2002 Conference Proceedings

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HELPING BECOME A FLUENT AND PROFICIENT WRITER WITH WORDSMITH

Mark McCusker
textHELP Systems Limited
paul@texthelp.com

Hand-out will be supplied offering detailed insight into features of textHELP products.

Learning Out Comes:

In this session you will become aware of the many applications textHELP software has in different situations dealing with a wide array of disabilities in literacy.

From the computer Users who have mild reading and/or writing difficulties who would benefit from a screen reading function and perhaps a prompt from time to time regarding the appropriate word to use in context, or perhaps the User who has severe dyslexia and traditionally has require intensive one on one support from tutors, parents and teachers.

Scenarios will be cited as each feature and associated advantages and benefits are illustrated and discussed.

SUMMARY:

"With teaching adapted to their particular learning style, young people with dyslexia should be able to perform on a level with their peers in virtually every sphere-even in writing and spelling-now with the aid of new technology." Dr Steve Chinn

This session will explore the technology needs of the individual with a learning disability. We will offer in-depth insight into how textHELP programs can be used to promote integration into mainstream education and the work-place.

It is widely recognised that the separate class-room or resource room is no longer as common as it had been in the past. Between the years 1986 - 1996 there was twenty percent more students being educated in mainstream classroom. This has a direct impact on teachers and educators in terms of their time and independence whilst in the classroom. With more and more pressure on schools and school boards to manage special education budgets and to provide assistive technology for students with difficulties, there is an increasing need for a cost effective solution. textHELP Systems Ltd provide a solution and varying degrees of support for those with; learning disabilities, low vision and fine motor skill difficulties.

Participants will be 'talked through' the features of WordSmith, offering them the first hand experience of the disability issues that these features can address We will consider the practical strategies that can be employed in order to effectively promote the independence of both the user and the educator. The participants will see the advantages and benefits of using textHELP software in the school, at home or in the office environment. The key tools to becoming a proficient writer will be discussed at length, these include:

Speech feedback (with dual colored tracking)
Phonetic speaking spell checker
Audible Homophone support
Context and phonetic based word prediction
Extensive 180,000 word Thesaurus with sample sentences
Word Wizard - A type of word map
Optional Multi-profile log - in for Users
Scanning into Word or IE 5
Pronunciation Tutor with moving mouth and syllables

The session will look at the provision of assistive technology that provides support within all applications on the computer. The need to have freedom and independence in all applications defines the limits of many types of literacy software, too many limit the user to one application. We will look at ways in which textHELP software can empower and encourage the use of all applications whilst providing unequalled literacy support. The continuing development of Read & Write and the release of BrowseAloud lend themselves to promote independence, develop creative writing and to increase confidence.


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