My 14 year old daughter is really struggling in school. She has learning disabilities and difficulties with auditory processing. She’s currently very far behind in all her classes and is really struggling to keep up with her work. I’m worried that the workload will be too much as she enters high school and she’ll get discouraged and consider dropping out. The school has offered her audio books because her reading is so far below grade level, but she struggles to follow along with them because of her processing difficulties. How can we use technology at home to help with her reading and homework? How can I find the right program for her when she has multiple areas of need?
Finding the right software program, can be challenging, especially for students who have multiple disabilities or are struggling in different areas. The process of finding something that meets your daughter’s needs involves a process of trial and error, but a few resources can help get you started.
The Tech Matrix is a great resource to help you find assistive and educational technology tools. You can search for software and technology tools by IDEA disability category, content area, and grade level. You can also compare up to four different products to find the product that best meets your daughter’s needs.
LD Online is another great source of information to consider. Check out some of the many articles on teaching strategies for students to get a better idea of the different types of supports that would be of benefit to your daughter. LD Online has numerous articles on how to select the right software in reading and in math. For example, there are several resources that might help you figure out what technologies might work best for a student with an auditory processing disorder and other learning disabilities.
Your daughter may enjoy hearing text read aloud (example), using a text-to-speech program (example) or following along with text on the computer. Many reading programs can highlight each word or each sentence as it is spoken, giving your daughter two ways to get the information. The highlighting can also help her focus on the information being read to her. Try looking for reading and writing programs that have text-to-speech, dynamic highlighting and allow your daughter to control the speed of the reading. She might also benefit from software programs that focus on early reading skills.
For additional ideas on different technology tools, be sure to check out PowerUp WHAT WORKS. This site provides a wealth of free, online resources on strategies and technology ideas to help struggling students in English Language Arts and Math.