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ADHD RESOURCES

Assistive Technology Part 2

Number TWO in a Series of THREE

    Help for students whose oral language skills are stronger than their written language skills:Image

In my many years of working with students with diagnosed learning disabilities and/or ADHD, I have frequently observed students who know information but are unable to convey on paper for others to see, or, if able, not accurately or thoroughly. Having the ability to transfer “thinking” to “written expression” is an important skill for students when informing others of what they know. It is important on tests, exams, discussion questions, essays, research papers, and any requirement for text-based delivery of information. For students who have difficulty getting their thoughts from their HEAD, down their ARM, through their HAND, onto the PAPER, Dragon Dictate Naturally Speaking can be a powerful assistance.

Dragon Naturally Speaking is a voice-to-text software program. Students speak what they want typed into a microphone, and the software converts into written text. It requires a student establish a voice recognition file through continuous training. Fortunately, with advanced improvements in the technology, it can be completed in less time (varies from person to person, but usually 3-4 sessions), and is more adaptable to accents, inflections, or other differences than ever before. Once an individual has a voice recognition file established, the efficiency and ease of usability improves with practice and the rewards of writing clearly through use of one’s voice is achieved.

The Dragon software is very helpful to students who have a difficult time expressing their thoughts on paper, for students who have difficulty with spelling, and for students who have difficulty with the physical act of writing. Also, students who have difficulty organizing their thoughts from “head” to “paper” have a way, with this technology, of having it digitally read aloud, and often realize “that’s not what I meant to say” and are able to alter their words. Throughout my years of working with students with diagnosed learning disabilities and/or ADHD, I have watched students thrive as they have a means with Dragon of letting others know what they know in a more accurate  and precise way. And, interestingly, I have met physicians, lawyers, contractors, and diagnosticians who have found the Dragon software to be helpful. The version recommended for everyone is the professional-level one, and not the one found on shelves in office supply stores.

Lynne Gentry Neaves, MA-Special Education

Master’s-level Reading Specialist