Assistive, Alternate, Accessible.
Assistive Technology (A.T.) is specially designed support hardware and software which helps people with special needs (including dyslexia) to be more efficient and independent at home, in education and in the workplace. It often enables better use of mainstream technology.
The Disabled Students Allowance and Access to Work are available to some dyslexic people. The Home Access scheme was for low-income families with school-aged children, which included some dyslexic families. The software supplied included some assistive technology.
Alternative Formats are versions of printed text, often digital. The Accessible Resources Pilot Project researched technology for users to convert print materials into their preferred format easily and quickly. This led to the My Textbooks provision. The British Dyslexia Association is a supporter of the Right to Read Alliance.
‘Accessible Formats’ is a more useful term because many documents, including web pages, are only available in one format, i.e. electronically. Accessibility to information is a legal obligation under the
Disability and Equality Act 2010. The British Dyslexia Association has an Accessible Formats Policy pdf file.
Mainstream hardware with useful facilities for dyslexia includes:
- Desktop, laptop or netbook computers.
- Scanning pens and scanners.
- Mobile phones.
- PDAs and electronic organisers.
- Electronic book readers.
Assistive Technology support software for dyslexia includes:
- Spellcheckers and prediction.
- Text to speech and e-books.
- Speech Recognition.
- Memory aids.
- Planning software including mind maps.
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