Around 10% of the UK population is thought to be dyslexic to some degree. There is, unfortunately, a certain amount of stigma attached to the disorder, which often prevents people – especially adults – from seeking help, so an accurate figure may well be a little higher than that.
Dyslexia is a language-based disorder, sufferers of which finding reading, spelling, recognizing words and decoding letters and numbers exceptionally difficult. It is a life-long learning disability with no known cure. However, with early intervention (and schools are generally much better equipped these days at diagnosing pupils with the disorder) and by implementing various methods, the impact of the disorder is vastly decreased and dyslexic students can quite readily achieve a learning level that is on a par with their peers.
There are a number of decent apps out there that dyslexic students, along with their parents and teachers, may find particularly useful, and below is a round up of 5 of the best of them.
1: Dyslexia Quest
Nessy Learning Limited’s Dyslexia Quest includes 6 games all designed to develop a specific learning ability, including testing and building memory and other learning skills. Identifying the user’s strengths and weaknesses, the results generated can be emailed directly to the participant’s parent or learning professional so that progress may be monitored.
Specifically, the games are designed to develop working memory, processing speed, visual memory, phonological awareness, auditory memory and sequencing skills. Developed, tested and researched at the Bristol Dyslexia Centre, the games are for single player only.
2: Oz Phonics
Coming soon to Android, Oz Phonics and its sequels are currently available for the iPad and focuses on letter-sound relationships. Designed for both dyslexic children as well adults with reading difficulties, there are also free printable worksheets to accompany the digital material.
Specifically the app develops the key reading skills of:
- Differentiating between English sounds and matching identical ones
- Distinguishing words starting with different sounds
- Completing words by choosing a missing sound
- Sound to letter and letter to sound
Currently being used in 19 countries across the globe, SoundLiteracy is an app for iPad which is designed for the use of parents and teachers to enhance literacy lessons. The developers at 3D Literacy insist that the app is not a game, preferring to describe it as an instructional tool that facilitates the interaction between teacher/parent and pupil. The skills on offer for learning must be guided by an instructor.
- 6 specially designed ladders for building and comparing spellings and phonemes
- Vowel and consonant phoneme maps
- Distinguish individual sounds
- Develop spelling strategies
- Process word sound structures
openWeb has been designed to replace the default browser on iPhone and iPad. Web text is automatically converted into a more readable format, instantly making the web more accessible to people with dyslexia and other reading disorders.
- The default font that the app alters all text to is called OpenDyslexic, and designed specifically to be easy to read for dyslexic readers
- Symbols are darker and bolder to help in the detection of sentences and phrases
- Colours have reduced contrast to minimise glare
- A reading mode allows users to read the page at optimized formatting for the screen size
Developed for individuals with dyslexia and dysgraphia (the inability to write coherently), ModMath allows users to type math problems instead of having to write them by hand. Everything can by done via the touch screen so the need for handwriting is entirely eliminated. This ensures the ability of students to actually be able to learn basic math skills – without being able to read their own writing, this is a nearly impossible task otherwise.
- Virtual graph paper where math problems are set up in a format that is easily legible for the user
- Multiplication, division, subtraction and addition, fractions and equations all available for the students without there ever being the need for pen and paper
- Work pages are all printable and can also be emailed so that homework set can be sent and submitted to the teacher for marking
With the exception of SoundLiteracy with a price tag of £17.49, most of the apps available here are under £2.50 or else completely free of charge. There are many more apps available that are designed towards individuals with dyslexia, and for a fuller list head over to the National Center For Learning Disabilities.