Human language

The best assistive technology for dyslexics

“I always recommend two different tools for kids: text-to-speech and word prediction,” says Martin. “Fortunately, the technology has come a long way and is no longer expensive. The built-in dictation tools on devices like phones, iPads, and Google Docs work amazingly well.

The problem is that children may not want to use speech to text in class because it disturbs other students, or they feel embarrassed going out in the hallway. They can use headphones, but teachers are not always fond of this option during lessons. Programs that help with word prediction, spell checking, and grammatical formatting like these will help with digital writing.

Co: writer

the Web, OIS, Chrome extension

From Facebook groups to pundits, Co: Writer has repeatedly established itself as the best writing tool for people with dyslexia and those who have difficulty handwriting or expressing their thoughts.

Janowski loves Co: Writer because you can create word libraries based on what you write, or you can select from those already available. For example, you can select the Harry Potter library, and when you start typing Hog, Hogwarts will appear. The app also does a great job of recognizing phonetic misspellings, like blk for black or lfnt for elephant.

TO $ 4.99 / month for students, parents or educators, the price to pay is low. School districts may also purchase a license for a large number of students and may be able to offer it for free while your child is in school. Once you install the app or extension, it automatically syncs with Gmail, Google Docs, and more.

Read and Write for Google Chrome

Chrome extension

My daughter’s special education coordinator set up Read & Write for Google Chrome on her school account, so I had a chance to see how it works in action. The plugin uses tools like screen shading (only the line being read is visible), simplify (summarizing complex language), and speak and type for a text-to-speech option. My ten year old daughter is sailing like a pro, and the fact that the school gave it to her is a big plus.

The basic plugin is free, but the premium version includes support for Google Docs, especially multiple highlighting options for active reading, highlight extraction, vocabulary board, normal and picture dictionary. and word prediction. According to Google, the premium version is free for teachers and costs $ 99 for an annual subscription for student accounts.


the Web

Martin says Grammarly is little more than what most kids need, and it’s for ages 13 and up, so keep that in mind. It is a cloud-based program that integrates with Google Docs and has a plug-in for Microsoft Word. The great thing about Grammarly is that it takes into account the context surrounding a word and can suggest changing something like yours if necessary.

The app also makes suggestions for rephrasing wordy sentences and adding transition sentences that can improve your writing. However, the full range of features is not available on the free version. You will need to upgrade to Premium for $ 29.95 / month or $ 139.95 / year.


Photograph: Getty Images

Not all people with dyslexia have difficulty with math, so the options are not as broad as language-based apps. If your child struggles like mine, Martin and Janowski recommend the following.

Microsoft math solver

IOS, Android

This free app allows users to write a math problem on the screen or use their camera to take a picture of the problem. The app then provides the answer and step by step instructions on how to find the solution. Students can use the example as a guide to solve other problems.

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