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Supporting Learners with Dyslexia Using Digital Technology

In the morning seminar session the CALL Scotland team will be sharing our knowledge and expertise of a wide range of hardware, software and apps that can support dyslexic learners to meet their learning objectives.

Dyslexia is a life-long neurodevelopmental condition that can result cause low achievement, high stress and atypical behaviour. The use of assistive digital technology combined with effective targeted teaching can help raise attainment for students with additional support needs. There are a wide variety of computers, tablets and devices on the market and all have excellent assistive features that can provide valuable support to dyslexic students who have difficulties reading, writing, spelling, numeracy with organisation.

Implementing just one element of assistive technology can revolutionise the way a dyslexic learner accesses the curriculum and improved performance can dramatically boost their self-esteem.



22nd February 2018
University of Edinburgh

Morning Seminar £40
(9:30am - 12:30pm)

with Workshop £80
(1:30pm - 3:30pm)

What you will learn

Morning seminar

  • Best practices to support dyslexic learners
    based on CALL Scotland's 'Addressing Reading Difficulties and 'Supporting Writing Difficulties' infographics
  • Exploration of assistive software and apps
    to support reading and writing difficulties e.g. spellchecking, grammar, text to speech, predictive text and speech recognition
  • Accessibility features and functionality of different devices: Windows, iOS, Android and Chromebooks
  • Sourcing e-books, digital texts and audio books
    and how to use assistive technology to support the reading of the texts.
  • Improving general computer navigational skills
    to enable the dyslexic learner to maximise the benefit of using digital technologies.
  • Audio to support note taking and help with organisation.
  • Assistive technology in SQA assessments and examinations: what is allowed and what needs to be in place for it to be successful.
  • The Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit: highlights of the best features in the technology section
  • Online cloud storage solutions
    for saving / accessing work easily.

Who is the seminar and workshop aimed at?

  • Class teachers, Support for Learning teachers - both Primary and Secondary
  • Classroom assistants, Additional Support Needs assistants
  • Anyone working with a student with an Additional Support Need
  • Parent/ Carers

Afternoon workshop (optional)

The afternoon session will be capped at a maximum of 16 participants. No prior knowledge or expertise is required. You will get the chance to have hands on practice with Windows laptops and iPads using the software, apps and resources that have been talked about in the morning session.

You will have time to explore, ask questions, share ideas and take home ideas that can be immediately embedded into your practice and support of a learner with dyslexia.

Meet your presenter(s)

Shirley Lawson
Assistive Technology and ASN Officer

I bring my teaching experience into my role at CALL as Development Officer for Assistive Technologies and Additional Support Needs. I lead the CALL Scotland Professional Learning and am focussing on providing a programme of relevant, quality assistive technology training to those working with children and young people with additional support needs and / or disabilities.

Craig Mill
Assistive Technology Advisor

Probably better known for developing the AccessApps, a suite of portable open source and free learning support tools that can be run from a USB drive.

Craig is also the developer of the awards winning MyStudyBar - a handy tool to support learners with literacy difficulties. Craig is keeping abreast of new developments in technology, particularly technology to help overcome barriers to learning.

Paul Nisbet
Engineer and Educational Technologist

Paul is a Senior Research Fellow and has an engineering background. He's involved in CALL's assessment and support service for pupils, with a particular responsibility for access technology for pupils with physical disabilities; and for technology to enable students with dyslexia or literacy difficulties access the curriculum.

What the research says

There is a large proportion of students whose impairments are not totally disabling yet their lives could be significantly improved by the use of assistive technologies. This represents mainly readers with dyslexia and other hidden disabilities that contribute to imperfect word-decoding and slower speed of processing.

Lewandowski and Montali (1996) conducted a study that compared the leaning of poor readers and skilled readers who were both taught through a text-to speech application with simultaneous on-screen highlighting of the spoken word. This study showed that:

Experiencing the text bi-modally (visually and aurally) enabled poor readers to perform as well as skilled readers in word recognition and retention.
Silver-Pacuilla, Heidi and Fleischman, Steve. Educational Leadership (2006), p. 84


About the day

Morning Seminar

  • Duration: 9:30am - 12:30pm
  • Class size: No more than 50
  • Refreshments: Tea, coffee and water will be available throughout.

Afternoon Workshop (optional)

  • Duration: 1:30pm - 3:30pm
  • Class size: No more than 16
  • Refreshments: Tea, coffee and water will be available throughout.


  • Room: G21, Paterson's Land, University of Edinburgh, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ