Emerging AI technologies are revolutionizing educational support for dyslexia, transforming traditional approaches into dynamic, inclusive learning experiences.
One of the key problems that students with dyslexia have to face today is the consequences of low social awareness of their disorder. A lot of people, including teachers simply have practically no understanding of the issues and difficulties that such students need to get over in order to meet the set academic standards. However, we should admit that these days, we can observe serious progress made in this field. There are a lot of organizations that try to voice these problems and to make sure that society is well-informed about dyslexia and its impact on the learning process.
Moreover, today there appear more and more supportive and compensative tools that help to facilitate a lot of tasks related to reading and writing for students. And that’s fantastic to see that with time flow these tools are becoming more advanced. In general, we can observe a real evolution of such solutions for dyslexia: from traditional methods that have been applied for decades already to the most innovative AI-powered products that have been recently introduced.
We’ve prepared a brief overview of methods and special products for helping students with dyslexia. Let’s start our journey through the time from the oldest approaches that were used at educational institutions.
Traditional methods for addressing issues caused by dyslexia
The history of dyslexia research began in the late 1800s and the concept of “word-blindness” as an isolated condition appeared only in 1877. However, even today we can’t say that this condition has been fully studied. There are still a lot of questions that specialists need to answer. The same is true in relation to the methods that are used for mitigating the impact of dyslexia on the learning process.
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We’ve studied this aspect and managed to detect the simplest ways that are currently applied to support people with dyslexia. They typically do not require any specific equipment or tools. But even given this fact we need to admit that they are not always implemented. And in many classrooms students have to face a tough reality: when they are treated just as if they didn’t have dyslexia.
What can be done to facilitate the process for students with dyslexia?
- Provision of additional time to complete the offered tasks;
- More detailed instruction in reading and spelling with the help of a structured synthetics phonics program;
- Provision of sound charts and other visual supports to assist with spelling;
- Special games to support the development of phonological and phonemic awareness skills;
- Usage of manipulatives or hands-on resources, such as phonics tiles, to build, pronounce, and spell words;
- Provision of specialized tutoring to develop reading skills.
Solutions for students with dyslexia that we have today
Though all the methods that we’ve mentioned above have already proved their efficiency and have been applied to several generations of learners, it is necessary to understand that they do not guarantee 100% results. Especially, when we are talking about standard classes with 20+ students. Teachers simply do not have enough time to address the needs of each person.
It means that without supportive technologies it will be physically impossible to achieve the desired effect. And here is when tech solutions should enter the arena to change the game. Now, we even do not talk about the most innovative tools that the companies are working on today. Let’s begin at least with those ones that are already being gradually introduced these days.
- Assistive technology to read text aloud (for example, a C-pen reader or text-to-speech software). Though reading may seem to be a very simple task for many of us, people with dyslexia have difficulty with it. However, when they have a tool that will voice the correct pronunciation of all the words and sounds, it will facilitate this process for them.
- Speech input tools. Quite often it may be a real challenge for a person with dyslexia to type their requests for search engines or other systems. It may be difficult for them to avoid mistakes that prevent systems from understanding what exactly is expected from them. But thanks to speech input applications and tools, it is possible to address such issues and reduce the time that people with dyslexia typically need to cope with various tasks.
- Spell check. Such tools boast great popularity among a very wide audience today, including those who do not have dyslexia. Let’s be honest, after finishing this text I will also consult with a well-known Grammarly that will check my article and highlight the mistakes that I’ve made while typing. For people with dyslexia, such tools have enormous significance. They not only streamline the process of proofreading but also increase its quality and efficiency.
- Word prediction. If you had a mobile phone several decades years ago, you definitely remember such a tool as T9 which was a pioneer in predictive text technology for mobile devices. It was enough just to type letters with a single keystroke, and T9 could guess the word the user was writing. Of course, that tool was really far from being perfect. Today similar technologies are much more efficient. Thanks to AI, they can analyse the provided contexts and make predictions based on it.
- Visualization tools help students with dyslexia to better remember the meaning of the words. There can be various types of apps that will illustrate texts and separate words with images.
- Interactive explanation. Such guides with basic grammar explanations (like information about parts of speech) will greatly facilitate the process of learning for students.
If you want to get more detailed information about the tools for addressing issues caused by dyslexia that exist today, we recommend you read another article prepared by our team.
As you can see, today, there are quite a lot of technologies that can help to compensate for the issues caused by dyslexia. But the most powerful tools that we have today are enriched with artificial intelligence. This trend proves that AI has enormous power that we should leverage today if we want to offer solutions that will provide real help.
The future of solutions for dyslexia: Our experience
At Sigli, we have rich expertise in exploring the potential of AI in addressing the difficulties caused by physical and mental disorders.
We’ve also gained experience in building solutions for students with dyslexia in cooperation with our clients.
Our team worked on the solutions that could help people with dyslexia to read. First of all, such tools were intended to read texts aloud and highlight words and sentences as they’re spoken to help students follow along.
For example, we’ve worked on our clients’ product – Alinea which supports reading, writing, and studying in different ways. For example, it helps to read scanned books and other texts with synthetic voices in four languages. Users can adjust the reading tempo to their needs. The app can read single words, lines, sentences, paragraphs, as well as the whole text. What is even more important, the solution has a built-in scanning tool. It means that users may have texts on paper and then get them read aloud. The app also offers writing support, spell check, and the functionality that can read aloud the text while a user is typing it and after the text is ready. Moreover, it provides explanatory, translation, and picture dictionaries.
There is also an extension for Chrome and Edge that accompanies Alinea dubbed Web2Speech. It can read a web page aloud in different languages, provide reading assistance, translate texts, create audio files of voiced texts, and recognize speech. It means that users can dictate words that should be entered into search fields and forms on a website instead of typing them.
In our opinion, all the examples that we have enumerated in this article demonstrate the significance of modern technologies in addressing the problems caused by dyslexia. What is even more important is that they can provide the required support not only to students with this disorder but also to teachers who have students with dyslexia in these classrooms.
We strongly believe that technologies can change the world and we are sure that AI is one of those that deserve our attention today. If you also have some ideas on how to help people with special needs to adapt to the modern world with the help of AI, at Sigli, we will be happy to communicate with you and offer you our professional tech support.
About the Author:
In his current position, Artem Pochechuev leads a team of talented engineers. Oversees the development and implementation of data-driven solutions for Sigli’s customers. He is passionate about using the latest technologies and techniques in data science to deliver innovative solutions that drive business value. Outside of work, Artem enjoys cooking, ice-skating, playing piano, and spending time with his family.
Watch the recording and find out more about him and his use case.