What are some of the challenges students with Dyslexia face in using technology?

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Technology has become an invaluable tool for many students, including those with learning disabilities such as Dyslexia. However, as explained by Dale Brown in the LD OnLine article Dyslexia and the Challenge of Using Today's Technology, technology also presents new challenges for some students. Problems reported include the following:

  • I'm glad the pass code protects my account from criminals. Unfortunately, they also protect my accounts from me! I can never remember the pass codes!
  • I keep hearing how great all this technology is. Well, that assumes you can figure out how to use it. Not a correct assumption!
  • Look, I can use the computer. I can type. I can read. But no matter what anyone says, it still takes too long to get anything done.
  • My e-mails have typos and are ungrammatical. My boss keeps telling me they are unprofessional and unacceptable for our organization.
  • I can't remember where I put my data in the computer. Once it is filed and off my screen, it seems gone forever.

Some strategies to meet these and other challenges using technology faced by students with Dyslexia include the following:

  • Using number positions on the keypad to develop a password. For example 7, 4, 1, 2, 3 makes the letter "L." You can also spell a word using the telephone keypad.
  • Using a sequence of numbers and letters that are already memorized, such as a childhood address or a former locker combination.
  • Cultivate friends who are computer savvy and network with them.
  • Find people who can simplify as they teach. Several people had to go through two or more tutors before finding one that was able to work with them.
  • Practice what you have learned until it is automatic.
  • Obtain written or recorded instructions that are clear.
  • Obtain or develop cheat sheets that list common computer commands.
  • Remove unneeded icons and toolbars on the desktop and screens to minimize visual clutter.
  • Use spell check for emails.
  • Draft emails and save them in a drafts folder. Print them out the next day and review them. Make any necessary changes before sending. Some people put emails that have a lot of changes back in their drafts folder for a second review the next day.

Read the article Dyslexia and the Challenge of Using Today's Technology for more solutions and resources related to these problems.

For more information on computer technology for students with learning disabilities consult the DO-IT Knowledge Base article How can students with learning disabilities benefit from computer use?

Last update or review: January 25, 2013