The different types of dyslexia tools fall into several broad categories. Physical aids for reading, such as colored dyslexia overlays, help people with dyslexia read printed text. Computer programs, especially voice recognition software and other programs assist with not only reading, but also with writing. Dyslexia tutors may help students by introducing them to various reading aids and providing accommodations. Teachers, website designers and others involved in the presentation of the written word can use strategies that make reading and comprehending text and lessons more manageable for people with dyslexia.
Some of the most widely used dyslexia tools are simple aids that help people with dyslexia visually decipher the written word. Clear color overlays reduce the contrast between printed text and the white background. Different colors should be tried, as individuals may have a preference for a particular color. Another simple dyslexia tool is the use of a blank sheet of sturdy paper with a cutout window, allowing readers to see only one line of text at a time. This removes the distractions of looking at an entire page of text.
Other basic dyslexia tools and strategies include the use of colored highlighters to designate key points in the reading material. Color coding both books and class notes using highlighters or sticky tabs helps with dyslexic students’ reading comprehension and organizational difficulties. Many textbooks and works of literature are available as recordings, whether on tape, compact disc or in an electronic format. These provide a spoken version of the written material. Many students use these along with their printed texts.
Accommodations for students with dyslexia help them compensate for the difficulties they have with reading, comprehension and writing. Students with dyslexia often need much more time while studying, writing or taking tests. To efficiently use the dyslexia tools and strategies available to them, students may receive extra time for assignments and tests. Having a copy of the textbook that can be highlighted is another accommodation that schools provide. Tests may be read aloud to students and scribes or computers provided for lengthy written work.
Learning centers and dyslexia tutors are accommodations provided by school districts and many colleges. A dyslexia tutor helps students learn to use the many dyslexia tools, while also teaching strategies for improved reading comprehension and time management. Learning centers or tutoring rooms may provide quiet places with minimal distractions for test taking. The dyslexia tutor may consult with teachers and professors, teaching them strategies that help dyslexic students in the classroom.
A host of strategies are used in classrooms to provide a learning environment appropriate for students with dyslexia. Teachers generally present materials in a variety of formats, including videos and hands-on activities along with traditional lectures. Many students with dyslexia have difficulty quickly transcribing oral information into written notes. Teacher-provided copies of daily class notes and assignments are useful dyslexia tools. These allow students to pay full attention to classroom activities while providing them with clear notes and instructions for daily assignments.
Computer programs are increasingly available specifically for students with dyslexia. Voice recognition software provides dyslexia tools for reading as well as for writing. The process of writing grammatically correct, sequential and logical sentences and paragraphs is sometimes difficult for students with reading problems. Some software uses contextual clues to correct spelling and grammar errors. Other software provides visual methods for outlining and organizing ideas before starting the writing.