1999 Conference Proceedings

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QUICK & EASY READING AND WRITING STRATEGIES FOR PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES

HELEN MILLER, SPED
Educational Specialist in Assistive Technology
Center for Accessible Technology
Berkeley, CA
CforATtmf@aol.com

TINAMARIE FR¯NSDAL SPED
Educational Specialist in Assistive Technology
Center for Accessible Technology
Berkeley, CA
CforATtmf@aol.com

People with learning disabilities must often rely on an array of strategies to help them meet the challenges imposed by their disability. There are specific tools and strategies that can help people meet some of the challenges presented by reading and writing.

Assistive Technology offers us many tools for reading text. However, when it comes to writing, the technology is best utilized when paired with writing and organizational strategies. Strategies such as: utilizing built-in organizational features found in word processors; customizing dictionaries; using word prediction programs to help with spelling; or breaking down the writing process into manageable steps are a few examples of how to combine technology with strategies to make writing more manageable.

Auditory feedback can be an especially useful tool because it allows the user to read back electronic text. Auditory feedback can be used both as a writing and reading strategy. There are several types of programs which offer text-to-speech options, for example: word processors; utilities; stand-alone applications; and, specialized scanning programs. Some standard word processors, such as ClarisWorks 4.0 (C), have built-in auditory features. Other word processors do not have built-in auditory features but can be paired with other applications for text-to-speech options.

An auditory feedback tool can be used for reading back text, either as it is typed or after it has been entered into an electronic format. Simple Text (C), Text-Edit Plus (C), ClarisWorks 4.0 (C), IntelliTalk (C), and Write OutLoud (C) are examples of word processors with auditory feedback. Ultimate Reader (C) and Kurzweil 3000 (C) are standalone programs which offer extensive text-to-speech options. Monologue (C) is an application program that provides auditory feedback to programs that do not offer this feature.

We will be presenting a variety of quick and easy strategies for both writing and reading. In addition we will present an overview of specific application programs that are useful for individuals who have learning difficulties.


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