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Monday, November 1, 2010

Reading tools for the Blind

In April 2010, the National Federation of the Blind did a review on the iPad as a portable reading device for the blind and gave the iPad high marks. In June, when IOS 4 was released, NFB also reviewed the device for entering text, using the new ios 4 capability called "Touch Typing". iBook is reviewed for its read aloud capabilities, with both its promising new features and short comings discussed.

Changing the life of autistic children

There is a ground swell of stories on the internet and news about iPad and its apps, are engaging autistic children and helping them with communication. Once such story, from a mom of a 9 year old boy with autism, really hit home. My son, Tim didn't speak until almost 5 years old, and desperately tried to communicate with pictures and his own home grown sign language. Now 16, Tim is doing well, but I often wonder if some of his anxiety issues didn't spring from his high frustration levels as a child. How will this new ability to communicate affect these kids going forward? I can't wait for some long term outcomes to start appearing in the media. I would love to hear from parents where the iPad allowed their child to take a learning or mental leap.

Dragon Dictate for the iPad.

Powered by Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Dragon Dictation is a popular speech-to-text application that allows users to talk into their iPad and have their spoken word converted into text. This easy-to-use app is up to five times faster than typing and allows users to save valuable time simply by using their voice with their iPad.

The Dragon Dictation update now provides multilingual support for US & UK English, German, Italian, French and Spanish. You’re also able to submit your converted text to Twitter and Facebook allowing you to quickly and easily change your status.

Dragon Dictation for the iPad is a free software application that records your voice and transcribes it. Those of you familiar with the pc or mac software package, may already realize that the software is more geared to an adult and has many different capabilities besides transcription, but the iPad interface is uniquely simple.

A single large red button appears on the screen. Tapping the button starts the record mode. Tapping the screen a second time, ends the record mode.

The voice recognition capabilities seem to be very good as well. My daughter, who has a speech impediment, was able to get good results.


Technology is changing so fast and it is pretty impossible for educators to keep up with all the changes. Most recently many new tablet computers have been sprouting up everywhere. Many software companies are leveraging these tablets to provide low cost, technology assistance for special needs users. This blog will focus on Assistive Technology tools that can be leveraged by children and adults with physical, mental, and communication handicaps.