Assistive Technology

Computers, tablets and smartphones, and the software they use, can be extremely useful tools for people with dyslexia

They can support key areas of difficulty including reading, spelling and study skills.  Technology can help solve many of the problems faced by people with dyslexia in everyday life, education and employment. The range of technologies available is constantly evolving and growing.  Technology can be used to assist the learning process, and provide valuable reinforcement, customisability, variety and can increase motivation.  However, no technological solution will itself be a substitute for individualised specialist teaching.

With so many programmes and products available, it is easy to become confused with the choice.  Some established software and apps can be expensive.  The software is increasingly built-in to devices and is therefore often free and even for paid products it can sometimes be possible to get a free 30-day demo or ‘lite’ version, where introductory levels are free and further levels can be purchased.  It is also now nearly always possible to find demonstration videos online for virtually any piece of equipment, software or app.  It is always worth checking if the makers of the product have demo videos.

CALL Scotland have a range of excellent guides to Assistive Technology www.callscotland.org.uk. Check out their Apps wheels.

Enable Ireland AT Service and the Dyslexia Association of Ireland have collaborated to produce a free learning resource outlining free and low cost apps and software to support literacy. This short eLearning module should be of interest to parents, students, teachers and other professionals working with people with dyslexia. To access this Study Smart module just follow the link below, find the Study Smart module, and click the “Login as Guest” button: https://enableirelandat.ie/

This free module is available in a number of formats if you would like to use it on your own blog or website. It is also available in SCORM format for use in schools or colleges own Learning Management Systems (Moodle etc.).

Funding

For school students with very significant dyslexia, the school can apply to the Department of Education and Skills for a laptop/tablet and any specialist software needed by the individual student.  Details of the scheme can be found on the Departments website: https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Services/Grants-and-Additional-Support/Assistive-Technology-Grant/

If a computer/tablet and/or software is bought by parents or an individual for home/personal use, the VAT can be claimed back. More information is available on the Revenue’s website: https://www.revenue.ie/en/vat/repayments-to-unregistered-persons/disabled-persons/how-to-reclaim-vat-on-aids-and-appliances-for-persons-with-a-disability.aspx