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Portable Writing Tools. Technology for Those Who Would Benefit from Writing Support. What is a Portable Writing Tool?.

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portable writing tools

Portable Writing Tools

Technology for Those Who Would Benefit from Writing Support


What is a Portable Writing Tool?

These small word processors are light and portable and can store multiple files. Text can be transferred at a later time to a computer for further formatting. Some of these tools, such as the AlphaSmart Neo, have additional, loadable applets (mini-application) that allow for word prediction. Others have voice recognition capabilities.


How Will It Help?

  • A portable word processing tool could
  • allow a student to be as mobile as any of his/her classmates
  • Allow a student to concentrate on writing content, rather than letter formation
  • Provide a legible record of a student’s work or thinking
  • keep a child from being completely hampered by spelling or word choice issues in his/her written communication
  • Lower frustration caused by small motor difficulties that inhibit accurate, legible writing

Word Prediction:

Is It a Hindrance or Help?

Some studies have shown that the use of word prediction actually improves performance (as opposed to increasing the reliance on external assistance). A portable word processor with word prediction capabilities, then, would not only increase the speed at which a student might be able to compose, but might also help to strengthen a student’s spelling or word retrieval skills.


Who Might Best Use It?

A student who has difficulty with writing, expressive language, or small motor coordination might benefit from the use of such a tool. A word prediction applet would be particularly helpful for a student with a spelling or expressive language disability. Some portable word processors have available software that allows voice recognition, which would be helpful to very young students, or those who have difficulty typing at all.


Where Could It Be Found?

Click here for information about Alphasmart Products such as Neo and Dana, as well as software for special-needs students.

Click here for information about Perfect Solutions Products such as LaserPC6 and Digital Notebook, and special applications.


Purchasing Information

Click here for dyslexic.com’s comparison between AlphaSmart3000 and the LaserPC6 (Please note that a third product mentioned, the CalcuScribe Duo, has been discontinued).

Click here for pricing information for AlphaSmart.

Click here for pricing information for Perfect Solutions.



Although portable word processors are relatively inexpensive when compared to other assistive technologies, knowing where to look for “ways to pay” is useful knowledge. P.L.U.K.org’s “The Family Guide to Assistive Technology” suggests the following as possible funding sources for the often costly technological support.

  • Early intervention programs
  • Schools
  • Transition programs
  • Vocational Rehabilitation
  • State Programs for Children with

Special Health Care Needs

  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • State Technology Resources
  • Used Equipment
  • Leasing
  • Equipment Loan Programs
  • Disability Organizations

Click here to go to “Parents, Let’s Unite for Kids” (P.L.U.K.)


Online Resources

Edutopia “Assistive Technology Enhances Learning for All”


“If Word Prediction Can Help, Which Program Do You Choose?”


North Central Regional Educational Laboratory


Nova Scotia Community Network