When you watch your child struggle to read, it might be hard to imagine things getting better for him. But this October during Dyslexia Awareness Month, that’s exactly what we celebrate — that things are improving for kids with dyslexia.
There’s more awareness than ever about how people with dyslexia can be creative thinkers. It’s almost common now to hear news about another successful entrepreneur with dyslexia. Science is also teaching us more and more about the brain. That includes understanding the strengths that can come with dyslexia.
And I’d add something else that’s making things better: technology.
Today, the Internet has put information about dyslexia at our fingertips. Parents who go online can find answers to many of their questions with a Google search. And they can connect with the greater dyslexia community like never before.
Online resources like Understood, the Dyslexic Advantage and Headstrong Nation provide updated and professional help. Families in even the most rural areas can interact with experts hundreds of miles away through blogs and social media. And the work of Decoding Dyslexia has united parents all over North America.
By providing knowledge, the internet has given strength and power to the parents of children with dyslexia. These parents are better able to support their kids. The result is that more children are receiving the tools they need to become successful.
Without question, those tools include assistive technology.
For years, the plan for helping a child with dyslexia was straightforward. Improve his reading and writing through evidence-based teaching and instruction. These methods continue to work wonders today. (I’ve seen this firsthand as an tutor for kids.)
But even after years of instruction, there can still be gaps for kids with dyslexia. Technology tools help fill those gaps.
To me, the most important thing that technology offers is independence.
- With text-to-speech, students don’t have to rely on teachers or parents to read to them.
- With word prediction and dictation, they can work through challenges with spelling.
- With smartphones and tablets, they can carry their reading and writing tools anywhere.
In the bigger picture, technology does more than just build independence. It can improve kids’ self-confidence. It can help them succeed in college or a career. It can offer them the ability to put their reading difficulties aside and focus on strengths.
That’s why I love teaching families about technology solutions. When I see a child’s eyes light up the first time they use technology to help with reading, it warms my heart.
I know the path for a child with dyslexia can be hard. But this October, I also know deep down that things truly are getting better.
Any opinions, views, information, and other content contained in blogs on Understood.org are the sole responsibility of the writer of the blog, and do not necessarily reflect the views, values, opinions, or beliefs of, and are not endorsed by, Understood.
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About the author
Jamie Martin is an assistive technology specialist at the New England Assistive Technology Center (NEAT) in Hartford, Connecticut.