October is ADHD Awareness Month

Assistive Technologies

 Assistive Computer Technologies are:

  • Software or hardware that assists users with different disabilities.
  • Also called Adaptive Computer Technologies.

The potential benefits of Assistive Computer Technologies:

  • Increased independence – the user is not dependent on others.
  • More productivity and better work quality can increase confidence.
  • Does not “fix” a learning disability.

Questions & Answers

Whith what kinds of tasks can computer software help ?

Computer software can be classified under the following headings:

  • Software that reads what is on the computer screen or in a digital file such as a Word or Notepad file
  • Called screen reader or text-to-speech.
  • Examples are ReadPlease and TextAloud.
  • Software that scans and reads paper documents (needs a scanner)
  • Called scanning and optical character recognition (OCR) software.
  • Examples are OmniPage and ABBYY FineReader.
  • Software that improves writing quality
  • Includes grammar and spell checkers, word prediction software and graphic organizers.
  • Examples are Antidote (French), WordQ and Kidspiration.
  • Software that writes what you say.
  • Dictation software that uses voice recognition.
  • Examples are Dragon NaturallySpeaking and ViaVoice.
  • Software that assists with reading and writing.
  • Integrates features such as highlighting and study notes.
  • Examples are Kurzweil 3000, WYNN, and Read and Write Gold.
Is there other software that you would recommend ?
  • We can give examples but do not endorse any specific products. We are here to guide you in your exploration.
  • You need to do your own research: talk to others who use assistive computer technologies or look things up on the internet.
How can I try out different products ?
  • There are demonstration versions and preview offers online.
  • Vendors often bring 30 day trial CD’s to conferences (LDAQ conference).
Are most software programs expensive ?
  • Prices range from free downloads to over $1,000, depending on the product.
  • Adaptech Research Network (http://www.adaptech.org) provides useful information on its Downloads section.
  • Some general use software programs perform functions similar to those of assistive computer tehcnologies.
Are there government programs to help pay for assistive computer techologies ?
  • Full time students with documented learning disabilities at the primary, secondary, and post-secondary level may be eligible for government funding.
  • Go to the Quebec Loans and Bursaries Program website (http://www.afe.gouv.qc.ca/en/)
  • Note that the Quebec Loans and Bursaries Program recognizes language and speech impairments, but not “learning disabilities.”
What suggestions can you provide to help select the correct software to meet my child's needs ?

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