With so many tools, strategies, and opinions about the use of assistive technology for our students with high incidence disabilities such as dyslexia, it can be difficult to get a program started. The biggest challenges we faced as we began were cost and what would work best. I had the opportunity to attend the Technology, Reading, and Learning Disabilities (TRLD) conference run by Don Johnston. This was my first opportunity to learn about the technology that could help Groves students. Doors were opened and a passion was ignited. We started with one text-to-speech program and began to see results. As we learned more, there became a greater desire to have more. Our most recent additions are Snap&Read and Co:Writer. These fit extremely well with our curriculum and the move to more online resources.
Our Lower School has a Festival of Nations each year. Every classroom picks a different country and researches the culture, food, sports, education, government, and geography. This research relied very heavily on the teacher curating web sites and spending time with each student to assist with their research. The introduction of Snap&Read has allowed the students to become more independent in their searches and collection of information.
A middle school student with a significant dyslexia diagnosis struggled to get his ideas on paper. We spent time learning about dictation and gave him a headset to use. The result was dramatic.