Assistive Technology and the Writing processThis is a featured page

There is a continuum of resources in the form of assistive technology from high tech to low tech available to provide support and accessability to your child with LD. The following link from the Boston Public School's Access Technology Center is particularly helpful because it provides brief descriptions of technology from low tech to high tech solutions and photographs of these assistive tools. Here are some examples of Assistive Technology across the continuum. A graphic organizer is a low tech tool for brain storming and organizing data to main points and supporting details. A mid tech tool would be an electronic spell checker or dictionary or thesaurus such as Speaking Homework Wiz from Franklin electronic Publisher. They facilitate independent reading, writing and spelling. An example of a high tech assistive technology would be a computer using software such as Inspiration-Kidspiration that provides interactive graphic organizers and multi-sensory prompts for spelling. Co-Writer and Write Out:loud are other helpful software for writers with LD. Both are offered by Don Johnson. (See the link to his site.) Co-Writer offers word prediction and Write Outloud offers multi-sensory support for spelling.

The characteristics of students with LD and writing difficulties can be circumvented with the help of assitsive technology. Don Johnston has developed software that has proven to be very useful for LD students and the writing process. The programs Read Out: Loud, Draft Builder, Write Out: Loud, and Co-Writer help with comprehension, organizing, composing, revising, editing, written self-expression and vocabulary.Click on the following link to get the particulars on these programs.

There are examples of AT helping students everywhere you look. For the software just discussed, here are a few examples of AT supporting students. An assistive technology specialist in Virginia tells of a student with autism using Draft Builder. She states that after only a few modeling sessions with the student,he was so comfortable and productive with this writing tool that while using it during the state test, he wrote all day long and his mother had to pick him up after school hours. Another teacher in Florida says she has been using Write Out:loud and Co-Writer for years and the tools have made a significant difference in the lives of her students.Another teacher in New Mexico state that without Co Writer and Write Out:loud, her students work is simplistic and limited. She states that these programs make writing samples rich with new vocabulary and give the students a new sense of self expression.


In order to make informed choices when purchasing software it is important to begin with the particular needs of your student. How will your child use the software and will it be an apropriate match to your child's needs? Will this software support what your child is doing in school? Is the software appropriate for your child's maturity and achievement level? Will it be easy for your child to use the software? Does the company provide adequate instructional information and support? Next, consider software options and flexibility. Can you adjust the reading level of the software? Can the response time be tailored to the needs of your child? Is the screen user friendly for LD students with visual processing problems?(examples of this could include color-cueing and double spacing) Does the software provide multisensory support? Is this multisensory support provide clear feedback? Does the audio/visual feedback support or does it confuse or distract? Before buying the software, consult with an educational expert to make sure that the software you are purchasing is designed to address the key educational factors that may effect your child's learning. For more in depth guidance see this link to SchwabLearning.org.



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