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My Wonderful Digital world

 

Welcome to my digital world, which I can talk about for ages!

I once didn’t know the variety of assistive technology (AT) available for dyslexia.

I did hear arguments that AT is cheating.

It doesn’t do my work for me; it levels the playing field in a competitive world: are spectacles cheating for those who can’t see? Of course, not.

I am lucky as an Open University student to have a variety of AT thanks to DSA (disability student allowance). Plus, some free AT has been built into Office 365 packages: “my study bar” from Call Scotland is also worth looking at.

There is a range of scanning pens available.

I have the c-pen, youdoa dictionary three translation pen. However, my preference is OrCam learn.

This amazing technology was originally designed to aid blind and visually impaired people. However, OrCam Learn has utilised the same technology to aid people with dyslexia and other learning challenges.

As I have large amounts of text to read, taking a photo of the full page and having it read to me saves me a lot of time. Apart from when software updates needing installed, it does not need WI-FI. I even use it for
reading on the bus, I can’t do this with the other 2 pens due to part of my dyspraxia. It also has voice activation technology built in, so you can command it to find a Bluetooth device like a wireless speaker. It also reads off my phone, laptop, iPad and all my textbooks.

Thanks to this technology my marks have improved by 33% and you can read about it
in Education technology today and FE news understanding the student
journey to DSA funding.

I am lucky enough to work alongside the people at Texthelp. I have been using writing helper for the last two years: I am using it to write this article.

I think Dr Stuart Marsden (Product manager at Texthelp) now hides under the table when receiving emails for me saying “I think I have broken it again!” but he tells me I don’t make him want to run and hide :
Stuart’s quote about me is … ‘ if you can't break a piece of AT, then it
cant be broken! You’re a legend at breaking AT, or at least bending it to your will.

If we can make our tools work for you, they work for everyone”

A great thing about writing helper is it works alongside other AT like Dragon, inspiration and Claro read (and more). My course has complex questions , so the ability to break the task down into bitesize chunks is valuable. I can Upload PDF files and web pages into it: colour code notes , then rewrite these in my own words. It has made a huge difference in my writing and attainment. I plan to become an accredited
trainer soon.

I have recently been made student ambassador for Learning Labs.

There is lots of AT and there is no way you can remember everything.

Learning Labs is full of short video of reminders and guides.

Whenever you have a block and can’t remember how to do something, just sign
into Learning Labs. It also does a lot to support your mental health:

I know I get overwhelmed with studying as a dyslexic person, even though I have received training with Northern Concept. Two hours of learning means I have forgotten most of what I have learned shortly afterwards. Learning Labs has been great to keep me up to date. I canalso take small quizzes of my own learning of AT.

There is so much support out there, good luck with finding the help you need!

Suzy Taylor

Suzy Taylor

Assistive Tech Help & Training

About:

Suzy Taylor is a training specialist who helps people with disabilities deal with the emotional impacts and frustrations of their condition and teaches and trains people how to embrace and use assistive technology to make life easier.

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