6 Cognitive impairments, including dyslexia
6.4 Use of computers by dyslexic people
In general, people with dyslexia may have difficulty reading, and may also have difficulty in composing and physically writing or typing their own work. This group can be supported in their use of computers by assistive technology for both input and output and they may use a range of software to assist them in reading and writing, depending on their particular needs. People who have difficulties with reading may use text-to-speech software which reads text out, and may provide a visual indication as words are spoken so that the user can follow the voice. People who have difficulty reading may also use software or operating system settings to change the presentation of the text. The type of presentation depends on the specific needs of the individual, but many find it useful to change the size, character spacing, line spacing and line length of text on the screen. Also different combinations of text and background colour can make text more readable, as in Figure 4 earlier.
People who have difficulty composing or writing text may use voice recognition software to dictate into the computer. Others may use word-prediction utilities to increase the ease and speed of composing text.
The next activity is a case study of how one person with dyslexia uses a computer to help her read and write.
Video, Click to watch 'Dyslexic Computer User'.
Download low resolution video
Click play to start.
You should allow 0 hour(s), 10 minute(s).
Video, Dyslexic Computer User
How does Marion use a computer to help her read and write?
Marion uses large fonts, a yellow background, and speech output.
The following Box describes a typical device useful for everyone but especially for dyslexic people.
Box 5: A reading pen
The publicity material is as follows:
This is perhaps how all dictionaries will be. WizCom's Reading Pen has also been around for some time. In its latest version it will scan and read a whole line out loud, although it is most useful for people who have problems reading (decoding) individual words.
Scan a word and listen to it.
If that is still not enough, look it up in the comprehensive dictionary.
Listen to it read the dictionary definition.
With a Memory Extension Kit it can also scan and store quotes and notes, and can take translation dictionaries, e.g. FrenchEnglish for those studying or working in other languages.
Research shows it speeds learning because a student can experience many more words, and hear the phonic pattern, so reinforcing the learning, in the time that it would take to look up one word in a dictionary, or decode it with a teacher one to one.