Achieve success through technology at last

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Unlike his classmates, Derrick Landry is allowed to bring a laptop to class. The precious machine contains software that enables the teenager to overcome his learning disabilities. He can thus attend a regular group of second secondary. “His computer allows him to increase his grades from 30 % to 70 %, testifies his mother, Marie-Josée Brunelle. It changed her life. "

Software doesn't do the job for it. They color certain letters and force him to ask himself questions during writing. Moreover, to be authorized, technological aid does not have to be infallible. It is the student who must judge whether a correction is justified or not, we explain on the website of the STORY in special education. The tools used must also be well chosen to help the young person to progress. The child's needs must first have been properly assessed by a multidisciplinary team. The ideal technological aid is determined after a long process.

Young people who, like Derrick, are finally finding success thanks to technology, there are many of them, assures Jean-Louis Tousignant, chairman of the board of directors of theQuebec Association of Learning Disabilities (AQETA). In fact, more and more of them are entering higher education. Some 947 students attended the university for the year 2011-2012 despite their dyslexia, dysorthography or dyscalculia. That's 400 more than five years ago, according to theQuebec Interuniversity Association of Counselors for Students with Disabilities.

Technology is very useful in helping children in difficulty, and not just those with learning disabilities, notes the Canada Research Chair in Information and Communications Technologies in Education. She cites the case of the Eastern Township School Board. After providing laptops to all students, the dropout rate dropped from 42 % to 22 %. His research has shown a positive impact on motivation and the quality of French. In order to obtain a meaningful result, however, young people must have regular access to this tool. “It is not by giving someone a cane once a week that we will teach them to walk,” illustrates the Chair team.

Putting words on the ailments

Several experts adopt a fairly broad definition of learning disabilities. They include all disorders that have a negative impact on learning. For AQETA, they specifically concern reading, writing and mathematics. They are of neurological origin and are permanent. They are not linked to an intellectual disability, a hearing or sight problem or a lack of stimulation.

According to the organization, there are three.
- The dyslexia, a disorder affecting learning to read. The dyslexic person has difficulty decoding written words.
- The dysorthography, or a disorder related to learning to spell. Most young people with dyslexia are also dysorthographic.
- The dyscalculia, a disorder related to learning arithmetic and the ability to handle numbers.

However, other disorders can also interfere with learning.
- The dyspraxia is an impairment of the ability to perform movements automatically. In other words, the affected person must consciously control every movement necessary to trace a letter, for example.
- The dysphasia is a disorder that affects the expression and comprehension of language.
- The attention deficit, as the name suggests, is a difficulty in maintaining attention. The young will often be described as lunatic. If he also has hyperactivity, the student will then have a great need to move and will disturb his classmates. Many dyslexics also have attention deficit disorder.

(Sources: Isabelle Boutin, orthopedagogue at Parcours d'enfants and the book Dyslexia and other school problems, by Marie-Claude Béliveau)


1. Know success at last through technology
2. ICTs to help students with learning disabilities: an injustice to others?
3. Technologies for assisting learning disabilities: the technopedagogical challenge for teachers
4. Digitizing your traditional equipment: a survival guide
5. Deployment of technological aids: changes to be expected in the classroom
6. Assistive technology and ministerial assessment