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You are in: Home > Articles > ICT and Specific Learning Difficulties and/or Dyslexia

ICT and Specific Learning Difficulties and/or Dyslexia

 

Information Communication Technology can have much to offer to those who have particular difficulties in writing and/or reading which are not apparent in other areas of their abilities. Although there may be disagreement over the diagnosis and causes of these difficulties it is now commonly accepted that some people have a specific difficulty with reading and writing.

ICT can be used to help people with dyslexia, both by providing support for writing and reading and to give opportunities for reinforcing and practising skills.

ICT for recording
The computer is a valuable tool for helping people to write and store work. The use of word processors is now widespread, and most commonly used systems also offer additional feature that can help users with dyslexia. Additional software and hardware can be used to provide extra features to help users.

Benefits of ICT
When choosing ICT it is important to have a clear idea of the user's needs and an understanding of how ICT might help. This will help to ensure that the equipment and software chosen is appropriate and can be used. A full word processor may not be suitable for a young child who is just learning to write. A student studying for a degree will need to have a suitable system for their work. Provision for support and training is also required, and a trial period may be needed to fully evaluate the suitability of the equipment chosen.

Starspell 2001Structured learning activities
The computer is an excellent way of providing word finding and spelling activities. With the use of pictures and the addition of high quality speech, the learner is provided with a multi-sensory approach. The programs chosen, including the ever popular Starspell and WordShark 4, have all been carefully designed to allow the teacher to select suitable activities for the individual student.

The mechanics of writing
Many people with dyslexia find that they have problems with the mechanics of writing which can make them slow and reluctant writers. The effort required will often distract them from thinking about the content of the work and final checking will be harder if their writing is hard to read. Some people find that when using a keyboard and screen they can devote more attention to the content and spelling of their writing. They also find it much easier and less depressing to read and correct their work on the screen.

Adaptations and alterations can be made to the standard computer and software to give additional support if this is required.

Keyboard - Keyboard skills are essential if anyone is to make effective use of a computer for their work. Touch Type and UltraKey 5 are excellent programs for older pupils to practice and perfect keyboard skills. For younger learners, programs such as TypeQuick for Students or Speedy Keys provide structured keyboarding activities that are fun to use too! The response of the keyboard can be adjusted if the user has any problems with repeated letters when typing. Some children may prefer to have lowercase letters, this can be done by using stickers or by buying an alternative keyboard. Attention should also be given to seating and the positioning of the equipment, including suitable lighting.

Speedy KeysTouch Type

 

Monitor and display
The monitor can be adjusted for brightness and contrast, an anti-glare screen can also help. The quality of the monitor will also affect the picture, better quality CRT monitors have displays that are free of flicker as do all LCD screens. Adjustments to the size and colours of the display can be made using the systems control panels to help improve legibility. With programs such as word processors it is possible to select colours, fonts (shapes of letters) and sizes to suit the individuals preferences.

Software for Dyslexia

 

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