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Early Years, Primary , Secondary / Adult.

 

Exciting and rapid technological advances over the past 10-15 years mean that for the first time ever, children with Special Educational Needs are being provided with tools that can really make a difference to their quality of education and their ability to achieve.

There are a number of different technologies available these days for almost all children and adults with special needs.   Dyslexic children now have a range of tools available to them to support them in actively participating in class and in producing work that they can be proud of. 

Dyslexic children face a number of challenges every day but with a combination of mobile technologies, (iPad, Android etc.), online tools and systems that are available, the vast majority of these issues can be resolved or supported to a very satisfactory level. 

 

Key technologies for Dyslexic people and adults generally fall into one of the following categories:   

 

•         Mind Mapping Software;

•         Text to Speech

•         Speech to Text

•         Working Memory tools

•         Maths & Intervention systems

•         Literacy Tools

•         Games and Apps


Many tools are available within each of these categories nowadays and a combination of applications can now be used together to provide additional support and functionality.   For instance most computers have some accessibility functions built into them to allow: -

 

·          Voice commands,

·          Background colour changes for MS Office Applications,

·          Text to speech functions

·          Some offer Speech to text functions also

 

With these built in tools and the advent of mobile Applets or Apps, it is no longer necessary to spend a fortune on expensive systems for children, on top of initial cost of purchasing an iPad or a Laptop.

 

Collaborative and Intervention tools;

 

Schools are now able to purchase, or access for free, collaborative tools which, allow children to learn at their own pace but with support and monitoring by the teacher. 

 

Technology allows teachers and children to create their own versions of tools to fit in around their own curriculum and share them with others.  They can also download assistive tools - often without cost, from the Internet. 

 

Mind Mapping;

 

There are a number of mind mapping tools available.  Kidspiration and Inspiration has been designed specifically for children to sit alongside the curriculum. There are a number of other tools available however that may be better for older children - iMindmap 6 and Mindjet are good and can be downloaded for free.

 

Text to Speech;

 

Most operating systems have some free, built-in, text to speech capability.  See the "How to" section at the end to see how to switch this on in both Microsoft and Apple technology. 

 

There are other tools such as TextHelp and Natural Speaker with very sophisticated voices, which can be downloaded, however they can be expensive and often require additional spend to buy the better voices.

 

Speech to Text;

 

The market leader in this space is Dragon Naturally Speaking or other versions, this can be expensive to purchase, however once again there is surprisingly good technology available within Microsoft to assist with this.  See the "How To" section below for instructions on setting this up. 

 

Working memory tools;

 

Various iPad Apps and online tools available to assist with this.  Memory games, flashcards, and even PlayStation games can be very useful.   Other good tools are Cogmed, COGS (iPad app) and Luminosity brain training.   Flashcard systems such as Activise are good.    Quizlet is excellent for older children and is free.

 

Maths Intervention;

 

Dynamo maths intervention system for Dyscalculia seems very good - pinpointing issues and helping to plug gaps.  Great reporting and tools available for teachers and parents.

 

IXL Maths also a very good sytem - not just for intervention but for all children. From reception age to GSCE at present but year 12 and 13 materials are in development.

 

Other free software is available online. Maths Champs and Johnnie's Math Page are good.  Also Khan   Academy is brilliant for older children.

 

Literacy Tools;

 

Reading Eggs looks good for schools - separate logins for children - lots of teacher resources - printable exercises to support learning. (Website not as intuitive as it might be.)

 

Lots of free resources on this site: http://udltechtoolkit.wikispaces.com/Literacy+tools

 

Also Scholastic have some great resources as well as games for older primary years.

 

Ginger Software - is excellent free Spelling and Grammar checker for Windows Operating system only - and requires WIFI to work.

 

Typing tools;

 

Nessy Fingers touch-typing course is good - lots of games etc. 

 

Dance Mat Typing is free from the BBC website.  Very entertaining lessons!

 

 

Tools and Applications;

 

Application Name

Application Purpose

Web Address/Source

 

Lucid - Memory Booster and Comprehension Boosters

Assessment, Screening and Intervention tools

www.lucid-research.com

Books Should be Free

Audio Books

www.booksshouldbefree.com

Activise

Create computerised image and text flash cards

www.bactivebrainsolutions.com

Kodu

Educational Programming software

www.microsoft.com

Quizlet

Flashcards - revision tool

www.quizlet.com

Answer buddy

Free Lite version of AVP /Activise for iPhone

www.bactivebrainsolutions.com

Ginger

Grammar and Spell checker and text reader

www.gingersoftware.com

BLIO

Interactive Book downloads

www.blio.com

Interactive Books for iPAD

Interactive Books

iTunes Appstore

Reading Eggs system

Interactive Literacy / phonics Apps

iTunes Appstore

Reading Eggs Apps

Interactive Literacy / phonics system

www.readingeggs.co.uk

Dynamo maths

Intervention tool for addressing maths issues

www.dynamomathsonline.co.uk

IXL Maths

Maths Tuition for schools and individuals

www.uk.ixl.com

Inspiration App

Mind Mapping software

iTunes Appstore

Kidspiration

Mind Mapping software for Children

www.inspiration.com

Dolphin-My Accessible School

My Accessible School - Accessibility software for schools

www.yourdolphin.com

Khan Academy

On line lessons

www.khanacademy.org

Algodoo

Physics Game

iTunes Appstore

TextSpeech Pro

Text to Speech software

www.textspeechpro.com/download.html

Claro Speak

Text to Speech software

iTunes Appstore

Claro Read

Text to Speech software

www.clarosoftware.com

Texthelp

Text to Speech software - Literacy support systems

www.texthelp.com

Dance Mat Typing

Touch Typing Training

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing

Nessy Fingers

Touch typing training

www.nessyfingers.co.uk

Maths Champs

Educational Maths games online

www.mathchamps.co.uk

Johnnie's Maths Page

Educational Maths games online

www.jmathpage.com

 

Dyslexia Jersey does not endorse any of the technologies; these are only suggestions.