Technology can be the great equalizer for children and adults
with disabilities. Often referred to as assistive technology, these
programs can help with learning, classroom activities or homework
assignments. The following resources, programs and gadgets may help
your son maximize his learning potential.
Talking calculators, which vocalize each number, symbol or
operation when the calculator button is pressed, are popular
gadgets that can help struggling math students. Listening to the
numbers as they are being pressed into the calculator can help
students avoid errors and reinforces the process through an
auditory message. Talking calculators are available at many online
retail outlets. The TalkCalc app is designed for iPhone and iPad
and great for young children.
Students who struggle with reading and comprehension may benefit
from audio books. Audible.com is an Amazon company that offers
books, radio shows, magazines and speeches as downloads for
computer, iPods and mobile phones. Bookshare.com offers accessible
titles that can be enhanced by assistive tools, like
text-to-speech, or you can order a book in embossed Braille.
Students who struggle with writing organization and mechanics
might benefit from Dragon Dictate. This speech recognition solution
allows students to speak their thoughts and commands, and the
program will write it down. Software by goQ, called wordQ+speakQ,
is a tool that combines word prediction technology, spoken feedback
and speech recognition for learners with writing challenges.
The Pulse smartpen by livescribe records everything a student
reads and writes. Students can replay a teacher lecture with the
tap of the pen. The SoundNote app allows you to record the class
lecture and make scribbles on your iPad at the same time. Evernote
is also great for recording class notes and is available for Mac
Students can improve organization with OneNote by Microsoft.
This digital notebook allows students to store notes, project items
and homework in one place on the computer and easily access it for
presentations, projects and studying. Simple apps for keeping track
of homework assignments include myHomework and iHomework for the
While technologies can provide some solutions to learning
challenges, they are most effective when combined with classroom
accommodations and an independent education plan. For more
resources and guidance, visit LD OnLine, the National Center for Learning Disabilities and
Disabilities Association of America.
Sharon Miller Cindrich's Plugged-in Parent column runs
monthly in Chicago Parent.
Sharon Cindrich is a mother of two tech-savvy kids from Virginia Beach. Learn more at sharoncindrich.com.
See more of Sharon's stories here.
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