When breaking through some of the myths and stigmas surrounding dyslexia and dyscalculia, it’s important to remember a few key facts. About 70%-80% of people globally who have reading disabilities or poor reading skills suffer from dyslexia specifically.
One in five students, or 15%-20% of the population, has a language based learning disability. Dyslexia, affects three million people a year, and dyscalculia impacts 6%of the population.
What all this means is that these are common things many people around the world deal with everyday and that dyslexia and dyscalculia are two of the more common educational disabilities in the world.
Help From Technology
Through technology, a lot can be accomplished in coping with and succeeding with these disabilities. We luckily live in a time where there are advantages and strategies like never before. No longer do we live in a time where being dyslexic is misdiagnosed or taboo.
In fact, we live in a time where emerging technologies are making meaningful differences in the lives of people with dyslexia and dyscalculia.
Text To Speech
This widely used software allows individuals to have written materials read aloud to them. For those who have difficulty with reading comprehension, this can be a real gamechanger.
Mind Mapping Software
Mind mapping software is a technology that allows individuals to organize and clarify their own internal thoughts before writing them down. The emphasis is on visual learning which entails the use of keywords, colors, and other images to help concentrate focus and comprehension.
Specifically helpful for those with dyscalculia, electronic math worksheets help individuals organize, align, and work through math problems from a computer screen. Numbers that appear on the screen can be read aloud with a speech synthesizer, similar to the technology mentioned above.
This can be of help to individuals who have trouble aligning math problems with pencil and paper.
Google has a host of built-in tools and extensions for dyslexic users. The Chrome browser has a search by voice feature for example. There are numerous Chrome extensions available as well and more are being added every day.
Read & Write For Google is one such example. This extension provides numerous support structures depending on the type of content being used. A toolbar features text-to-speech with synchronized highlighting, a talking dictionary, a picture dictionary, and annotation tools.
Ginger is a contextual spelling and grammar checker which functions a little differently than traditional spellcheck. Rather than simply look for misspelled words, Ginger analyzes the context in which the word is being used. It also suggests alternative phrasing for sentence construction.
There are plenty of emerging products and services which help students cope with various learning disabilities including dyslexia and dyscalculia. Our system, MyMultiplicationMagic, draws on a multisensory learning model which seeks to engage struggling students on multiple fronts to aid comprehension and retention.
As more technologies become available, dyslexia and dyscalculia will benefit from continued innovation which makes coping with these conditions more manageable.
Stanberry, Kristin. Rasking, Marshall, Ph.D – Dyscalculia.org