Most of the Assistive Technology software applications designed for students with learning disabilities/dyslexia are focused on accommodating the reading process. However, there are also a large number of software applications that can assist students with learning disabilities in other ways including, planning, time management, organization, speech-to-text (for students who also have written expression issues), audio recordings, note-taking and many others.
The following are lists and resources for locating lists of apps, software applications and other technologies designed to assist students with learning disabilities/dyslexia.
Most of the reading apps for students with learning disabilities/dyslexia might be referred to as “enhanced literacy applications.” These are essentially e-reader/e-book applications with additional enhancements designed to support the reader. It should be noted that these are typically seen as accommodations for students who struggle with reading rather than tools to instruct or remediation reading difficulties.
“Enhanced Literacy” features include:
- Text-to-speech – Text is read to the student and controls present to change the voice and speed of the speech.
- Font size and style changes – Allows the student to changing the type, size or color of font.
- Font color and background changes – Allows the student to change the font color and or background color
- Highlighted words – While using the text-to-speech feature, the application highlight the words, sentences or paragraph when reading back.
- Built-in glossaries – Allows the student to look up the meaning of words without having to leave the text.
- Notation/annotation – Allows the student to “mark-up” or make notes regarding the text.
There are many enhanced literacy apps and software programs on the market, many of which are rather expensive. However, increasingly many of the “literacy enhancements” are now being offered either freely as apps or browser extensions or can be found included into the device’s OS.
One of the best resources we have found listing various software applications and apps for students with learning disabilities/dyslexia was developed by educator Jamie Martin. Here are links to some of the resource pages on his website:
- Desktop software and applications – These are typically propitiatory e-book-reading software applications that work with a variety of e-book formats.
- Web-based tools – Several browser add-ons, plug-ins or extensions, as well as some websites providing tools for students.
- Chrome Apps and Extensions – Literacy tools that work with the Chrome browser or Google Chromebooks
- iOS Apps – A rather extensive list of various apps that work with Apple iOS devices (e.g., iPads, iPods, iPhones) designed for students with learning disabilities.
- Android Apps – Another rather extensive list of apps for students with learning disabilities that work with Android devices.
Training webinars and videos
- AIM For Learners With Dyslexia – Maine AIM Program webinar archive from October 2015.
- AT And AIM/AEM For On-Demand Access To Reading Materials – Maine AIM webinar archived from May 2016.
- AIM Under 5: AIM for Learners with Dyslexia – short video about AIM and Dyslexia
Articles and other external resources
- Will Digital Accessible Books Improve Reading for Students with Dyslexia?
- Educational Technology Guy – Special Ed and Chromebooks resources
- 7 Google extensions & apps for learning disabilities
- 10 categories of recommended apps and software for students with learning disabilities
Lists of lists
- University of Michigan – Dyslexia – AT Software
- University of Michigan – Dyslexia – Tools and Apps
- Dyslexia Materials – AT for Dyslexia
- Reading Rockets – Literacy Apps for Dyslexia
- Teaching with Your iPad – Special Education apps
- Apps for Children with Special Needs – A compiled list of 1000 apps used by teachers, therapists and parents
Final note: If you know of other resources on this topic please contact us to share!
Photo credit: Image licensed through Creative Commons by Brad Flickenger.