Listen to Podcast

High-Tech and Low-Tech Assistive Technology Options for Dyslexia

In the world of dyslexia and learning differences, accommodations are crucial bridges to help students access learning. One of the most popular or noted accommodations we see on student IEP and 504 plans is the use of assistive technology. 

But it poses some questions:

  • What assistive technology is best for students as tools in the academic setting? 
  • Are there ways to ensure that we are effectively implementing these tools? 
  • What may be some areas to note for possible frustration? 
  • Is there a difference between low-tech assistive technologies and high-tech ones?

We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Katie Larew for a conversation about using assistive technology to empower students with dyslexia!

Katie began her journey in the field of education in 2007 as a classroom Special Education Teacher in New Jersey. In 2014, she moved to San Diego, California, and worked as an Assistive Technology Specialist for a K-12 School District for eight years. 

As a RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional, Katie has worked with students from elementary school to college. She holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education as well as additional certifications as an IMSLEC-certified Orton-Gillingham Teacher and CERI Certified Structured Literacy Dyslexia Interventionist. Katie also serves on the Board of The International Dyslexia Association, San Diego Branch. 

Katie’s approach focuses on the student's unique strengths while finding tools to support specific areas of need. She provides customized step-by-step virtual training, professional development, and workshops for students, parents, and teachers throughout the world. 

During our conversation with Katie, she shared with us about high-tech and low-tech options for assistive technology with our dyslexic students.

What is Assistive Technology?

According to the IDEA, assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities.

To explain what assistive technology is, we first need to think of access to the curriculum. Assistive technology allows us to support our dyslexic learners in reading grade-level material so that they can read the material independently, and gain exposure to the rich vocabulary and content. It also provides a path for the student to demonstrate their understanding of the material. If a student struggles to provide written responses, assistive technology would be the tool that enables them to provide their answer. 

Assistive technology provides access to the curriculum. It does not replace the curriculum.

Assistive technology is not a crutch. It does not take the place of instruction or learning.

Choosing the Right Assistive Technology Tools for Your Learner:

When an IEP team comes together to decide if a student needs assistive devices or services, it is important to keep that student in mind.

When beginning the process of choosing the right assistive technology tools for your dyslexic learner, begin by thinking about the different types of tasks that the student might be working on. Choose one assistive technology tool to focus on first and build that tool into many different assignments. Then, gradually introduce other tools to that student.

Assistive technologies can be broken down into two categories: low-tech and high-tech.

Low-Tech Assistive Technology Options

Here are a few examples of low-tech assistive technology options for students with dyslexia:

  • A highlighter - physical or digital
  • Reading strips
  • Reading guides
  • Graphic organizers - paper or digital

High-Tech Assistive Technology Options

Here are a few examples of high-tech assistive technology options for students with dyslexia:

  • Text-to-speech (ex: audiobooks)
  • Speech-to-text
  • Word prediction
  • Digital text

Connect with our guest, Katie Larew! Visit Assistive Technology for Dyslexia and find her on Instagram and Facebook.

For our full conversation on assistive technology, check out our latest episode of the Together in Literacy podcast. If you like what you hear, don’t forget to rate, leave a positive review, and subscribe!
We officially have merch! Show your love Together in Literacy podcast with a t-shirt or sweatshirt!

Looking for strategies and resources?

Sign up for our newsletter for news, resources, and freebies delivered straight to your inbox.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.