Depending on the nature of a child's learning disability, there are a number of different types of technology that can be used to help the child be more successful in school. Technology for learning disabilities is often called adaptive or assistive technology. The type of technology a student needs depends on the nature of the learning disability. In general, learning disabilities are broken into large categories that identify a child's learning disability as one of spoken language, written language, reasoning, or mathematical understanding. Though some children will have difficulties in a number of these categories, most of them have trouble in just one or two.
Students with spoken language based learning disabilities benefit from the use of visual aids. Often, teachers will display key words for students to pick up on, but for students who have difficulty processing auditory information, this may not be enough. Dictation software can be helpful in this case because it allows students to read spoken language as a person is speaking.
There are many different types of technology for learning disabilities that deal with written language. Many of these tools are on computers, and children with these types of learning disabilities may benefit from the use of a personal laptop at a young age. Word processing tools can make it easier for a child to compose their thoughts into written language, and the addition of tools such as predictive typing or dictation software can simplify this process even further. When reading is an issue, students can use audio recordings or software that allow a computer to read a section of text to the student. Students can also use small, portable pieces of technology, such as computerized pens capable of scanning a word in a printed book, reading it aloud, and defining it for the student.
For students who struggle with math, there are also a few types of technology for learning disabilities that can be used. Calculators and talking calculators can be helpful for students who struggle with remembering mathematical facts such as the multiplication tables. Electronic worksheets or computer programs can also help students line up information properly so that mistakes aren't made due to an error in the alignment of mathematical equations.
Students with difficulty reasoning can also benefit from technology for learning disabilities. These students may make use of computer-based graphic organizers and charts that help organize information for the student. Programs that give information in a variety of different ways, such as visually, verbally, and graphically can also be a great benefit for students who have this type of learning disability.