Reading

ReadingNEW_hdr

Reading Assistive Technology - the What, When, Who and Why

What is Assistive Technology for reading support? Assistive technology that provides reading support includes devices and software that help an individual read text (books, textbooks, websites) in a variety of ways beyond reading traditional text.  AT for reading includes the use of hardware such as laptops, tablets, or dedicated devices for e-text or audio text.  AT for reading also includes software that will convert printed text to digital text and read it aloud with a synthesized voice. AT reading support software is sometimes called literacy suite software.  Text-to-speech is the term to describe software that reads aloud digital text.

PreK child with iPadWhen do I need to use AT for reading? Depending on the needs of the individual, AT for reading support may be used in any environment where the individual needs to read traditional printed text such as a book, textbook, newspaper, community event program, or website content. Other individuals may switch between reading traditional text to using AT to play or read the text aloud. Alternating between these methods is useful when the individual may need to take a break from reading traditionally printed text.

Who needs AT to help with reading? Individuals may struggle with reading traditionally printed materials due to a physical limitation, visual impairment, or cognitive need such as dyslexia. A physical disability may prevent a person from holding a book or turning the pages. For individuals who are blind or have low vision, traditional printed text is difficult to read. Individuals may have an identified disability such as dyslexia and cannot decode text or comprehend the sentence structure. Still others may be “unidentified” struggling readers. Individuals with language learning disabilities often struggle with making meaningful connections with printed text, as do individuals who are English Language Learners (ELLs) and individuals with cognitive disabilities.

Why? Having a print disability is a fairly common need, but using assistive technology to interact with printed text opens a whole new world to many struggling readers.


Information on this page addresses Assistive Technology for people with reading disabilities in...

EDUCATION   |  EMPLOYMENT  |  COMMUNITY LIVING
(click the titles above to jump to the content area)

For more information, please contact Brenda Dawes, Program Manager,
at brenda.dawes@okstate.edu or 800-257-1705

EDUCATION

AT for Reading - Diptych

Talking Points for Reading Assistive Technology in Education

Many students struggle with reading. One estimate is that about 10 million children have difficulties learning to read. Individuals with reading issues often mix up the letters and words they're trying to identify. The good news is that 90 to 95 percent of children with reading difficulties can overcome their difficulties with remediation and AT support.

Children aged 0-3 may have pre-literacy supports written in to their child's Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP). Students transitioning into the community or employment settings upon high school graduation will need to transition with the assistive technology they are used to. The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is developed through collaboration with the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) using a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor. Please see the Employment section below.

For children transitioning into the public school at age 3 - To ensure successful AT transitions for children turning 3 years old, it is important for any AT the child is currently using or may need to use in school, whether written into the child's Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) or not, be incorporated into the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP). You'll find this information in the Community section below.

For students transitioning into the community or employment settings upon high school graduation - To ensure successful AT transitions for students aging out of school services, it is important for any AT the student is currently using or may need to pursue employment outcomes, whether written into the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) or not, be incorporated into the student's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). IPEs are developed through collaboration with the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) using a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor. You'll find this information in the Employment section below.

Situations where a child might need assistive technology for reading:

School Environment

  • K-12 classes
  • Small group activities that include reading.

Socialization

  • Friendship communication via texting or social media

Family / Home Environment

  • Homework
  • Studying for quizzes or tests
  • Leisure reading

Community

  • Library
  • Restaurants
  • Events

Commonly Asked Questions for a Student Who Struggles with Reading

Please listen to this section and/or download a transcript here:  TXT format

Solutions for Students Who Need Reading Support
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Funding Sources for Students with Reading Impairment

The following resources are from ABLE Tech's listing of OK Funding for AT and specifically give guidance on providing assistive technology for reading devices to those with disabilities in Oklahoma:

EMPLOYMENT

Reading Matrix Employment

Talking Points for Computer Access Assistive Technology in Education

The category of Employment encompasses people of working-age who are currently employed or who are seeking employment.  The following talking points may be applicable to individuals with disabilities as well as employers.

Individuals who need support for reading may have dyslexia or another specific type of learning disability.  People with learning disabilities may have limitations that make it difficult to read text. It can be difficult to visually discern letters and numbers. The characters may appear jumbled or reversed. Entire words or strings of letters may be unrecognizable.  Reading deficits can affect reading text from a print copy or text from a computer screen. Deficits in visual, auditory, or motor processing can interfere with reading and reading comprehension. Note: Reading supports for individuals with low vision and blindness are addressed in the Vision AT Discovery webpage.

For students transitioning into the community or employment settings upon high school graduation - To ensure successful AT transitions for students aging out of school services, it is important for any AT the student is currently using to be incorporated into the student's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). IPEs are developed through collaboration with the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) using a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor.

Situations where an individual might need assistive technology for reading

Work Environment

  • Interview process
  • Meetings
  • Trainings
  • Daily tasks

Socialization

  • Work lunches
  • Social media
  • Telecommunication
  • Group and committee activities

Family / Home Environment

  • Homework
  • Video games
  • Social media
  • Reading

Community

  • Library

Commonly Asked Questions for an Individual Who Has Reading Impairments

Q - What types of learning disabilities are there?

A - Learning disabilities (LD), sometimes referred to as “specific learning disorders,” are life-long, but adults who have LD can experience great success in all aspects of life when using their strengths together with the strategies, accommodations and technology that are most appropriate and effective for their individual needs.

Learning disabilities can be divided into three broad categories: developmental speech and language disorders, academic skills disorders, and other (such as coordination disorders). Learning disabilities are disorders that affect the ability to understand or use spoken or written language, do mathematical calculations, coordinate movements, or direct attention. Learning disabilities are a lifelong condition; they are not outgrown or cured, though many people develop coping techniques through special education, tutoring, medication, therapy, personal development, or adaptation of learning skills. Approximately 15 million children, adolescents, and adults have learning disabilities in the United States.

Q - I am a qualified person with a disability under the ADA and need AT to do my job. May I ask my employer to provide it?

A - Individuals with disabilities may ask for an accommodation at any time even for an interview.


A - What types of AT can I ask for?

Q - Assistive technology that is needed to do the essential functions of the job can be requested.


Visit ABLE Tech’s “Workforce for All” website for a compilation of information related to employment law, the ADA, and fact sheets.

"Obtaining Assistive Technology through Your Employer" PDF

Case Studies of Individuals with Reading Support Needs in Employment
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Funding Sources for Employees with Reading Needs

The following resources are from ABLE Tech's listing of OK Funding for AT and specifically give guidance on providing assistive technology for reading devices to those with disabilities in Oklahoma:

COMMUNITY LIVING

Reading Matrix Community

Talking Points for Assistive Technology for Reading in Community Living

The category of Community Living encompasses individuals of varying age groups including infants and toddlers under the age of 3, individuals who were born with or have acquired an injury and are otherwise participating in community activities (not as students or employees), and individuals who are retired and need AT support to live independently and participate in the community.  The following talking points are applicable to individuals with disabilities as well as family members and others providing support and care to these individuals with disabilities.

Sometimes an individual may already have the necessary assistive technology to live independently at home and participate in the community. When that is the case, the following ideas will show other considerations regarding accessibility and accommodations.  However, when the person requires additional tools to participate, the Human Activity Assistive Technology (HAAT) model will be used to show how an individual might best match up with a piece of AT to be used in the community and home.

For those children transitioning into the public school at age 3 - To ensure successful AT transitions for children turning 3 years old, it is important for any AT the child is currently using or may need to use in school, whether written into the child's Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) or not, be incorporated into the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Link to Education section

Situations where an individual might need assistive technology for Reading

Socialization

  • Dining out and reading the menu
  • Telecommunications and texting

Community

  • Doctor's office visits
  • Hospital
  • Church
  • Shopping
  • Volunteer activities
  • Entertainment
  • Sports
  • Library
  • Utilities

Family/Home Environment

  • Talking on the phone
  • Paying bills
  • TV
  • Doing chores
  • Games
  • Computer tasks/games
  • Newspapers and books

Commonly Asked Questions for a Person Who Needs Reading Support

Q - What types of learning disabilities are there?

A - Learning disabilities (LD) sometimes referred to as “specific learning disorders,” are life-long, but adults who have LD can experience great success in all aspects of life when using their strengths together with the strategies, accommodations and technology that are most appropriate and effective for their individual needs.

Learning disabilities can be divided into three broad categories: developmental speech and language disorders, academic skills disorders, and other (such as coordination disorders). Learning disabilities are disorders that affect the ability to understand or use spoken or written language, do mathematical calculations, coordinate movements, or direct attention. Learning disabilities are a lifelong condition; they are not outgrown or cured, though many people develop coping techniques through special education, tutoring, medication, therapy, personal development, or adaptation of learning skills. Approximately 15 million children, adolescents, and adults have learning disabilities in the United States.

Q - What is Assistive Technology?

A - AT is anything that helps a person do a task easier, better, or more efficiently, that otherwise would be difficult or impossible to do.

 

Solutions for Individuals Who Need Reading Support
(click to open the accordions below)

 

Funding Sources for Persons with Reading Needs

The following resources are from ABLE Tech's listing of OK Funding for AT and specifically give guidance on providing assistive technology for reading devices to those with disabilities in Oklahoma: