Paths to Literacy

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Assessing Writing Software Tools for People with Vision Impairment, Learning Disability, and/or Low Literacy

Teenage girl with fingers on computer keyboard

Assessing Writing Software Tools for People with Vision Impairment, Learning Disability, and/or Low Literacy
by Rose M. Angelocci and Barbara G. Connors
University of New Orleans Training, Resource, and Assistive-Technology Center

Review of the literature reveals that it is difficult to identify and assess people who have a visual impairments and learning disabilities (VI/LD) and to provide appropriate intervention strategies. This study evaluated five writing software tools designed for people with learning disabilities to determine their accessibility by and usefulness for people with visual impairment and low literacy. Both strengths and limitations in features and accessibility were identified. Several programs are appropriate for use by people with residual vision. Speech recognition appears to be the most promising accommodation tool for a person who is totally blind. It is postulated that software that can address the needs of people with learning disabilities in addition to visual impairments may help raise their literacy levels.