:: Assistive technology ::

Tools & Services to Maximize Potential

Assistive Technology (AT) refers to tools and services that facilitate access to grade-level curriculum for students with disabilities. Access to the curriculum means students are able to take in and understand the material being taught in school, complete assignments, and demonstrate what they’ve learned.

AT is no replacement for research-based, direct instruction, and it doesn’t cure or eliminate learning difficulties. But it can help students reach their potential as technology can capitalize on areas of strength and bypass areas of weakness.

Boy working on computer

Examples of Assistive Technology

Speech recognition

This software allows users to talk to a computer which converts speech into text. Individuals who have challenges with spelling or writing clearly benefit from this technology for all types of communication, from text messages, emails or other written communication.


This software helps people comprehend written material they need to read and allows them to proof-read or check their own work.

Mind mapping

This software is designed to allow dyslexics to plan their work more effectively.

Scanning software & hand reading pens

These allow the user to store and listen to the text found in books and other documents.

Spell checkers

Ones specifically designed with dyslexia in mind are able to automatically make corrections to written communications.


Smartpens can be used to write text, while tracking the text being written and recreating the notes in digital form. The pen can then upload the text to a smart phone, PC or tablet to allow further processing or electronic distribution.

Tablets, Smartphones & Applications

There are a wide range of hardware platforms and software applications that can help individuals to manage their time and task list more effectively or work in conjunction with other hardware devices such as smartpens.

Computer-based learning programs

These are specifically written for dyslexics and can help to sharpen their skills in reading, writing, touch-typing and numeracy.

Learn how to advocate for assistive technology tools and services at the IDA National Website.

Helpful Videos

Assistive Technologies from Microsoft that help Parents, Teachers & Students
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Assistive Technology to Support Reading, Writing & Study Skills
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Shelly Bayer

Shelly Bayer, PhD

Dr. Shelly Bayer is the Assistant Director for the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning at South Dakota State University where she works with faculty and graduate teaching assistants to create a culture of teaching excellence by promoting evidence-based strategies and encouraging professional and personal growth mindsets. Shelly earned her B.A. in English Education from South Dakota State University, her Masters of Education in Literacy (Certified Reading Specialist) from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas, and her doctorate in Education Administration – Adult & Higher Education through the University of South Dakota. Prior to her current employment, Shelly taught in public schools in Brookings, SD and Las Vegas, NV. Her educational background combined with her son’s identification as a dyslexic learner inspired her to work to create environments and systems that embrace the strengths of every learner and value each learner’s contributions to the process. Shelly joined the IDA-UMB Board of Directors in April 2018. She was elected as President in July 2021.