Dyslexia- Typing and Assistive technology

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Typing can be very useful for lots of students and adults with learning differences.

Typing can help them process the thoughts from their head onto the page, often a lot quicker than handwriting. This article outlines some top tips around typing and some items to access such as;

  1. Approval for state exams or just for home use- important to determine what permission has been granted for the student to use technology. If they are not granted permission, or it is unlikely that a student will be entitled to use it for the exam, I would limit to use of the application so the student doesn’t become to dependent. However, used every now and then to make life easier, is generally fine!
  2. Keyboard – Bluetooth or connected cable.
  3. Spare chargers in case one breaks but also to have one in the school bag and the other permanently at home on the desk.
  4. iPad vs laptops v tablets, ideally getting more than one charger so you can keep one charger all of the time in school/ college bag and one at home on the desk.
  5. Typing practice software such as Typing.com and Nessy.com. Usually, typing.com caters to teenagers and adults and generally, younger students use Nessy.com. Also, stay up to date with Nessy features as they offer a wide range of very useful tools for students.
  6. Mouse – wireless or connected- size and shape and not too many colours can be distracting!
  7. Wide desk space and alignment with chair for posture and footrest
  8. Assistive technology and add on’s such as dictate and Microsoft online tools
  9. Schools google classroom or portal that is implemented in your school and lots of built-in features to explore. Regular practice and bring it into school every day if possible or else leave it in the classroom if it will be kept safe.
  10. Monitor – often a wider screen helps with using the text more clearly than a small laptop screen.

Usually, it is a good option to use some of these suggestions in stages as if they were implemented all at once, they might be overwhelming.

It also is important if the student has access to technology for exam purposes, then the student should be using that technology in advance for them to become familiar with it.

It is also important to note that some pieces of software and devices a student might not like or might not see the benefit of using therefore I would suggest liaising with the school to see what software be can trial first before purchasing at home.

Usually, two or three pieces of software that can be used regularly is the most helpful than obtaining lots of different pieces and each having limited use.