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Assistive technology for kids with LD: An overview

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By Marshall Raskind, Ph.D. , Kristin Stanberry

Your child's profile

Here are several factors to consider when evaluating AT products for your child:

  • What are her specific needs and challenges? In what academic skill areas does she struggle?
  • What are her strengths? AT should utilize your child's abilities to help compensate for her disability.
  • What is her interest, skill and experience in using technology? In what settings and situations will she use the AT tool? AT can help a child with LD function better at school as well as in other settings such as home, work, social gatherings and recreational events.

Other technology tools for learning

There are other forms of technology designed to help all students, including those with LD, improve their academic performance. These technologies differ somewhat from AT but are worth mentioning.

Instructional software is used to teach specific academic skills (like reading and writing) or subject matter content (such as history and science). It differs from AT in that it provides instruction rather than bypassing areas of difficulty.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a philosophy that encompasses learning models, methods and products to enhance the educational experience of diverse learners (whether or not they have learning disabilities). In this approach, AT is often built into educational materials and can be customized to help students with disabilities be successful with the general curriculum. © 2008 GreatSchools Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally created by Schwab Learning, formerly a program of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation.


  1. Multiple studies: Collins, 1990; Elkind, 1993; Elkind, Black & Murray, 1996; Higgins & Raskind, 1995; Higgins & Raskind, 1997; MacArthur, 1993, 1998; MacArthur, Schwartz, & Graham, 1991; McNaughton, Hughes & Clark, 1997; Priumus, 1990; Raskind & Higgins, 1995; Raskind, Higgins & Herman, 1997.
  2. Higgins, E. L. & Raskind, M. H. (2000). Speaking to Read: The Effects of Continuous vs. Discrete Speech Recognition Systems on the Reading and Spelling of Children With Learning Disabilities. Journal of Special Education Technology, 15 (1), 19-30.
  3. Raskind, M. H. & Higgins, E. L. (1999). Speaking to Read: The Effects of Speech Recognition Technology on the Reading and Spelling Performance of Children With Learning Disabilities. Annals of Dyslexia, 49, 251-281.

Reviewed February 2010

Marshall H. Raskind, Ph.D., is a learning disability researcher. He is a frequent presenter at international LD conferences and is the author of numerous professional publications on learning disabilities. He is well-known for his research on assistive technology and longitudinal studies tracing LD across the life span.

Kristin Stanberry is a writer and editor specializing in parenting, education, and consumer health/wellness issues. Her areas of expertise include learning disabilities and AD/HD, which she wrote about extensively for Schwab Learning and GreatSchools.


Comments from readers

" This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. this is very nice one and gives in depth information. thanks for this nice article. "
" in New York offers an audiobook conversion service for learning disable and visually impaired, via non-destructive mail-in book scanning, great prices, great service, and quick turnaround time "
"Technology seems to be ever-changing and ever-improving. What is so interesting to me is that individuals with special needs are able to benefit in ways I could never imagine. To see a young boy be able to communicate for the first time with the use of the ipad is life changing. "
"The use of educational technology is increasing worldwide. We are a school for dyslexia in New York State, USA. We attended Tech Forum New York 2011 and wrote about our experience in a recent blog post on assistive technology for dyslexia. We embrace and incorporate this technology at The Kildonan School, and found the Tech Forum to be very informative to educators. Please view our blog post for further information. "
"Assistive Technology should be available everywhere to help the learners with any kind of disability. Great article "
"It's great but I think that you still lack some other information about this topic. Try to expand more and cite specific and trendy technological devices for learning disabled children."
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