Dyslexic students have special needs, and computers provide a vital source of special help.
Because computers can so uniquely match the special needs of dyslexic students, there can be no question that an ubiquitous computing solution, tailored specifically for dyslexic students, is a compelling need.
In Dyslexia: A Teaching Handbook, Thomson & Watkins state: "What is important is for software, and teaching programs, to be based on sound educational principles. In the case of the dyslexic, this means based on teaching procedures that are used to overcome the dyslexic's difficulties. For example, overlearning and over teaching, structured and systematic teaching, immediate reinforcement and feedback, and multisensory learning."
Many dyslexic students respond well to working and learning with computers because:
- there is an instant response that can correct or reinforce the right answer so that the right connections get made in the brain;
- the repetition (or overlearning) is continued until the correct response is learned;
- the learning is student-led; the student works at his own speed;
- the student competes against himself rather than others
- a computer is non-judgmental;
- it is predictable: learning-differently students don't like surprises;
- computers by their nature are sequential and logical and this helps to reinforce these skills in the user;
- computers can be used in any class:
- to correct grammar and spelling errors in any written work, such as note taking and exams
- to correct deficiencies in handwriting.
There are computer tools that have proven immensely helpful to students handicapped by their inability to read and write with the same facility as non-dyslexic children. Notably, these programs:
- Read written text aloud, so that the information is conveyed even if the pupil is unable to read it.
- Help pupils to write:
- with the use of an interface, such as keyboard, which shows their written text immediately legible, which their own handwriting may not be.
- with text prediction interfaces.
- with visual and audible spell checks.