Understanding, Designing and Developing Assistive Technology for Students with Dyslexia in a Singapore Classroom


When developing assistive technology (AT) for individuals with learning or developmental difficulties, considering input from alternative stakeholders in the planning process increases the likelihood of sustainable AT programme implementation (Stoner, Parette, Watts, Wojcik & Fogal, 2008; Wong & Cohen, 2015). The study seeks to understand AT use in dyslexia intervention so as to effectively design and develop an innovative AT platform for primary school students with dyslexia. Focus group sessions were conducted at the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) with 9 Educational Therapists (EdTs) to discuss the challenges faced by dyslexic children, existing intervention methods, as well as their experiences, feedback and concerns with AT platforms. Observations of DAS students’ (n=13, Males=9, age range=7-12-years-old) during their regular intervention sessions with the EdTs were carried out to understand the learning environment and the implementation of AT in dyslexia intervention from the users’ perspectives. These students also tried out a prototype of a reading tool that we are developing, which facilitates word recognition and comprehension using the latest optical-character-recognition and text-to-speech technology. Qualitative thematic analyses of the data collected from the above sessions suggest that the current AT used in existing intervention is insufficient for addressing the specific reading and learning difficulties of the students, mainly due to a lack of resources, accessibility, and knowledge. Comparative analyses suggest that our innovative prototype is able to address these aforementioned limitations. The functional and logistical requirements expressed by the EdTs and students can serve as guidelines for future AT development and implementation.

Author Information
W. Quin Yow, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore
YeeNing Tan, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore
Tharshini Lokanathan, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2019
Stream: Implementation & Assessment of Innovative Technologies in Education

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon