At a recent meeting of the Adult Network (Edinburgh), Allan Wilson from CALL Scotland told us about CALL Scotland, and demonstrated some assistive technology to us. This blog post:
- Shares some of the information Allan gave;
- Signposts you to further information;
- Tells you about my personal experience of assistive technology; and
- Asks you some questions. I will be telling you about specific pieces of technology that dyslexic adults may find helpful. This does not equate to Dyslexia Scotland endorsing these.
- ‘CALL’ stands for Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning.
- CALL Scotland supports people with disabilities, including dyslexic adults, to use assistive technology. For example, CALL provides:
- Videos that demonstrate specific pieces of assistive technology.
- Free downloadable resources, including a wheel of iPad Apps for dyslexic learners http://www.callscotland.org.uk/downloads
- WordTalk, a free text reader which reads out Microsoft Word documents from your computer or device. http://www.callscotland.org.uk/information/wordtalk
The Scottish Voice
- The Scottish Voice is a computer voice which CALL Scotland and software company Cereproc developed together.
- It comes in 3 forms: a female version called Heather, a male version called Stuart, and a Gaelic version called Ceitidh.
- You can install the Scottish Voice on your computer or mobile device. It is compatible with most text readers.
- All dyslexic adults in Scotland can obtain the Scottish Voice.
- Just fill in the form at http://www.thescottishvoice.org.uk/download and CALL will send you a link to download the voice.
Scanning pens and Apps
- Scanning pens and Apps let you scan text and then listen to it.
- Allan demonstrated 2 scanning Apps to us: ‘Claro ScanPen Reader’ and ‘TextGrabber’.
- Allan’s written a comprehensive blog post on scanning pens and apps: http://www.callscotland.org.uk/blog/scanning-pens-or-scanning-apps/
‘I have an iPad – which apps should I obtain to help me with dyslexia?’
- Allan is often asked this question. He answers it by asking: ‘Do you know about Speech Selection?’
- Speech Selection is built into the iPad. It does the same job as a text reader: converts text to speech.
My personal experience of assistive technology
- I use the Scottish Voice and text readers to proof read my writing, and to listen to a piece of text that is too long for me to read in print. The Scottish Voice helps me because I, and most of the people I speak to, have a Scottish accent. This makes the computer voice sound as normal as possible to my ears, which means I can focus on the content.
- My Workplace Needs Assessment acted as a useful starting point for me because it recommended specific software, and which purposes to use it for.
- For more information on assistive technology, see Dyslexia Scotland’s leaflet ‘Dyslexia and ICT’, available in pdf and audio at https://www.dyslexiascotland.org.uk/our-leaflets
What is your experience of assistive technology?
- What assistive technology do you use?
- What purposes do you use it for?
- What would be your top tip(s) on assistive technology?
- If you’d like to share your answers, please post a comment.
By a member of Dyslexia Scotland
 Assistive technology is technology that helps disabled people.
 An app, or application, is a piece of software you can download and use on your mobile device.
 Text readers read electronic text aloud. For a self-help guide on text readers, see Making written web content accessible using text readers
 A computer voice is a synthesized voice which you can install on your computer or device. It works with a text reader to read electronic text out loud.