Last week in this space, we mentioned that October is a busy time for disability awareness. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). It is also Blindness Awareness Month, as well as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) awareness Dyslexia Awareness Month. In this week’s Assistive Tech Tuesday column, we cover the use of AAC in another important context: Dyslexia Awareness Month.
Meet Abigail, a Student with Dyslexia
Like many eager and smart people with dyslexia, Abigail wanted to succeed in college. She was aware of the challenges she felt in high school with reading decoding and comprehension, as well as spelling. During her senior year, Abby obtained a N.J. Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and DVR Services (DVRS) referral or an assistive technology evaluation with Advancing Opportunities. There, AT Specialist Kristen Russell provided Abby a laptop through the Technology Lending Center. On the laptop, Abby had the opportunity to try out several software programs that could assist her in the areas of reading and spelling.
For spelling, two programs she found very useful and loved were Word Q and Ginger. Word Q is a word-prediction program that interfaces with all applications that accept text. This program is helping Abby with spelling in her written assignments. The other program is Ginger Software, which assists Abby with identifying spelling and grammar errors while completing written and presentation assignments. She appreciates the fact that Ginger reads sentences back to her, so she can make sure what she composed says what she intended it to say. While Word Q and Ginger are helpful on their own, that the two work together so well allowed Abby to write with much greater ease and confidence.
For reading, Abby decided to continue to continue using Kurzweil K3000, a program that converts text to speech, reading aloud text files that are imported, as well as pages on the internet. She had been using K3000 since she was in high school.
All three programs are described in greater detail in our case study on Abby. In addition, Abby has access to materials from our partner LearningAlly. With all this technical support, Abby continues to love studying and learning new subjects in college and at home.
Assistive Technology – Dyslexia