Assistive Technology is just Technology

The team at Diverse Learners all strongly believe that utilising technology is for many learners the gateway to increased productivity, empowerment and  independence that then results in increased confidence and self-belief.

Jim always says he could not function without his iphone and all the apps. The technology enables him to sync everything up so he knows where he should be and what he should be doing.

Dave embraces Text-to-Speech software and Text-to-Speech software to use less energy when reading and writing.

I write my emails and posts using Speech-to-Text software. I would find planning a very stressful and lengthy process – and probably wouldn’t do it –  if I did not use mind mapping software.


One of the things we emphasise to the students we support is that most lecturers don’t care how you did the assignment as long as it is in on time, meets the learning outcomes and answers the question coherently. Technology can definitely help you do that and it really doesn’t matter if you:

  • Read the article, assignment, book via Speech-to-Text software /
  • Planned it on mind mapping software
  • Wrote it on Text-to-Speech software
  • Edited it Speech-to-Text software to hear where improvements might be needed using the software highlighting tools and comment boxes.

It is NOT CHEATING and you are still a “proper” learner / student. In fact I would argue that you are a diligent, more productive learner. You will have better  self – awareness of your learning needs and so increase productivity. This  is a transferable skill that any employer would want in an employee.

To give you the confidence to embrace this technology I have just had a paper and poster presentation accepted by the British Dyslexia Association 9th  International Conference.


  • I planned the paper on mind mapping software,
  • Wrote it  via Speech-To-Text software
  • Edited it using the highlighting tools and dictionary on Text-to-Speech software.
  • Submitted the poster presentation as a mind map (and with the click of 1 button transferred it to the linear bullet point version for not mind mappers)


This blog – Assistive Technology is just Technology – originated from the comments I left on a blog by Sharon Plante about the importance of using technology for people who have dyslexia.  I wanted to share it with you as it so refreshing in terms of its message and it is also written in a positive tone.  I recently blogged about how frustrated I find the paternal tone and negative language of pieces that write about dyslexia and dyspraxia . It was called Don’t Say Suffer and you can read it here.

Assisitive technology (AT)  is simply technology that assists you do do something more effectively and efficiently. I  have seen a dramatic change over the last 2 years in attitudes towards what once was regarded as  “special” technology only for those people who have a disability.  I no longer have to give long explanations  about how Speech-To-Text software works as the adoption of Siri on the Iphone is so well known.

Assistive Technology should no longer be seen as just the domain of those of us who have dyslexia, dyspraxia, mental health or long term health issues but revert to a purer interpretation.  Use it as a tool  for taking control and being proactive to ASSIST you to DO more, in LESS time, using LESS energy and with LESS stress.

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