Challenges and Benefits of Assistive Technologies for Learning Disabilities

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A joint file from Infobourg and Carrefour education.

By Nathalie Côté and Julie Beaupré

Sometimes very bright children struggle to succeed in their studies. They are victims of a disorder invisible to the naked eye: dyslexia, dysorthography or dyscalculia. Just over 3 % of Canadian children are said to have a learning disability, according to Statistics Canada. Some specialists argue rather that 10 % to 15 % would suffer. This difference is explained in particular by different definitions of learning disabilities.

Be that as it may, these students - and their parents - often experience schooling as a real way of the cross. In addition to the academic difficulties, these families have to fill out a lot of paperwork and wait for help. Several of them end up turning to private professionals.

However, these students, once simply labeled as mediocre, can now aspire to success, not least thanks to a technological boost. For the year 2012-2013, the Ministry of Education has budgeted $ 6.6 million to offer technological assistance to students with disabilities or with adjustment or learning difficulties. However, these tools remain controversial. Some players in the education community consider it to be cheating, nothing less. Conversely, others rather believe that this technology allows young people to finally express their full potential.

But even when they are convinced of the benefits of this technology, teachers face various obstacles on a daily basis. They must change their teaching methods and adapt to these new tools. Good training is usually needed to do this effectively. But the results are there. Once teachers and students master the technology, young people can finally be successful!


Summary of the file


1. Know success at last through technology
- Put words on the ailments

2. ICTs to help students with learning disabilities: an injustice to others?
- What the authorities say

3. Technologies for assisting learning disabilities: the technopedagogical challenge for teachers
- Vintage, dictations?
- Technological skills 101
- Easy, this software?

4. Digitizing your traditional equipment: a survival guide
- Planning and hardware
- Copyright: holà!

5. Deployment of technological aids: changes to be expected in the classroom
- What tech assistants bring to students
- Technological training

6. Assistive technology and ministerial assessment
- The exam tablet?