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Assistive Technology (yikes! what's that?!)

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Assistive Technology

Limited and well-managed use of ‘Assistive Technology’ is recommended to increase efficiency in both reading and written expression. Assistive technology helps individuals to gain and provide knowledge at a faster pace. Your students/children may benefit from using assistive technology in secondary school to keep up with the daily demands of reading and assignments. It is important to dabble with programs and devices to see what works best for your students/children before they leave primary school.

Programs and devices to have a look at:


The C-pen (scanner pen) has been approved by the Department of Education to use in exams. There are two types of pens: white and orange.

The white pen is used for everyday study. It has scan and store capabilities, a built-in dictionary, an earphone connector and more.

The orange pen is limited to the read only function and can be used in exams. We would suggest initially using the pen(s) as a study tool to become comfortable and confident with it before using it in an exam.

You can borrow a pen from your local library (for a set number of weeks) and your student/child can test it out before committing to purchasing one.

( provides a review of the ‘best scanner pens of 2020’).

Speech recognition programs allow the user to speak into a microphone and the words appear on the screen. These programs also recognise commands. This is a great tool for writing but requires practice in order for it to be of any benefit .

Google voice typing (free): VOICE TYPING

Dictate tool in Office 365: Dictate in Microsoft 365

Text to Speech programs read text to you via your device. Again, these programs require practice in order to be of any benefit.

Kurtzweil (Scan book and computer will read text. Great for textbooks and reading chapters. Many other study skills functions accompany this program) Kurzweil Education

Read and Write Gold 11.5 Texthelp Read & Write Software

Mind mapping

Kidspiration Kidspiration 3.0

Great site for apps

CALL Scotland has collated a set of recommended ‘Apps’ for students with reading and writing difficulties (available here: Assets/ckfinder/userfiles/files/Wheel_0f_Apps_V1_0.pdf) Learn about CALL Scotland is highly recommended as a source of information on appropriate ‘tech’ for use by learners with additional literacy needs. A Facebook page is also available which offers ‘live’ support and advice (

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