| Oct 18, 2012
People with disabilities such as dyslexia may need support with reading, writing and spelling to help them reach their full potential.
From children writing essays through to business people producing a report there is a range of software to help create well written documents.
Simple software such as word grids can provide writing support for anyone who struggles with word retrieval, spelling or typing. They can give you instant access to words or phrases via a pre-defined grid of words. EB WordBanks and EB WordBanks for Primary are great examples and provides editable word grids that sit discretely alongside practically any Windows application such as Word. Hover over a word within the grid to hear it spoken aloud, or click on the word to have it dropped into the document. This ‘point and click’ operation makes text entry quicker and less keyboard orientated whilst the inbuilt speech feedback offers audio support to ensure the correct word is selected. EB WordBanks is also suitable for anyone who may have RSI or other motor difficulties as keyboard strokes are reduced.
The EB WordBanks Editor tool makes it quick and easy to create new word banks using text from other documents, forms, internet and more. The in-built tools can be used to organise, format and filter the lists before designing and publishing the grid, allowing them to be shared with anyone else using the software.
There are two versions; EB WordBanks Primary uses content suitable for Year 1 to 6 and EB WordBanks comes pre-installed with wordlists for further & higher education or for those in the workplace. It includes topics on marketing, business, strategy, planning, and information technology along with specialist subjects such as Nursing & Social work.
For anyone who struggles with spelling and grammar, programs such as Oribi VeritySpell can help. It can provide support in producing documents by offering a means of checking the meaning, spelling and use of words within your document. VeritySpell helps users to grow in confidence whilst increasing their level of vocabulary.
This easy to use software package can be used in virtually any application and will help you compose well written and accurate documents by providing spelling and homophone support, along with real-word error checking and advice on common grammatical errors, punctuation and word usage.
Other forms of assistance for writing are word prediction packages. When typing these solutions provides a list of words suitable for the context of your writing; offering speech feedback you can choose the correct word for your document to reducing spelling errors and will also help lower keyboard strokes.
To boost confidence and increase reading and writing skills across a range of abilities PenFriend XL is a comprehensive literacy aid which includes prediction features. PenFriend XL is ideal for anyone with reading and writing difficulties, such as dyslexia or those with a physical/sensory disability including visual impairment and motor difficulties. It works within your word processor and accurately guesses the word you are typing; when you enter the first or second letter the word appears in the prediction window and with one key press will complete the word for you. It also offers you the next word if you wish.
Other features of PenFriend XL offers prediction and on-screen keyboards in English and 8 other languages with the ability to learn personal vocabulary patterns. There are 30 word lists or lexicons and you can add new topic words from files, web pages or by typing. Words in the prediction window are highlighted when they are spoken and the colour and fonts of these can be customised to suit your needs.
Word Prediction features can also be found on other software; for further information read the article called Multi-Function Literacy Software which describes assistive technology including text-to-speech toolbars such as Read & Write and ClaroRead.