- Discussion on AT for the LD population
- AT Tools by subject concern
- Low tech to high tech
- Listing of sites for further information
- Parent Resources
- Free Supports
- AT ideas for executive functioning and ADHD
- Apps to support LD needs
AT can address many types of learning difficulties. Examples:
- A student who struggles with memorizing math facts can use a handheld calculator while learning the processes that it takes to figure out the problem.
- A student with dyslexia may benefit from a tool that will text-to-speech that can read the Science textbook to him/her while s/he follows along.
- A student who has difficulty writing may be able to compose a school report by dictating it and having it converted to text by specialized software.
- Light tech - i.e.
pencil/pen with adaptive grip, raised line paper, MathLine, changes in text presentation, highlighters
- Mid tech - i.e.
bookson CD, talking calculators, talking dictionary/spell checker, portable word processor
- High tech - i.e.
voicerecognition software, text-to-speech players, scanners minimizethe extent to which individuals with LD need to ask for help (enabling them to be more independent learners) improvethe speed and accuracy of work reinforceeffective classroom instruction and strengthen skill development helpstudents to 'fit in' with classroom learning and routines motivatestudents with LD to set high goals for themselves and to persevere compensatefor ineffective teaching makea learning disability go away beexpected to provide the same benefits to different users automaticallypromote positive attitudes toward learning
- Alternative Calculators (i.e., talking or enlarged)
- Alternative Keyboards
- Audio Books (i.e., Podcasts)
- Concept Map Programs (i.e., Inspiration)
- Digital Recorders (i.e. Echo
- Electronic Text (i.e., Bookshare)
Electronic Math Worksheets (i.e., Panther Math)
- Personal FM Listening Systems
- Portable Word Processors (i.e. Neo)
- Speech-to-Text Programs (i.e.
- Spell checker (portable or built in word processor such as Ginger)
- Text-to-Speech (See separate listing)
- Word-prediction programs
- Customizing Technology Solutions for College Students with Learning Disabilities by Joan M.
Bisagnoand Rachael M. Haven. This long article gives examples of tools and case studies.
- Dr. Edyburn's articles (They are PDF documents, with the disclaimer that some of the assistive technology listed in the documents may be out-dated.)
- LD OnLine has a section entitled, "Assistive Technology for Kids with Learning Disabilities: An Overview"
- Great Schools is a great site for parents. They have quite a few articles on Assistive Technology for the student with learning disabilities.
- Georgia Assistive Technology Grant Program provides a comprehensive and practical guide, incorporating AT evaluation, and information on specific difficulties (e.g., reading, writing, memory organization and math) and providing success stories of adolescents and adults using assistive technology to help them live more independently.
- Landmark College AT Pages is a very practical guide for college students who need to use all kinds of assistive technology. Each kind of technology is evaluated, strengths and weaknesses mentioned, and tips for success provided.
- LD Resources lists description and sources for AT in the following categories: Keyboarding Resources, On-line Resources for Assistive Technology, Listening/ Note-taking Resources, Variable speed control tape recorders, listening aides, talking calculators, Text-to-speech, screen-reading software, portable reading pens, optical character recognition software, audio books, math software and hardware, Studying/ Organizing Resources, Spell-checkers, "talking" word processors with speech synthesis, word prediction software and word processing packages, speech recognition software, Software for brainstorming, organizing and bringing out creativity.
- On Time, On Task and Organized: Using Technology to Build Executive Function Skills, by Shelley Haven
- South Carolina's "AT and Learning Disabilities" is a very rich site full of resources.
Techmatrix- From the National Center for Technology Innovation (NCTI) offers a Techmatrix, a "Review of Technology-Based Approaches for Reading Instruction: Tools for Researchers and Vendors." This matrix is intended to serve as a resource that matches technology tools with supporting literature on promising practices for the instruction of reading for students with disabilities. It is organized into the following areas: Building Skills and Comprehension, Convert Text to Speech, Providing Text in Alternate Formats, Providing Electronic Resources, Organizing Ideas and Integrating Literacy Supports.
- Web Toolboxes for Educators compiled by Dr. Cheryl Wissick at the USC College of Education, has descriptions and comparisons of Alternative Web Browsers, Speech Recognition, Reading Skills, Talking Word Processors, Alternative Word Processors, Creative Writing, Text-to-Speech Tools, Word Prediction, Text-to-Speech Combinations, Reading Comprehension &Expression, Comprehensive Programs and Homework and Reading Tools
- The University of Washington’s “Working Together: Computers and People with Learning Disabilities” provides a concise summary of the challenges and tools available to people with learning disabilities.
- The University of Washington also offers a twelve-minute video demonstrating key points in this handout. Purchase information is at
E-ssentialtips: A parent's guide to assistive technology
- PDF: A Parent's Guide to Assistive Technology
- The Family Center on Technology and Disabilities
ATbaris free and allows you to change the look and feel of web pages, have text read aloud and spell check forms. It is a simple tool which is available for most popular browsers. There are three versions of the ATbar toolbar to explore when looking for the one that best fits your needs.
- The Freedom Stick contains the full Open Office suite (comparable to
Microsoft Office), the Balabolka Text-To-Speech system, an on-screen
calculator which allows students to paste their math work into homework
or test documents, a "mind mapper" (similar to Inspiration), the
Audacity audio recorder/player, and many more
supports. There are 2 versions. You chose what you need, download it to anUSB flash drive and Voila! Yours to use wherever you go.
- 2 wonderful programs that help you understand more of what you read, faster.
Rewordifywill translate hard English into easier English and TextCompactor will provide you with an Automatic Text Summarization Tool. Quick, easy tools.
- SimpleOCR converts your scanned images to text files or Word documents, the only OCR (Optical Character Recognition) application that is completely free. SimpleOCR is also a royalty-free developer toolkit that you may use to add OCR to your custom software application. SimpleOCR features include TWAIN scanning, ability to manually specify text and image zone's output to plain text or RTF (MS Word) formats and more. It provides all of the most commonly used OCR features and competitive recognition rates for many types of documents. If you just need to convert a few documents to text to save retyping, SimpleOCR will save you hours of time without the high cost. Developers can use the SimpleOCR API to add OCR capabilities to their custom software. If your application deals with document images, SimpleOCR will let you add full-text searching or automate the indexing process with zone OCR.
- 60 Second Recap is not AT but I still had to share as this is a technology resource worth sharing. 60 Second Recap will help students to better understand those core books they are reading in their general education settings. This site is worth getting to know!
- As part of the pre-writing process, planning is essential. Students often use graphic organizers or create outlines.
Webspirationoffers the capability to do both with one click of this online tool .It will also allow a student to demonstrate their knowledge without having to write a paragraph or a report.
- WordWeb is a thesaurus/dictionary that can be used to look up words from almost any program. In addition to displaying definitions and synonyms, WordWeb can find sets of related words. The database has more than 150,000 root words and 120,000 synonym sets, many proper nouns, pronunciations, and usage tags. WordWeb works off line, but when online you can also quickly view Web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia. I use this program on every computer I access. Couldn't live without it.
- Global Spell Check is a tool for checking spelling or meaning of words from any application using Microsoft Word. You can copy the word to be checked to Clipboard by pressing Ctrl+C and invoke Global Spell Checker using
- Graphic Organizers of every kind.
- Do you have a student who struggles with reading text, but they have a lot that they need to read through for a project? You might try this website: Tools 4 Noobs- You have to copy/ paste text in but I find it does a good job of getting to key points.
- Virtual Magnifying Glass Portable is the handy Virtual Magnifying Glass utility packaged in PortableApps.com Format so you can easily use a screen magnifier on any PC you use.
- Click n’ Type with Word Prediction is an on-screen virtual keyboard designed for anyone with a disability that prevents him or her from typing on a physical computer keyboard. As long as the person can control a mouse, trackball, touch screen or other pointing device, this software keyboard allows you to send keystrokes to virtually any Windows application that can run within a window.
- Speech Recognition in Windows 7 empowers you to interact with your computer by voice, significantly reducing the use of a mouse and keyboard, while maintaining or increasing your overall productivity. Speech Recognition is particularly useful for people who have difficulty with dexterity or have limited use of their hands and arms, because it reduces or eliminates their need for a mouse and a keyboard while enabling them to maintain or increase their productivity. With Speech Recognition, you can dictate documents and e-mail, fill out forms on the web, and command applications and the operating system by saying what you see.
Shelley Haven (www.TechPotential.net) put together this amazing list of AT ideas for executive functioning and ADHD that included apps:
Isolator(Mac) - dims or hides all but the front-most appand the Dock Ghoster(PC) - dims or hides all but the front-most appand the TaskBar AdBlock(available for most browsers) - extension blocks ads
- Readability.com (reformat webpage, removes images)
Imagesfunction (available within most browsers)
- White Noise app + headphones
- Instrumental music + headphones
SelfControl(Mac) - block access to websites for settime, or only allow access to certain websites
- Cold Turkey (PC)
- same as
SelfControl, but also blocks applications and has finer time controls LeechBlock(Mac or PC) - Firefox add-on that blocks access to distracting websites for settime
- Parental Controls (Mac, PC) - included in the operating system
- Freedom (Mac, PC, Android) - blocks access to distracting websites
Anti-Social(Mac, PC, Ubuntu) - blocks access to social media sites and other "Weapons of Mass Distraction" StayFocusd(Chrome) - limits time you can spend on selected websites
- Focus Booster - paces task completion using the Pomodoro Technique
- Many other apps also invoke the Pomodoro technique - search for
)*5 Procrastination Hack - app that implements the "procrastination hack" approach
- Time Tracker (Firefox add-on - "I've been online HOW long?!")
- RescueTime -
tracks time spent on productive or
distractiveapps and websites, provides insight into how you use time, allows you to set goals (all with the intent of helping you modify your computer use); premium (paid) version also includes "Get Focused" function to block distracting sites for a selected time
- Watches with vibrating alarms to help one "snap back" to being on task (WatchMinder, VibraLite)
- Audiobooks allow downloading and streaming of the free audiobook library from Librivox. They have quality free
audiobooksof many of .the classic literature.
- Bookshare has developed as app called Read2Go. It is a Daisy reader that will read Bookshare books on
- Reading Machine helps students pronounce words they cannot read. It has two keyboards - a color-coded alphabetical and a qwerty for older students.
- American Wordspeller is a phonetic dictionary. A student can type a word and the dictionary will figure out the word:
foto- photo. Turn on the Voice Accessibility and it reads the word aloud. AudioNoteis a notepad and voice recorder that allows you to record audio through your computer's microphone while you take notes. You can later clickon your notes to hear the audio that was recorded while you were typing. It works similar to the Echo SmartPen, but with your keyboard. You can even use the drawing tool to doodle notes as well.
- Evernote lets you create notes, snap photos, and record voice memos that you can then access any time from your iPhone, computer, or the web. Powerful program!
- Noteshelf allows you to insert a picture which adds emphasis for visual learners.
PhotoMindallows you to quickly take a picture and set a reminder for it. The reminder will appear along with any note you’ve saved with it, without the need of an Internet connection. Just select “View” and PhotoMind will open right toyour picture.
- The applet allows users to record thoughts, explore ideas, and collaborate with peers.
- MindMeister applications give you instant access to your mind maps wherever you are. Create, edit and share mind maps directly on your device and seamlessly sync them with your online MindMeister account.
- Kind of a blend with memory supports and time management. iNOV8 have an amazing listing of apps for dealing with Organization supports. Please visit their site to see the 9 supports they discuss and recommend.
- Awesome Note allows you to keep a unique note of your own. Memo, Diary, Important Info,
Check-list, Shopping-list, Travel itinerary and some To-dos that you must keep in mind. These are all capable of being managed at once withAwesome Note.
- Calendars and Tasks- You can easily sync your
iDevicewith Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendars, plus many others. Like all Google tools, Google Calendar is a very simple but very effective calendar app which has a huge number of features to help you remember important dates, create schedules and synchronize them across multiple devices. In a school environment, this is a great choice.
- Remember the Milk is a veritable Swiss Army knife of to-do list management
.It allows users to create multiple task lists.
- CALL Scotland has produced a 'wheel' of apps for learners with dyslexia, as an A3 poster that can be downloaded free. (Note that they are based in Scotland, the links accompanying the apps are in the UK iTunes site, but it should still be easy to find apps that you may be interested in wherever you are.)
- Brevity is a word prediction program.
- Nuance, makers of Dragon Naturally Speaking has developed Dragon which is a free speech-to-text program for the iPhone (only). "Forget the typing and just talk to your phone and it will transcribe it." To dictate on the iPhone you have just launched the app, press the record button, and start talking. You can dictate a brief sentence, or as much as you want. Then you have the option to email it, send it as a text message, or put the result in your clipboard. After recording your message, you can edit the resulting text before you send it off for others to read. I am loving this, but what an impressive and invaluable text-to-speech tool that can prove a magnificent convenience and aid to many, especially those with physical needs.
- Evernote is an award-winning app, which helps you stay organized through, among other features, voice-recorded notes.
Essayoffers text formatting options in an intuitive user interface to keep you focused on your text. Documents can automatically be synchronized via the free Dropbox service.
- AbiliPad offers speech-to-text in the word predication format. A must see for writing on the iPad. Spectronics has a nice full description of the program.
- App Writer US is an app which is a text editor for the iPad with word prediction, text-to-speech, OCR, and a special font for people who are Dyslexic.
- PaperPort allows you to import pictures, documents, items from Dropbox, etc.
andthen either type, write or use speech recognition into text boxes. A digital note taking tool, allowing the user to combine documents, web content, audio, typed text, and handwritten notes into a single document that can be shared.
- Typ-O HD does more than just predict words. This intuitive technology understands how you misspell words and can work through even the most challenging typos.
Apps for Students with LD: Organization and Study National Center for Learning Disabilities, "Students with learning disabilities often have trouble with study skills like getting and staying organized—a crucial executive function skill—and remembering what needs to happen and when. My daughter (who has dyslexia) and I have researched and/or tested the following apps, and she’s found them especially helpful. We know that every person has slightly different needs, but it’s worth taking the time to find out which apps work for your child."
My Favorite: iNOV8 have a wonderful site with wonderful information on apps for students with learning difficulties, categorized beautifully, but start with their listing of 68 apps for students with learning disabilities and then explore their site from there.