Dyslexia and Google Docs

With the increase in the number of schools and colleges using Google Docs web-based application, it becomes critical to ask the following question: What is the impact of this shift on pupils and students with dyslexia and/or dysgraphia?

The question could be further narrowed: What impact does this move from the use of MS-Word have on the ability of a dyslexic student to read/write/edit/dictate text documents?

 

For making basic editing tasks and creating good looking rich-text documents, Google Docs has a very simple and clear interface. There are many good fonts, including Serif family fonts, and font color as well as background color could be easily adapted. When a user enables Screen Reader in Accessibility Preferences of the user’s Google Account Preferences, several screenshot readers (e.g. ChromeVox) are available. Screenshot Readers are available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc., but these browser-dependent addins provide different sets of features and qualities.

Another accessibility related option is, however available, the use of a generic Screenshot Reader working with any application on screen. For example, Ghotit Screenshot Reader is a valuable example coming as a part of the Ghotit Real Writer & Reader 5 software.

 

Texts should preferably be formatted and adapted to each student’s individual needs. Documents should take a visually comfortable size, fonts and colors. It could be much easier to comprehend a text if a Read Aloud option is also available. All these reading facilitators are absent when the document is provided in a read-only format, without editing privileges, or when a student is hesitant about making changes to an original document. Ghotit Reader solves this problem by importing the selected text into its own window where student can change the fonts, adapt the foreground and background colors and read it aloud with dual highlighting.

 

For students without learning disabilities, writing in Google Docs is a smooth experience. However, since many students with dyslexia and dysgraphia are slow typists and need Word-Prediction, using Google Docs AS IS could be a frustrating experience. Google Docs does not offer a Word-Prediction option (while an Autocomplete option is available in MS-Word). There are several addins for browsers working with Google Docs and adding a well needed word-prediction option. The addins work properly with Chrome, but do not exist or could come with compatibility issues for Safari, Firefox or Microsoft browsers. Ghotit’s Word Prediction is specifically designed for those with dyslexia and dysgraphia and predicts text with instant correction by doing that universally outside of browsers and not depending on them.

 

A great feature of Google Docs is Voice Typing. Student can dictate a text of a reasonable quality and format it by Voice Typing Commands. (This feature is only available in Chrome browser). Normally, microphones of smartphones and tablets are appropriate for dictation, whereas laptops and desktops require a purchase of an external high-quality dictation microphone. Dictation comes nowadays also as a platform feature of Mac (Siri), iOS, Windows and Android. Thus, there is a choice between these two good dictation options, Google Docs Voice Typing or platform-specific dictation, and there is no need to spend money on extra dictation software packages.

 

Text created by Word-Prediction or Dictation is supposed to be free of misspelled words, but it still comes with confused words, homophone, grammar and punctuation errors. When students write directly to a Google Docs document, misspellings are inevitable. Google Docs is doing a great job of flagging misspelled words as well as some confused words and grammar errors with a level of text correction being good enough for a non-dyslexic user. This service is far from sufficiency, though, for students with dyslexia and dysgraphia, and this is where Ghotit Real Writer & Reader comes to deliver the solution for the students by solving most complex cases.

 

In conclusion: Overall, Google Docs is a welcomed step forward towards simplicity in creating text documents and through its embedded assistive technology. When equipped with an appropriate and individually tailor-made additional assistive technology, Google Docs could make a positive impact on success of pupils and students with dyslexia and dysgraphia in educational systems.

Ghotit App for Windows 10S Is in Windows Store.

Finally, it is coming…

Windows 10S, the streamlined version of Windows for education, makes its way to schools being:

– Budget friendly with laptops priced starting from $189;

– Secure where all software is coming only from Microsoft Windows Store;

– Controlled system with all software installed only by admins;

– Energy efficient saving battery and allowing a full school day for the laptops.

 

When it comes to the pupils and students with dyslexia and dysgraphia, remind to their teachers that those children need assistive software, and Ghotit App is already ready in Microsoft Windows Store.

Ghotit Real Writer and Reader App in Windows Store is the result of the joined work of Microsoft Bridge and Ghotit R&D teams and includes all features of the Ghotit Standard Desktop software combined with the known security and efficiency of Windows Store Apps.

 

Dyslexic Summer Break

Finally, the summer vacation is here and if you are a parent to a child who suffers from dyslexia, you might have a break from your routine, day-to-day helping chores .
Can you expect to accomplish Paul McCartney’s Summer’s Day Song?

Someone’s sleeping
Through a bad dream
Tomorrow it will be over
For the world will soon be waking
To the summer’s day

I doubt it.

I really don’t know what’s the best way you, a parent to a dyslectic child, should choose for the Summer vacation. If you do know the answer, please share it with us. The only thing I do know is that you should opt for a balance, on the one hand, not to let hard work altogether, but, on the other hand, letting your child enjoy vacation. We all need some rest, but as is the case with dyslectic children, we can’t allow ourselves the leisure of a total vacation.

We all know that dyslexia is not like pimples where there is a chance that your child will start next year without them. Your child will suffer from dyslexia next year and helping him or her is, unfortunately, a multi-year cruise.

Reading Problems

There are most probably millions of reading problems and zillions of causes for these problems, and I cannot claim I am an expert in any of them.

Still, no one can assist people with their reading problems without letting them at least starting with a classification of their problem.

There are at least three types of reading problems

  1. General reading problem
  2. Problem in focusing on a sentence or a word
  3. Problem in reading text in the context of an image

Experts in assistive technology specialize in offering technological solution for all three types of problems and most of my time as an assistive technologist is dedicated for developing and offering answers to these problems.

How can these three types of problems be mitigated by assistive technology?

The first, and more common issue, can be approached by text to speech technology, adding our hearing sense to the reading experience. Joining forces, adding hearing to sight, increases comprehension significantly.

The second obstacle is an attention issue, subnormal ability to focus attention on a specific detail, a word or a sentence, in the context of paragraph or a page. The double coloring reader method can be applied to sooth this problem. By marking a sentence with a discernable color and simultaneously mark words in row with another color, the energy needed for reading decreases significantly and reading follows smoother.

Comprehending test inside an image raises formidable difficulties to most dyslexics. Quite frequently images are multi-color constructs. Their creators invest more effort in esthetics than in easing understanding.   We all encountered captchas, these annoying images commonly used to confirm you, the surfer are a human being, not a robot. Many times I hoped for the showing up of a technological savior, freeing me from the confusing image. Screenshot reader method is exactly this technological savior for the learning disable. It is an extracting tool, putting the confusing colors and forms aside, and leaving us exactly where we want, reading the text.

Dyslexics Hell Words

Written word that contains many letters can be hell for dyslexics.

You welcome to try to write the following words (each word has 25 letters or more).

Dyslexics Hell Words List:

Amygdalohippocampectomies

Antidisestablishmentarian

Antiestablishmentarianism

Cholinephosphotransferase

Electroencephalographical

Microspectrophotometrical

Octillionduotrigintillion

Pancreaticoduodenectomies

Quinquagintacentilliardth

Quinquagintacentillionths

Quinquagintaducentilliard

Quinquagintaducentillions

Quinquagintatrecentillion

Quinquanonagintilliardths

Quinquaoctogintilliardths

Quinquaquadragintilliards

Quinquaquadragintillionth

Quinquaquinquagintilliard

Quinquaquinquagintillions

Quinquaseptuagintilliards

Quinquaseptuagintillionth

Quinquasexagintilliardths

Scaphotrapeziotrapezoidal

Undecillionsedecilliardth

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty

The longest dyslexics hell word I found has 52 letters:

Aequeosalinocalcalinoceraceoaluminosocupreovitriolic describing the spa waters at Bath, England, is attributed to Dr. Edward Strother (1675–1737). The word is composed of the following elements:

  • Aequeo: equal (Latin, aequo)
  • Salino: containing salt (Latin, salinus)
  • Calcalino: calcium (Latin, calx)
  • Ceraceo: waxy (Latin, cera)
  • Aluminoso: alumina (Latin)
  • Cupreo: from “copper”
  • Vitriolic: resembling vitriol

 

How to Overcome Dyslexia !!!

Many blogs offer ways “how to overcome dyslexia”.  As a dyslexic, I don’t really believe that overcoming dyslexia is possible, and therefore, I don’t think the question “how to overcome dyslexia”  is an effective way of phrasing this question.

 

Instead, I recommend approaching dyslexia in a more realistic way. Switching from the unrealistic target of the deficiency abolition, curing this learning disability, we should develop compensation tools to ease the implications of dyslexia, leading our way to make the most of the insights and virtues associated with dyslexia.

 

We live in an open, almost borderless age, technology is making huge steps to help us, the dyslexics, providing tools to overcome the problems of writing and reading. The post-modern phrasing tends to be become shorter than ever, twitting instead of expanding, letting us, the dyslectics find our equitable integration in human interaction.

 

Today’s world is friendlier than ever, widely accepting and integrating people with dyslexia.

 

This is my feeling, and what about your, what do you think?

Phonological Memory

The ability to hold on to speech-based information in short-term memory is called phonological memory. We rely heavily on our phonological memory when reading and spelling. This skill is assessed by asking students to remember strings of numbers or to repeat nonsense words of increasing length and complexity. Students with poor phonological memory are unable to hold as much phonological information in mind as their age-matched peers. When recalling nonsense words, they tend to forget parts of the word and/or confuse the sounds and sequence of sounds in the word. Students with dyslexia and/or dysgraphia often have weaknesses in phonological memory.

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

Many students with learning difficulties have difficulty attending to the sounds and oral language patterns within words. This ability is called phonological awareness. In the early years of schooling, students may show difficulties in:

  • Detecting and creating rhyming words
  • Breaking words into syllables
  • Identifying the phonemes (individual sounds) at the beginning and end of words
  • Isolating, deleting and substituting phonemes within words.

Frequently, older students with dyslexia also demonstrate difficulties in some of these more complex phonological processes (especially in accurate and efficient phoneme identification and manipulation).

The ability to work with syllables, and to blend and segment phonemes in words, is critical to the development of good reading and spelling skills. Students need to learn that the sounds they are making when they speak relate directly to the letters they use when reading and writing. Essentially, we blend to read and we segment to spell.

Phoneme blending requires listening to a sequence of separately spoken sounds and combining them to form a recognisable word, for example, the sounds /sh/ /o/ /p/ form the word shop. Phoneme segmentation requires breaking a word into its sounds by tapping out or counting the sounds, for example, “How many phonemes in block?” (four: /b/ /l/ /o/ /ck/).

10 Million Children have Difficulties Learning to Read.

Good readers are phonemically aware, understand the alphabetic principle, apply these skills in a rapid and fluent manner, possess strong vocabularies and syntactical and grammatical skills, and relate reading to their own experiences.

Difficulties in any of these areas can impede reading development. Further, learning to read begins far before children enter formal schooling. Children who have stimulating literacy experiences from birth onward have an edge in vocabulary development, understanding the goals of reading, and developing an awareness of print and literacy concepts.

 

Signs of reading and writing disabilities

  • Making frequent mistakes when reading
  • Guessing
  • Struggling with reading words
  • Reading very slowly
  • Reading and training has little effect
  • Reading monotonically and technically
  • Continuing to read words re-appearing in the text as if one has not read the word before
  • The development goes very slowly or stagnates
  • Difficulties understanding words, sentences, content and relationships in the text.

When reading unfamiliar texts signs become particularly apparent

  • Struggling with writing single words
  • Making many mistakes in writing
  • Writing slowly
  • Writing unclear
  • Writings briefly
  • Difficulties with starting to write
  • Not knowing what to write
  • Not being able to find words
  • Combining letters in one sentence the wrong way
  • Difficulties in predisposing, structuring and presenting the material
  • Difficulties in writing in a way that enables the reader to understand messages and connections within the text with ease.
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