Choosing a good software program for my child with LD

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LDA recommends using some basic criteria for selecting a software program to fit your or your student’s needs.

1. The software should have tasks that fit the learning goal. A student who is learning to read should be required to do more than listen to sounds played over and over. Ideally a student who is learning to read should be asked to match sounds with letters, categorize words with similar sounds, create new words with similar sounds, etc. Similarly, a program that teaches writing should require the student to do more than identify errors in sentences by selecting the correct answer. It should let the student write, read back what the student has written, point to errors and /or make suggestions. Ideally the software program you purchase should have audio, visual, and creative capabilities. If a program is teaching a strategy for writing, reading, or math, then the steps of the strategy should be presented first and pointed out as the student works.

2. The software should truly be interactive. Students should be able to do more than listen, read and click. Ideally students should be able to create, drag and drop, adjust settings to fit their needs, and print their work. All software programs should have audio, visual, and input capabilities.

3. The software program should be supported by research. A study has been conducted showing that students who used the program improved their skills over students who didn’t use the program or who used other software programs.

Where do I go to find these types of programs?

Instead of giving an exhaustive list of programs for each age and skill range, we have provided a list of websites that review and sell programs that fit the listed criteria.

LD Online has a technology review section that reviews software programs for students with learning disabilities and difficulties. It should be noted that programs that are good for students with learning disabilities could also benefit ESL and non-disabled learners. Go to the following web page for articles and software reviews. http://www.ldonline.org/ld_indepth/technology/product_list/writing.html

Don Johnston Learning is a website that sells software geared for individuals with learning and cognitive disabilities. http://www.donjohnston.com

Mind Play sells reading programs that are research based. http://www.mindplay.com/