When children have learning disabilities, parents and teachers look for anything that can give them the extra help they may need to compete with their peers. There is a definite need since the National Education Association is reporting that the number of children enrolled in special education programs has risen by 30% over the past 10 years.
For many children with learning disabilities, technology and digital programs can make all the difference. Technology can give kids that extra “something” they need to make up for an ability that is either missing or impaired. Something as simple as computer software can aid students with writing because it can help with motor skills, as well as with spelling. It can even help with taking notes in class.
There are a couple of software programs that can help students with learning disabilities:
Text to Speech Software
This bit of technology helps kids who have trouble reading regular print. It scans and reads the words in a synthesized voice. It uses a large number of speech sounds to make up words in any context.
Kurzweil 3000 Software
If a child struggles with reading, the Kurzweil 3000 Software may be able to help. This type of software can help kids with a non-print disability. Features include a picture dictionary graphics containing more than 40,000 words as well as tools for note taking and essay writing.
There are also hands-on programs that can help children with learning disabilities. Many are national and have chapters across the country, so finding one near you shouldn’t be that difficult. One example is Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities. This organization not only hosts local programs through its chapters, but also sends out free e-newsletters as well as provides valuable information on its website and its blogs.
Programs that involve coding have also been proven to help children with learning disabilities. These programs not only help kids with high-order thinking, but also help boost self-esteem. According to the National Center for Learning Disorders, many kids with a learning disability suffer from low self-esteem. Coding can help restore confidence in its building and creating mechanisms.
MakerKids is one such company that offers coding programs for children. Through workshops and camps, kids can not only learn coding, but also robotics and Minecraft. Programs also help with socialization outside of the classroom which is a skill that can later be used at school as well.
Minecraft is a great video game, in that there is a built in social layer. Kids are able to meet, chat with and build amazing 3d inventions with other like-minded kids.
Another avenue parents of children with learning disabilities may want to explore is the wonderful world of apps. Since we are living in a digital world, apps can help children in many areas, especially those who deal with dyslexia. Apps such as Find the Synonym and A+ Spelling Test help children with the order of letters in a fun way through playing games.
Audio Books are also a good tool for children who struggle with reading. Audio books have shown to reinforce comprehension, improve vocabulary, and improve pronunciation. Many books are available in the audio version so it shouldn’t be too hard to find one to interest your child.
With all of the tech and digital programs and resources, children with learning disabilities can be introduced to a whole new world of possibilities to help them thrive.