TECHNOLOGY IS SMART, BUT YOUR CHILD’S NEEDS COME FIRST
I often see well-meaning parents focusing on technology. “This is so clever. It can fix my child’s problems with reading and spelling.”
Yes, technology is smart. And yes, it can help with reading and spelling.
But if your child’s apps and programs don’t fit them, then your child won’t be getting anywhere.
It is like an old pick-up truck and a Ferrari. Few people will invest in a pick-up truck if they have to race with it. Personally, I would pick the Ferrari. But if the vehicle is for everyday driving outside of the city, many would probably prefer a pick-up truck. The car must fit the need.
Therefore, my recommendations to you when you have to help your child with assistive technology are as follows:
1 – First of all, look at your child’s needs
Your child develops throughout their school years. Your child does not need the same tools all the time.
In elementary school, it might be all about getting texts read out loud in math, while in middle school it may be about having a good word suggestion program that can help with long and difficult words in history.
Therefore, it is important to understand your child’s needs for the individual functions concerning those tasks that your child has.
The five functions that can fulfill your child’s needs are:
- OCR (optical character recognition)
- Word suggestions
2 – Help your child make the tools meaningful
I am not doing anything if it doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe you feel the same way?
Your dyslexic child will most likely not use the tools if they don’t make sense to use: “Why should I use them when no one else has to?” or “I don’t want to use them; the voice that reads out loud is boring!”
It is individual, what makes sense when it comes to using the apps and tools for dyslexics.
But my suggestion to you is that you check on how much time your child saves by using the assistive technology.
And, therefore, how often they can have fun with things other than homework during the weekdays.
Or you can see that it becomes easier to solve the tasks, so your child becomes even better because they can focus on the aim of the task instead of reading and spelling their way through, for instance, a math problem.
3 – Drop the idea that you should be a teacher or an IT expert to help your child
You shouldn’t despair if you aren’t a teacher or a technical guru.
That is not important in helping your child with using apps and tools for dyslexics.
Instead, you should focus on your child’s needs and help your child see the point of using the assistive technology.
Often, too much focus on the technique can hinder parents by making them think that’s what they must do to help their children. But you shouldn’t feel that way.
You can always get help with the tech stuff, and it isn’t your IT knowledge that will make your child use the tools.
Instead, it is your support that will make the child explore the tools. You should be a parent first.
My own experience is that I am happy that my mum didn’t try to be a teacher.
Of course, she helped me with my homework (when I didn’t try to run away or create trouble), but she also ensured that all my time after school wasn’t spent on schoolwork.
If you still think that you aren’t an IT expert and so you will make things worse, then I can say that I often see the children becoming their own experts.
If your child isn’t there yet, then the school or the provider of the tools will be able to help with the technical stuff.