Using Apps for Homework
By Jacquie Cook,
AT Trainer and Technician
Here is some good “app” news for people who need some assistance in communicating in this world. I am certainly in that category too, as I have a hearing loss myself.
Text-To-Voice. First off, I'm "writing" this message by way of Naturally Speaking, which is a voice to text program that is available at no cost on the iPad, IPod and the IPhone. As I speak, the program converts my voice into text on the iPad I'm using right now. Then my message can be printed, e-mailed, or saved to the iPad. It is really helpful and efficient. See
Dragon Dictation by Nuance Communications, an easy-to-use voice recognition application powered by Dragon® NaturallySpeaking® that allows a user to speak and instantly see typed text or email messages. In fact, it’s up to five times faster than typing on the keyboard. More helpful information is available on video at You Tube.
Instant Captioning Of Movies. To instantly subtitle movies in the movie theater, I use a program called Subtitles. Search for the movie in the program that you would like to attend. If it is available, download it and take your iPod or iPad to the movies with you to read the captioning directly from your device. You don't need an Internet connection for it to work because the dialogue of the movie is understood directly by your device. It times quite accurately with the dialogue of the movie, although sometimes it gets ahead or behind and it is very easy to press a button to move it back a bit or forward a bit. I use it to understand 100% of the movie rather than just 15% when I try to speechread on my own. This app is free and there is also a YouTube video available to show how it works. One may be wise to check with the theater staff before using, or at least sit away from the view of others in the theater.
Captioning In-Coming Telephone Calls. There are two phone captioning programs available as apps: Hamilton CapTel the other is called Clear Caption. Either of these free programs convert the voice of the caller to text of any telephone call you receive to your iPad/IPod/IPhone. You won't miss a word, if like me, you have difficulty understanding on the phone.
If your child has speech recognition or fine motor/keyboard or writing challenges, there are also free AT programs for the devices to consider.
Editor’s Note: The author works with children or adults who wish to access and learn communication technology which best meets their needs.