Over the last few months, I’ve seen a few updates to popular software products providing reading and writing support people with SpLDs. This article takes a look at these updates:
Global AutoCorrect v4
Global AutoCorrect software was updated earlier in the year to improve performance and to give it a fresher, cleaner look. Thankfully, what has remained intact is the core of this software’s strength which is to provide background spellchecking whilst you write, in a discreet and unobtrusive way. In my experience, the key benefit of this software is to allow people who struggle with spelling to concentrate on their writing flow, rather than correcting spelling mistakes or substituting their chosen word for one which they know how to spell.
For those of you who don’t know Global AutoCorrect software, it works in a similar way to the AutoCorrect function within Microsoft Office. Try typing “teh” into Microsoft Word and watch it turn into “the” when you hit Enter or Space. A simple, yet effective idea. Global AutoCorrect takes this concept and extends it with impressive features including:
- over 130 dictionaries covering wide-ranging subjects including English, French, German and Italian studies, biology, chemistry, physics, creative arts, music, theology, zoology, and medicine. Dictionaries include subject specific words with pre-programmed autocorrections
- autocorrecting is not restricted to Microsoft Office. Global AutoCorrect software works in all applications including webmail, social media sites, live chat apps, blogging sites, graphic design applications and much more
- adding your own corrections is simple (just press F2)
- review your own spelling mistakes. Users may print out a short, or long list to work on their spellings in their own time
- simple backup and restore functionality. Many of us now use different computers and change our own computers every few years. Having struggled in the past to move my own Microsoft Office AutoCorrect settings from one computer to another, Global AutoCorrect’s backup and restore feature is straightforward to use
TextHelp’s flagship product has undergone a major update. The key focus of the update is to simplify the user interface whilst retaining the impressive literacy support features that people have benefited from for years. They have even simplified the name to Read&Write. I’m sure many of you know this software but for those who don’t, it is worth researching the product online or downloading a 30 day demo and try it for yourself.
I’ve been using the new version of Read&Write for my assessment work over the last few months. The user interface now comprises of just one toolbar which is a huge improvement over the multiple toolbars of previous versions. No longer am I hunting for features and settings. A nice feature is that with a Read&Write licence, users can sign-in to use the features on Windows, Mac and Google computers, as well as iPad and Android tablets.
Dragon Dictate for Mac
Unfortunately this product has been discontinued by Nuance. The Dragon products for Windows computers remain available. I don’t know of any other voice recognition product specifically for Apple Mac computers. The options for a Mac user looking for a voice recognition solution are as follows:
- use the built-in dictation facility within the Mac OS. In my opinion, it is more accurate than the built-in Windows speech recognition
- use the Google Docs dictation feature. Press CTRL SHIFT S to switch it on in a Google Doc or click Tools/Voice Typing
- use a Dragon Windows product e.g. Dragon Home or Dragon Professional Individual. To do this, Windows should be installed onto the Mac either as a dual boot setup (Bootcamp) or as a virtual machine setup (Parallels or VM Fusion). If you are not confident in setting up Windows on your Mac, you may need to seek specialist IT help
- please let me know if you know of any other options
ClaroRead for Mac
This software has been updated to work with the new Mac OS (Mojave). The ClaroRead Plus and Pro versions of the software come with Claro Ideas for the Mac which is a simple mind mapping tool. The updated ClaroRead for Mac now includes a USB Creator facility to allow the user to create a USB drive to run their copy of ClaroRead on any Mac.
Claro Software has started to deliver monthly webinars to help professionals and users get the most from their software. Webinars are recorded and available on demand. If you sign up to Claro Software’s mailing list, they will send you an email every month with webinar details.
Free software and AT training via the AT Scholarship
The manufacturers of Global AutoCorrect, Read&Write, MindView and AudioNotetaker software have teamed up, along with AT training partners to provide grants for free copies of their software and AT training. There are currently 20 grants per year available. Applications can be from anyone in the world. Details at their website above – good luck!
Details of author
Mike Williams has worked in the field of Assistive Technology (AT) since 1985. Over the years he has delivered in excess of 3,000 AT Assessments for disabled children and adults with wide ranging needs. Before starting his own business in 2010 he was Head of Assessment Services for AbilityNet, the technology and disability charity.
Mike now provides AT assessment and training services for schools, universities and families. Mike is independent and passionate about the empowering qualities of AT. He believes that for many people, AT truly unlocks potential.
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