Learning Difficulties and Impairments
Learning difficulties and impairments can range from conditions such as dyslexia and attention deficit disorder to retardation. Processing problems are the most common and have the most impact on a person's ability to use computer applications. These conditions interfere with the learning process. Many individuals with learning difficulties and impairments are perfectly capable of learning if information is presented to them in a form and at a pace that is appropriate to them individually. During the learning process, many individuals with learning difficulties benefit from having a multisensory experience of audio speech paired with a visual representation. Reducing visual and auditory distractions can also aid the learning process for many people.
- Word prediction programs allow the user to select a desired word from an on-screen list located in the prediction window.
- This list, generated by the computer, predicts words from the first one or two letters typed by the user. The word can
- then be selected from the list and inserted into the text by typing a number, clicking the mouse or scanning with a
- switch. These programs help users increase written productivity and accuracy, and increase vocabulary skills through word
- Reading comprehension programs focus on establishing or improving reading skills through ready-made activities, stories,
- exercises, or games. These programs can help users practice letter sound recognition and can increase the understanding
- of words by adding graphics, sound, and possibly animation.
- Reading tools and learning disability programs include software designed to make text-based materials more accessible for
- people who struggle with reading. Options can include scanning, reformatting, navigating, or speaking text out loud. These
- programs help people who have difficulty seeing or manipulating conventional print materials; people who are developing
- new literacy skills or who are learning English as a foreign language; and people who comprehend better when they hear and
- see text highlighted simultaneously.
- Speech synthesizers (often referred to as text-to-speech (TTS) systems) receive information going to the screen in the
- form of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks, and then "speak" it out loud. Individuals who have lost the ability to
- communicate orally can use a speech synthesizer to communicate by typing information and letting the speech synthesizer
- speak it out loud.
- Speech recognition systems, also called voice recognition programs, allow people to give commands and enter data using
- their voices rather than a mouse or keyboard.