Suggested Apps for Learning Disabilities
The world of assistive technology has exploded in recent years. This is both exciting and overwhelming with the numerous options to wade through. It seems we are now at the phase of AT where we can say, “You name it, they’ve got it!” One area exploding with tons of options is apps and extensions for students with learning disabilities.
A cornucopia of Apps for LD
Whether the student needs help with reading, writing, math, or organization, there are AT options available to assist. Below, I will list my favorite apps and extensions for each area.
Apps or extensions for reading support range from text-to-speech, decreasing distractions, and dictionaries, to visual tracking, and so much more. These tools help students with reading fluency and comprehension. Snap&Read Universal reads websites, PDF’s, Google Drive documents, and even screenshots. Translate text when needed and use the dynamic text leveling feature to keep important information while making it readable for different reading levels. Check it out today.
Writing support can be voice typing, word prediction, pre-writing organization, spelling, and grammar. It’s also an excellent alternative to handwriting for students with physical disabilities. There are so many to choose from, but Voice Dream Writer is a robust app that works with iOS devices to help students write, either with an onscreen keyboard or voice dictation, proofreading through text-to-speech, and finding the right words or right spelling.
Reading & Writing
Combine the reading and writing support into one app or extension, and you have a powerful tool! My favorite, by far is TextHelp’s Read&Write. This is an excellent tool for students with dyslexia or those who are English Language Learners. Read&Write will read documents out loud, predict words with its robust and customizable word prediction, improve comprehension with the talking or picture dictionaries, use digital highlighters for studying or creating custom vocabulary lists, add voice notes, and so much more. TextHelp is available for desktop, tablet, or Chrome. The best part–it's free for teachers!
If you need to turn any paper document or worksheet into an accessible digital document, check out TextHelp’s SnapVerter.
Digital math makes math accessible. My favorite math extension for Google Chrome is TextHelp’s EquatIO. Use math prediction to find the right equation, handwrite on a touchscreen to convert handwritten answers to typewritten, and math-to-text allows students to speak their math equations or solutions. Teachers can use a smartphone or tablet to take a picture of a worksheet and convert it into an accessible digital format. Just like Read&Write, teachers can get the program for free! Follow the link above to sign up for both programs. Go to the Chrome Web Store to watch a video, learn more, or download.
Students with a learning disability often struggle with remembering assignments and when they are due. My favorite is the free Google Keep. Students can take notes, create checklists, voice notes, add pictures, and color-code for additional organization. Go check out this Flipped Classroom Tutorial on how to use Google Keep with your students.