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Assistive Technology Applied to Dyslexia Education. Elizabeth M. Luhn Lone Oak ISD. Problem. Context. Literature Review. Objective. Methods. Findings. Conclusions. Implications. References. Directions for Presentation. Directions for Presentation.

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Directions for Presentation

directions for presentation
Directions for Presentation
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Dyslexia is a neurologically-based specific learning disability. Students with dyslexia struggle with the language portion of the brain vital to developing story lines and appropriately committing them to print.




The students utilized for this study were fifth grade dyslexic students of average intelligence (between 85%-114% according to KBIT-2). They have been historically low in language-based processes, such as writing, reading, and spelling, based on teacher observation, standardized testing, and the CTOPP, GORT, and WJ-III Achievement.

literature review
Literature Review
  • Students with dyslexia have difficulty in drafting compositions due to deficits in spelling, expressing ideas in complete sentences, and making ideas flow (Rief and Stern, 2010).
  • Dyslexic students can benefit greatly from the use of word processing software. This software frees students to easily revise, reorganize, replace vocabulary, and correct spelling and grammar (Rief and Stern, 2010).
  • Students with learning disabilities are willing to produce more written work when allowed to do so on the computer (Harwell and Jackson, 2008)
  • Research indicates use of a word processor can increase student awareness of spelling and grammatical errors and help them distinguish between different kinds of errors. Additionally, it enhances their ability to read their own written product (Hetzroni and Shrieber, 2004).
  • Dyslexic students are receptive to the visual, spatial, and lateral thinking abilities which can be heightened and fostered through the use of computer programs (Camarata, 2006).
  • Students will utilize word processor software to compose writing pieces.
  • Students will show marked improvement in specified areas:
methods overview
Methods: Overview

Fifth grade, dyslexic students were assigned four compositions over a 6 month period. Each student was familiar with the essential components of a written composition and had a year of keyboarding and technology applications experience. They utilized word processing software for writing, revising, and editing.

methods data
Methods: Data

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methods analysis
Methods: Analysis
  • Upon completing compositions, students utilized the proofing tools in Microsoft® Word, concluding with the Readability Statistics.
  • Statistics were entered into a table for each student.
  • Data was analyzed based on the discrepancy between the initial and final compositions.
  • Students improved the length of their compositions through increased word and paragraph count.
  • Spelling errors were reduced anywhere from 16%-50%.
  • 4 of 5 students increased their grade level readability for more than a year.
  • 1 student showed regression in readability, beginning at kindergarten 4th month and ending at a kindergarten 3rd month.
  • Students expressed an increased interest in writing when they knew they would be given the opportunity to use a word processor.

On average, students should show an increase of a year from one grade level to the next, disbarring mitigating circumstances, such as attendance or “dysteachia”. For the purpose of this research, dyslexic students utilizing a word processor showed greater than the expected yearly growth, and in only six months.

  • Teachers need to understand that students with dyslexia have the cognitive means (intelligence) to complete writing tasks, but not the neurological pathways. Word processors are one tool that can improve student writing through the use of spell check, grammar check, and formatting tools.
  • 504 Coordinators need to work towards implementing word processors as an example of assistive technology into 504 Accommodation plans, as directed by Senate Bill 866 (The Texas State Senate-Information News and Events of the 82nd Legislative Session, 2011).
  • TEA should consider the use of word processors for dyslexic students as an allowable accommodation on the STAAR.
  • Further exploration could be made with dyslexic students implementing text-to-speech software. This would enable students to listen to what they had written and allow them the opportunity to improve their writing in a multisensory capacity.
  • Gathering a larger testing sample would be the first step to ensuring this data is representative of dyslexic students, in general. Since the dyslexic population is less than 20% in any given setting, it would be necessary to complete this study throughout several districts.
  • For the student that did not show growth, I want to work towards determining if there are mitigating factors that were an influence. Mainly, what effect does AD/HD have on the writing process?

Camarata, L. (2006). Instructional Computer Programs and the Phonological Deficits of Dyslexic Children (Master's thesis). Retrieved from

Harwell, J. M., & Jackson, R. W. (2008). The complete learning disabilities handbook: ready-to-use strategies & activities for teaching students with learning disabilities. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass.

Hetzroni, O., & Shrieber, B. (2004). Word Processing as an Assistive Technology Tool for Enhancing Academic Outcomes of Students with Writing Disabilities in the General Classroom. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 37(2), 143-154. Retrieved from

Rief, S. F., & Stern, J. M. (2010). The dyslexia checklist: a practical reference for parents and teachers. San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass.

Shaywitz, S. (2003). Overcoming dyslexia : a new and complete science-based program for reading problems at any level / Sally Shaywitz. New York: Vintage.

The Texas State Senate - Information News and Events of the 82nd Legislative Session. (n.d.). The Texas State Senate - Information News and Events of the 82nd Legislative Session. Retrieved from