Tools for Living with LD
Learning disabilities can't be cured or fixed. But with the help of tools, your child can work around her difficulties with reading, writing, numbers, spelling, organization, or memory. Tools help people of all ages with learning disabilities reach their full potential, giving them greater freedom and independence along the way.
How Tools Can Help
Everybody uses tools: People use dictionaries print or electronic to spell words correctly, and highlighters to help pick out important sentences in long pieces of writing.
People with learning disabilities often use some of these simple tools to help make everyday tasks easier:
More complex, high-tech tools can also be very helpful:
The following stories show how children with typical learning disabilities can use assistive technology to perform learning tasks with greater confidence and independence.
I'm Free to Write
Lisa is a third-grader who has a learning disability called dysgraphia, which makes it hard for her to write words on paper. Because of her disability, she falls behind in her schoolwork and becomes frustrated when she cannot write as easily, quickly, or legibly as her peers.
Using a software program that translates her voice into text on a computer screen, Lisa can write stories by talking to a computer rather than writing the words out by hand. Lisa has more freedom to communicate through writing. She can develop her potential with greater confidence as she improves her written expression skills.
Reading with My Ears
José is a high-school freshman whose dyslexia makes it difficult for him to read printed words on the page and then remember what he's read. He spends much longer on his reading assignments than his peers do, so they think he isn't as smart as they are. José is frustrated when he can't keep up with his friends, and often feels defeated even before he starts a reading assignment.
But with simple tools like books on tape and a tape recorder, José can listen to school textbooks and works of fiction. Listening makes it easier for him to understand and remember what he's "read," and helps him keep up with his classmates. He now feels better about his abilities in school and is more interested in reading outside of school.
Spelling on My Own
Raymond is a sixth-grader who likes to talk in class and does well giving speeches. But because he has a learning disability, reading and writing are not as easy for him. His learning disability, called dyslexia, makes it hard for him to identify certain letters and words.
Even with years of practice, Raymond's spelling is still so poor that many times no one can read what he writes. He has such a hard time telling the difference between letters that a spell-checker in a word-processing program isn't enough to help.
But a personalized word bank on the computer makes writing easier for Raymond. With the help of his teachers, he can create an electronic list of words he uses or misspells often. Then, he can select the words he needs from his electronic word bank rather than having to spell each of them out as he writes. Using assistive technology, Raymond is now almost as confident a writer as he is a speaker.
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