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You are in: Home > Articles > Speech Input for Users with Learning Difficulties

Speech Input for Users with Learning Difficulties


It is possible to combine speech input with software that displays symbols rather than words on the screen, offering a method of confirmation which does not require the user to be able to read.

When it comes to printing material all the user has to do is say 'print' instead of having to navigate the menu. Single word commands can also be used to load programs, so instead of having to search for an icon and double click on it, all that is necessary is to say "load word-processor" and the speech system will give the computer the necessary instructions.

Within complex pieces of software short commands can be used to bring up various options. For example, in a drawing program the command 'ellipse' can be used to bring up an ellipse drawing tool. This means that speech input can be used alongside other methods of input such as the keyboard and mouse and still give considerable help in using the computer.

As speech input systems are still relatively expensive, both in terms of software, additional hardware needed and memory requirements, some care is needed before deciding that speech input will benefit a particular user.

It is important to bear in mind the various skills that will be needed both to create and compose the text that may be entered into the computer. Also the skills of reading or comprehending the input and confirming its correctness or otherwise.

It is clear that developments will soon bring us to a point were computers will be able to recognise anyone's speech straight away, without a process of training. This will have considerable impact on how people use computer systems in certain situations.



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