Martin (2022) discusses five myths about students with dyslexia using assistive technology. This is an overview of the key points made in his article.
Myth 1: Using assistive technology is cheating
- Dyslexia is a disability. Like any other disability we should be providing accommodations that ‘level the playing field’.
- It is not different to providing wheelchairs for students who have mobility difficulties, glasses for students who have visual difficulties or hearing aids for students with auditory difficulties.
- Assistive technology does not provide answers or formulas. It just allows students with dyslexia to access information which they can’t read and to demonstrate their knowledge.
Myth 2: Assistive technology lowers motivation
- In reality, being unable to accomplish a task because of reading or writing difficulties leads to frustrations which in turn diminishes motivation.
- Assistive technology allows students with dyslexia to be independent, which is a motivating factor for people of all ages.
Myth 3: Listening to audiobooks makes it harder to learn to read
- Reading and writing are critical tools.
- When paired with a systematic, structure, phonic-based literacy program, assistive technology allows students with dyslexia to read material at the same level as their peers, which is also commensurate with their intellectual ability.
- Audiobooks exposes students with dyslexia to the vocabulary, ideas and sentence structure that their typically developing peers are able to access through reading.
- Audiobook also keep students engaged in books and the written word while they are learning the skills of reading
Myth 4: Students can learn how to use assistive technology on their own
- No-one is born as a ‘technology expert’.
- Learning how to use assistive technology and then to apply this technology to completing school assignments, like any skill, needs to be systematically taught. Julie Tasker is an expert in this area.
- It is also important that parents and teachers become familiar with the technology so they can provide assistance as required.
Myth 5: Assistive technology gives an unfair advantage to students
- Fairness is not the same as equality.
- Every student has unique needs and consequently require different levels of support.
- Fairness means every student receiving access to learning that meets their needs.
- Assistive technology does not need to be limited just to students who have a vision impairment, an auditory impairment or a learning impairment.
As Martin (2022) notes: “Every person with dyslexia [or any other learning difficulty] deserves the chance to gain independence through technology without battling misperceptions and untruths.”
Martin, J. (2022). Five myths about assistive technology for students with dyslexia. The Bulletin, 58, 11-13.