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Authors: ADDitude.com

What Is Assistive Technology in the Classroom?

Assistive Technology (AT) helps students with ADHD or learning disabilities compensate for their academic challenges while building on their strengths. The right technology can offer to struggling students the confidence and independence they need to thrive and feel good about themselves.

For every learning challenge listed below, we offer a list of hand-picked tools, though most of these ATs promise to help students with ADHD or learning disabilities on a number of fronts. Many of the following technologies can be included in your child’s IEP and even used on state-level tests.

Assistive Technology for Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia is a math learning disability that impairs an individual’s ability to represent and process numerical magnitude in a typical way. Symptoms include difficulty with number sense, fact and calculation, and mathematical reasoning.

EquatIO

iOS, Windows; Free for teachers, other prices vary depending on licensewww.texthelp.com

EquatIO helps students more easily write math expressions, without getting bogged down in all those parentheses and square roots.

  • Dictate, type, or hand write math equations to have them automatically uploaded to a Google Doc or other document
  • The software understands what is being typed or handwritten, and turns those expressions into clear, accurate on-screen formulas

[Take This Test: ADHD Symptoms in Children]

ModMath

iOS; Free, in-app purchaseswww.modmath.com/

ModMath was designed by parents of a boy with dyslexia and dysgraphia to simplify basic math problems and detailed equations through the use of a touchscreen and keypad.

  • The app’s virtual graph paper creates a pencil-free format in which to complete arithmetic
  • Older students can complete more complex math equations inside the tool

Assistive Technology for Dyspraxia

Children with dyspraxia, a motor skills disorder, appear awkward when moving their whole body, or use too much or too little force. They struggle to imitate others, often mix up the steps in a sequence, and can’t come up with new ideas during play.

Bookshare

iOS, Windows, Google Chrome; Free

https://www.bookshare.org/cms/

Booshare offers texts in a variety of formats to benefit different learning styles and disabilities.

  • The customized reading experiences include audiobooks, audio with highlighted texts, braille, large font, and more
  • It also includes bookmarking and study tools, as well as partner apps for students

[Could Your Child Have a Learning Disability?]

Seeing AI

iOS, Free

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ai/seeing-ai

Seeing AI is a mobile tool designed for the low-vision community that also helps students who struggle with reading, writing, and motor skills.

  • Point your phone at text — handwritten or typed — and Seeing AI will read those words out loud
  • The app recognizes friends and people around you, as well as their emotions

Assistive Technology for Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing ability and fine motor skills. It interferes with spelling, word spacing, and the general ability to put thoughts on paper, and makes the process of writing laboriously slow.

Book Creator

iOS, PC; starts at $60 per teacher/yearbookcreator.com/

Book Creator is a collaborative platform that allows teachers and students to work together across multiple devices to create reports, comics, books, and portfolios.

  • Teachers and students create multimedia digital books with audio, video, text, or graphics
  • The tool captures audio and video recordings, which students may use to augment their work

Read & Write for Google

Google Chrome; Free for teachers, subscription service for studentshttps://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/readwrite-for-google-chro/  

Read & Write for Google is a Chrome extension that makes documents, web pages, and common file types more accessible for students with different learning abilities.

  • Words or passages can be read out loud using the text-to-speech feature
  • Text and pictures come with dictionaries
  • Word-prediction tool suggests phrases as you type
  • Dictate words and they appear on screen, eliminating handwriting
  • Type directly on PDFs
  • The Audio Maker feature allows teachers to create MP3 files of texts that students can listen to

Demo WordQ

Google Chrome; prices vary depending on devicehttps://www.quillsoft.ca/wordqchrome

Demo WordQ is an easy-to-use text editor Add On to Chrome that helps improve writing skills, especially for those with learning difficulties or for ESL students learning to write in English.

  • Word-prediction tool suggests phrases as you type
  • Speech recognition replaces handwriting with dictation
  • Spoken feedback is provided to help identify mistakes
  • Add direct annotations to PDFs

Demo Co Writer Universal

Google Chrome, iOS; in-app purchaseshttps://learningtools.donjohnston.com/product/cowriter/

Co:Writer Universal is a Chrome Add On that improves writing by suggesting words and phrases as you type in Google Docs — even if your grammar and spelling are off.

  • Word prediction helps students who spell phonetically
  • Speech recognition turns recorded words into text
  • Topic dictionaries automatically pull up topic-specific vocabulary

Livescribe

Prices vary depending on productwww.livescribe.com

Livescribe smartpens simplify writing and note-taking for students who struggle with handwriting on paper.

  • Digitize handwriting using a Livescribe “smart pen”
  • Use the pen to record audio along with notes
  • Share notes easily and immediately

Audio Notetaker from Sonocent

iOS, Windows, Android; prices vary depending on planhttps://sonocent.com/audio-notetaker/

Audio Notetaker is desktop software with a companion app that helps students take notes, write essays, compile research, and brainstorm.

  • Capture audio, text, and slides in one place
  • Organize and categorize note sets
  • Augment notes with drawings, diagrams, and graphs

Assistive Technology for Dyslexia

Dyslexia, one of the most common learning disabilities, causes difficulty with spelling and word recognition. Individuals with dyslexia struggle with reading comprehension and breaking down words into syllables.

Demo DocsPlus

iOS, Windows; prices vary depending on licensewww.cricksoft.com/us/docsplus

DocsPlus is software designed to help middle- and high-school students organize, write, and review long assignments, and also comprehend dense texts.

  • “Learning grids feature” allows teachers, students, and parents to download word walls on specific topics
  • Speech feedback helps to identify mistakes
  • Graphic organizers aid brainstorming

Demo Word Bank Universal

Google Chrome; in-app purchaseshttps://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/word-bank-universal

Word Bank Universal is a Chrome Add On that allows students to draw from and create relevant word banks to aid in vocabulary development, spelling support, and articulation when describing an article or other writing sample.

  • Topic-based word banks may overlay websites while they are read
  • Students may search more than 5 million existing word banks for vocabulary ideas
  • The text-to-speech features reads aloud to serve auditory learners

ReaderQ

Google Chrome; prices vary depending on devicewww.quillsoft.ca/readerq

ReaderQ is a Chrome Add On that eliminates distractions when reading web pages and help readers get to the main point of what they’re reading.

  • Adjust the text display to show highlighting and varied text sizes, as well as annotations
  • Select and save key words and phrases. A limit is placed on how much is selected to make sure only relevant points are saved
  • Used frequently by middle- or high-school students who need to reference information on the web when writing reports

ThoughtQ

Google Chrome; prices vary depending on devicewww.quillsoft.ca/thoughtq

ThoughtQ is a Chrome extension that provides “thought trigger” words and phrases based on a user’s Google searches to help them find additional information that is compatible with reading and academic level.

  • Users may import words and phrases to improve the tool’s word prediction
  • Definition lookup feature defines words in the context of any web page
  • Speech feedback helps teach pronunciation.

Mindomo

iOS, Android, Windows; Free, upgrades available for purchasewww.mindomo.com

Mindomo is mind-mapping software that allows students to create collaborative concept maps, outlines, and charts that simplify project planning.

  • Progress from outline to graphical mind map with one click, simplifying the outlining process for students who struggle to organize and rearrange their ideas
  • Students may embed videos and graphics in their mind maps
  • Includes templates for different types of writings, like a persuasive essay

Quizbit

Google Chrome, Freehttps://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/quizbit/

Quiz:bit is a simple, anonymous voting system for classrooms that helps teachers gauge understanding without embarrassing students who are struggling.

  • Educators craft questions, then students vote using micro:bits that wirelessly relay their answers.

Insert Learning

Google Chrome; Freehttps://insertlearning.com/

Insert Learning is a Chrome extension that lets teachers insert instructional content on any web page to make the Internet a more interactive learning experience.

  • Teachers can insert directly into web pages custom content ranging from videos to quiz questions
  • Teachers can add discussions for students, who can reply directly on the web page

Learning Ally

iOS, Windows; prices varyhttps://learningally.org/

Learning Ally is a multi-sensory reading accommodation that builds vocabulary, comprehension, and critical-thinking skills through interactive use of audio books.

  • Human-narrated books are available for all reading levels from grade 3 to grade 12
  • A suite of educator tools and resources helps teachers understand how to best use Learning Ally in the classroom
  • Allows older students to manage time and large projects with note sharing

Dr. Friedlander is an associate professor of education at the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, New Jersey, where he coordinates graduate programs in special education and teaches graduate courses in assistive technology. The content for this article came from his webinar titledTech to the Rescue: Create a Technology Toolbox for Struggling Students with ADHD and LD.” Listen to the replay here.

[Download These Teacher Approved Apps and Tools For School]

Read more https://www.additudemag.com/assistive-technology-for-students/