One of the most stressful things about visiting a foreign country is that is can be difficult to navigate around. There are signs everywhere, but unfortunately, none of them are in English. This can get even worse when you go to a restaurant, but you can’t read the menu. Not being able to read the language can make international travel a very stressful and confusing experience. Now, imagine going through all of that, but in your own country. All of the signs around you are in English, but you can’t read them. That’s what it’s like for those with reading challenges and disabilities like dyslexia.
In the past, devices that helped people manage their reading disabilities could be quite expensive. Not everyone could afford them, leaving many folks who needed them in the lurch. Today, that is all changing. Accessibility software and innovative uses of the technological devices that we already have in our lives, like computers, tablets, and phones, can offer advanced reading accessibility features that don’t cost a dime. All you need to know is how to use them!
Use Your Device to Read Small Text
Smartphones have completely changed the way we interact with the world. Augmented reality can take in the environment around you and seamlessly add digital elements you can see on your screen. One of the best reading accessibility tools that’s built into every smartphone is the camera. If you are trying to read very small text, all you have to do is use your phone as a high-tech magnifying glass, zooming in on the text to make it larger on your screen. Not being able to read medicine bottles or small menus will be a thing of the past!
Use Your Phone to Read Words Aloud
Modern smartphones often have powerful accessibility options built right into the device. The problem is that they are usually buried in the settings menus. One of the best features for those with reading disabilities is text-to-speech. Using it, your phone can read aloud any text that is currently on your screen. Websites, books, documents, it doesn’t matter. As long as there is formatted text on the screen, your phone should be able to read it to you.
Use Your Computer to Read Aloud from a Google Doc
If you have a difficulty reading, then content creation can quite a challenge. Editing requires you to read back through what you’ve typed and then fix any mistakes you find. Thankfully, using GSuite (Google Docs, Gmail, Google Drive, etc.), you can have your computer read your entire document aloud to you, helping you follow along with the text on your screen. This can greatly assist the spotting of typos and grammatical errors.
Use Your Computer to Read Aloud in Microsoft Word
Of course, the direct competitor to GSuite, Microsoft Word, offers a very similar feature. If Microsoft Office is your choice of productivity suite, then having the computer read the content on the screen aloud can be a huge advantage, whether you are reading, creating, or editing content.
Access Free Digital Books if You Are a US Student with a Reading Disability
This is a fantastic secret that not many people know about. If you are a student in the US with a documented reading or print disability, then you can access literally hundreds of thousands of digital eBooks online for free! All of these books offer a number of different reading options, including built-in text-to-speech, highlighted words as you read, and even braille options!
If you would like to learn more details about how you can use your already owned devices in brand new, powerful ways, I cover everything in far greater detail on my website. There, you can get free access to videos of me explaining how to best take advantage of these technology-assisted reading methods.
If you’d like to learn more about Innovative Speech Therapy, let’s connect on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you’d like to contact me to talk about speech therapy strategies, the useful tips listed above, or anything else, just visit this page and we can set up a free 15-minute consultation!