't stop them from learning and succeeding in life. Technology levels the playing field by making everyday activities so much easier.
Lightkey's mission of enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and accessibility is what makes it stand out as a viable tool for helping users thrive. With over 80 languages supported, it enables students from anywhere to achieve their full potential by maximizing its real-time spelling, grammar, and word prediction features. Students in need can also avail of the Lightkey for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA), which is a UK government-sponsored course-long license that gives learners access to its complete features while enrolled. The DSA is available to students in the UK only.
Learn more about Lightkey's capabilities by downloading the free software today.