Virtual Assistance. Real Solutions.
Discover how the latest technologies can make your life easier
Tools That Make Challenging Tasks Simple
Assistive technologies are mostly digital software – and sometimes physical hardware – but in all cases they’re tools which have been designed to make a task (or several tasks) easier for a person with a learning disability.
That can make a hugely meaningful difference – when a person with a learning disability doesn’t have to rely on someone else, that means they get more independence and a greater sense of freedom.
Where Can I Use Them?
Get More Done With Help That’s Designed For You
Whether it’s at home, in the classroom, or at work, assistive technologies make it easier for people with learning disabilities to get things done. But not all learning disabilities are the same, which is why finding the right technology is a must.
There are so many things that assistive technologies can help with. There are “screen readers” that read on-screen text out loud; software programs which can help with spelling, grammar and writing; and even transcription software that recognizes your voice and writes documents for you.
Those are just a few examples of the ways that assistive technologies can lend a helping hand, and the best part is that – as technology improves – new tools are created, and existing tools become even better.
Assistive Technology FAQs
Is there specific software that you recommend?
We can give examples but do not endorse any specific products. The information we offer is only meant to guide you in your exploration.
The most valuable thing you can do is go online and do some research for yourself. It can also be incredibly helpful to talk to others who use assistive computer technologies and hear about what’s worked for them and how they’ve adjusted to their tools.
How can I try out different assistive technologies?
In many cases, you can demo products at stores which sell assistive technologies, and in the case of software products, many are available online as previews or free trials.
Conferences are also a great place to check out new and popular assistive technology products. Vendors often bring equipment for people to try, and have 30-day trial codes or CDs that you can use to test a product.
Are most software programs expensive?
It depends – some products are free, while others can cost thousands of dollars. It all depends on the product. One place to check out would be the Adaptech Research Network. It has a lot of really useful information in its Downloads section.
Keep in mind that “expensive” doesn’t necessarily mean “better”, though. That’s why it’s so important to try out products and find out what works best for your situation. Why pay for a bunch of features that you don’t need, right?
Some common programs also have accessibility functions built into them already. Microsoft Word, for example, comes with text-to-speech capabilities, so if you only need Microsoft Word documents read out loud, then you probably don’t need to buy anything else.
Are there government programs to help pay for assistive technologies?
If you meet certain requirements, then yes, you might be able to take advantage of government funding for assistive technologies. For example, full-time primary, secondary, and post-secondary students who have documented learning disabilities may be eligible for government funding.
How can you access these funding sources? Start by visiting the Quebec Loans and Bursaries Program website. They’ll have lots of information about what funds are available and how you can access them. One thing to note, though, is that they recognize language and speech impairments but not “learning disabilities.”
What suggestions can you provide to help me pick the best software for my child’s needs?
If you’re just starting to look for resources that can help your child, here are a couple of great resources that we recommend:
Assistive Software: What’s New
The latest and greatest digital learning disability tools
Writing tool (Contextual spelling and grammar checker)
Screen Reading software
Hand scanner from paper to electronic format
Citation, Version 9.0
Generates proper format for citations and bibliographies
Screen reading software with editing and grammar tools
Assistive Software: Old Favourites
Proven programs that have stood the test of time
Kurzweil 3000 – Version 12
Screen reading software
Reading & writing software
Word prediction software
Dragon Naturally Speaking