2000 Conference Proceedings

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Using textHELP!® Software to Assist Those With Reading and Writing Difficulties

Charlene Pollock
textHELP!® Systems Ltd.
Antrim, N. Ireland
Email: info@texthelp.com
Website: http://www.texthelp.com

We will explore in depth the many applications of textHELP!® Software, which has been designed specifically for people with learning difficulties and in particular, those who suffer from the problems associated with dyslexia.

Thousands of professionals and end Users are benefiting from this unique toolbar which works in any Windows application including spreadsheets, desktop publishing, word processors, E-mail and the Internet. The software is excellent for cross-curricular use in education. (textHELP!® software is also available in the Macintosh platform called Type & Talk).

The aim of this session is to demonstrate how technological advances such as the textHELP!® Software now mean that students with learning difficulties need not struggle with reading or writing helping to increase independence, motivation and accuracy of writing produced. Read & Write assists the User in overcoming difficulties in basic literacy skills.

textHELP!® Read & Write has several levels of support, each of which can be customized to suit the individual User. The content of the presentation will be to demonstrate each feature of Read & Write and offer suggestions as to how each can be used and adapted to maximize the potential of the User. Those who have mild to severe spelling difficulties (including phonetic and very complex errors) to those who have weak memory and recall of words when writing, attention deficit disorder and areas of scotopic sensitivity syndrome will all benefit positively when using textHELP!® software.

Features and benefits of textHELP!® software to be covered:

Speech feedback to provide support for Users who have difficulty reading anything on screen. All suggestions for spelling, word prediction and the thesaurus may be spoken. The text reader window allows the User to have the text highlighted by letter; word, sentence or paragraphs helping them concentrate on what the written word sounds like, giving audio and visual reinforcement.

Speaking phonetic spell checker assists the User in either spell checking work as it is type (more beneficial for chronic spelling difficulties) or check work after it has been typed (this is better for the A.D.D./L.D user).

Homonym identification visual and verbal support helps to ensure the appropriate word is selected in the context of the sentence.

Extensive thesaurus allows the user to search for alternative words supported with verbal descriptions and sample sentences helping to expand their range of vocabulary used.

Word association (Word Wizard) this is an excellent and innovative feature which assists the User with a weak memory/word re-call level. Word Wizard provides a logical leap for people who are lost for words, just type in the word known that is related to the word that is wanted, Wizard will find it in a few simple steps.

Word prediction and completion provided in textHELP!® software is intuitive and will only learn and suggest correctly spelt words. Prediction is a great productivity tool as it helps reduce the number of key stokes required to complete words and sentences. With the added benefit of words suggested being correctly spelt, a large proportion of the need to spell check will be eliminated.

Spelling Log for each user (based on the multi-profiling option) assists teachers/tutors with I.E.P.s and lesson plans as each student errors are logged, progress may be monitored.

Productivity tools such as automatic corrections for frequent spelling errors, abbreviation expansion for common phrases combined with other features of the software ensure that the User benefits from a comprehensive, flexible and easy to use solution for the difficulties encountered in areas of basic literacy.

Suggestions from attendees for future developments in our field of assistive technology are always appreciated and seriously considered.

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