CapturaTalk Junior launched on the App Store

capturatalk-junior-app-icon-itunesartwork-2xiansyst are excited to announce the launch of CapturaTalk Junior, an app designed for students who require literacy support through KS1-KS4. The app is available to download on the App Store for iOS devices.

CapturaTalk Junior helps students with reading printed text and integrates the powerful ABBYY OCR (Optical Character Recognition) feature. Students are able to take a picture of text and convert it to digital text, ready to have it read aloud and then the option to edit it further. For example, the app includes its own integrated text editor with text-to-speech, assisting students with the sound of letters and words and supporting reading and comprehension. Other features include custom ‘phrase banks’ for students to create and store words and sentences, an integrated dictionary with homophone support and a range of user interface options including screen tint overlays, the ability to easy change the size of font and to choose a dyslexia friendly font.

Download CapturaTalk Junior on the App Store today.

Museums reach out to people with learning disabilities

museums-reach-out-to-people-with-learning-disabilitiesMuseums and cultural organisations should improve access for people with learning disabilities.

Access to the arts, galleries and museums for people with learning disabilities should be improved, according to a new report.

The research, conducted by Lemos&Crane, surveyed 81 arts organisations, museums and galleries across London and found that 46 per cent of mainstream (non-disability specialist) respondents didn’t offer any activity for people with a learning disability.

The report said: “Very few mainstream organisations had an embedded, publicised, ongoing stream for people with learning disabilities or had facilities for those with learning disabilities to access public events.

“Many organisations seem to be doing little or nothing. The general landscape of provision is patchy and halting.”

What’s more, the survey also revealed that cultural organisations found it difficult to reach people outside of the education system, resulting in those with learning disabilities being particularly underserved.

Despite this, the survey did report some areas of excellence in specific organisations, but museums and galleries are urged to do more to improve access and engagement in learning disability sectors.

Alistair Brown, policy officer at the Museums Association, said that organisations that want to get involved in the project should create a short case study outlining:

  • A description of project objectives
  • How the project has been promoted
  • How the project has been funded
  • How the organisation has worked with stakeholders
  • Outcomes and evaluation

One idea that arts and cultural organisations could employ is the use of assistive technologies that work to educate youngsters with learning disabilities through a series of digital software tools.

(Credit image: Thinkstock/megainarmy)

How to help your dyslexic child build self-esteem

Little Boys Assembling Toys Pieces

A guide to helping your dyslexic child boost their levels of self-esteem.

As a parent of a dyslexic child, coming to terms with and gaining a full understanding of the condition is crucial in order to successfully support your child’s development – both socially and academically.

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that primarily affects the way in which an individual reads and spells words. The degree of dyslexia can vary from mild to severe. However, the condition only affects some abilities and skills, and is not related to a person’s general level of intelligence.

According to the NHS, one in every ten people in the UK have dyslexia to some degree, with symptoms including particular difficulty with verbal memory and processing speed, phonological awareness, and rapid serial naming.

When you enrol your youngster in school, be it a mainstream or special institution, you may begin to notice differences in their behaviour, mood and attitude. If your child attends an inclusive school, it’s likely they will start to become more aware of their typically-developing peers, which will make their dyslexia appear more apparent.

As a result, they may start to feel self-conscious, which will create a knock-on effect on their levels of self-esteem. Because you can’t accompany your child in the classroom or playground, it is your role as a parent to look out for any unusual behaviour at home. For example, your child might become less talkative, seem unhappy or be less willing to partake in activities that they previously enjoyed.

You may consider taking your offspring to see a therapist and although that could be the best option, there are a number of ways in which you too can contribute towards improving their levels of self-esteem.

Why not follow some of these tips?

Firstly, make sure you have a solid relationship with your child’s teachers and other members of staff who they interact with. It may not always be obvious at home if your youngster is struggling socially, but speaking to their school may bring any issues to light.

For example, your child’s teacher could inform you that they are shying away from group discussions or have a tendency to sit alone in the playground or dining room. Having an awareness of this will set you off on the right foot to take appropriate intervention.

It may also be a good idea to speak to other parents of children in your child’s class and organise a play-date. Knowing how to initiate and maintain relationships with peers is crucial in child development, with or without a learning difficulty. Regular play-dates or enrolling your youngster in an after-school club will help them to gain confidence, which in turn will boost their self-esteem.

Give your child a chance to contribute to family discussions, chores or planning an activity. With this given sense of responsibility, it’s likely they won’t want to disappoint you and so will strive to carry out any task to the best of their ability. It is your role to acknowledge what they have achieved – no matter how big or small – and provide praise.

But a child’s ego isn’t only affected socially – academic skills can play a part too.

Some dyslexics have a short attention span, which can cause them to fall behind in particular subjects in school. Having difficulty with homework could create frustration and feelings of failure, which can be harmful to a child’s ego.

When your young one receives homework, take some time to sit and work through it with them. If they struggle to read or spell a word, explain it and provide positive reinforcement when they get something right. This will contribute towards increasing their self-esteem and will give them the encouragement to work independently or a willingness to approach more challenging tasks.

Using assistive technologies that are specially designed for children with dyslexia can prove useful as an additional support tool. These work to boost a child’s academic skills in a range of subjects, including maths and English.

A child’s self-esteem will be a strong determiner of their success and happiness throughout life, with children with dyslexia more vulnerable than those without the condition. Creating an effective and meaningful support system together with other family members, teachers, friends and caregivers, will contribute to your child’s long-term wellbeing.

(Credit image: Thinkstock/IPGGutenbergUKLtd)

How to help your dyslexic child build self-esteem

A guide to helping your dyslexic child boost their levels of self-esteem.

As a parent of a dyslexic child, coming to terms with and gaining a full understanding of the condition is crucial in order to successfully support your child’s development – both socially and academically.

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that primarily affects the way in which an individual reads and spells words. The degree of dyslexia can vary from mild to severe. However, the condition only affects some abilities and skills, and is not related to a person’s general level of intelligence.

Little Boys Assembling Toys Pieces

According to the NHS, one in every ten people in the UK have dyslexia to some degree, with symptoms including particular difficulty with verbal memory and processing speed, phonological awareness, and rapid serial naming.

When you enrol your youngster in school, be it a mainstream or special institution, you may begin to notice differences in their behaviour, mood and attitude. If your child attends an inclusive school, it’s likely they will start to become more aware of their typically-developing peers, which will make their dyslexia appear more apparent.

As a result, they may start to feel self-conscious, which will create a knock-on effect on their levels of self-esteem. Because you can’t accompany your child in the classroom or playground, it is your role as a parent to look out for any unusual behaviour at home. For example, your child might become less talkative, seem unhappy or be less willing to partake in activities that they previously enjoyed.

You may consider taking your offspring to see a therapist and although that could be the best option, there are a number of ways in which you too can contribute towards improving their levels of self-esteem.

Why not follow some of these tips?

Firstly, make sure you have a solid relationship with your child’s teachers and other members of staff who they interact with. It may not always be obvious at home if your youngster is struggling socially, but speaking to their school may bring any issues to light.

For example, your child’s teacher could inform you that they are shying away from group discussions or have a tendency to sit alone in the playground or dining room. Having an awareness of this will set you off on the right foot to take appropriate intervention.

It may also be a good idea to speak to other parents of children in your child’s class and organise a play-date. Knowing how to initiate and maintain relationships with peers is crucial in child development, with or without a learning difficulty. Regular play-dates or enrolling your youngster in an after-school club will help them to gain confidence, which in turn will boost their self-esteem.

Give your child a chance to contribute to family discussions, chores or planning an activity. With this given sense of responsibility, it’s likely they won’t want to disappoint you and so will strive to carry out any task to the best of their ability. It is your role to acknowledge what they have achieved – no matter how big or small – and provide praise.

But a child’s ego isn’t only affected socially – academic skills can play a part too.

Some dyslexics have a short attention span, which can cause them to fall behind in particular subjects in school. Having difficulty with homework could create frustration and feelings of failure, which can be harmful to a child’s ego.

When your young one receives homework, take some time to sit and work through it with them. If they struggle to read or spell a word, explain it and provide positive reinforcement when they get something right. This will contribute towards increasing their self-esteem and will give them the encouragement to work independently or a willingness to approach more challenging tasks.

Using assistive technologies that are specially designed for children with dyslexia can prove useful as an additional support tool. These work to boost a child’s academic skills in a range of subjects, including maths and English.

A child’s self-esteem will be a strong determiner of their success and happiness throughout life, with children with dyslexia more vulnerable than those without the condition. Creating an effective and meaningful support system together with other family members, teachers, friends and caregivers, will contribute to your child’s long-term wellbeing.

(Credit image: Thinkstock/IPGGutenbergUKLtd)

New computer game could boost reading skills of dyslexic pupils

A new computer game could help dyslexic pupils to improve their reading skills.

A new computer program developed to tackle dyslexia could help children from poor backgrounds – as well as those who are dyslexic – improve their reading skills, new research has claimed.

The implementation of assistive technologies for children with special educational needs has served as an effective method of learning for some time. It involves using digital software tools comprising a series of games and activities that centre around a range of topics – such as reading, spelling, comprehension and numeracy – to enhance a child’s skills in each area.

Boy with a notebook in park

This month, researchers at the University of Cambridge announced that the techniques designed for dyslexic children could also be a useful way of learning for children from poor homes, TES reports.

In order to explore this further, Usha Goswami – director of the Centre for Neuroscience in Education at the university – was granted £365,000 to conduct a trial using a computer game that considers the difficulties some children have in distinguishing individual sounds.

The programme, GraphoGame Rime, was created by a university in Finland and works to improve a child’s reading skills by testing their awareness of longer sounds within words.

Funding was awarded to Professor Goswami by the Education Endowment Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, and will be put to use in a randomised controlled trial with 400 children aged six and seven.

The participants will be required to match the sounds they hear through headphones to groups of letters they see on the screen for ten minutes each day. The level of sound between phonemes and syllables, called onset and rime, is the game’s main area of focus.

Once an activity is completed, the programme analyses the child’s answers, which will enable the researchers to assess whether playing significantly improves their reading skills.

According to Professor Goswami, focusing on onset and rime makes spelling more consistent when using longer sounds. For example, breaking up a word by the level of sound between phonemes and syllables would turn ‘cat’ into ‘c-at’.

She adds: “The computer game was developed for dyslexic children but [its use] suggests it should also be helpful for disadvantaged children generally, who typically have impaired language and reading skills.

“And indeed, the game should be helpful for all children in terms of teaching English phonics.”

The government and Ofsted have backed the use of synthetic phonics in primary schools: the former has introduced a phonics check for pupils aged six, as well as funding relevant resources and training; the latter has performed routine inspections to ensure phonics teaching is being implemented correctly.

Dr John Rack, director of education and research at Dyslexia Action, said: “From our point of view, we’ve always recognised that some kids don’t … hear all the small sound segments clearly, so for them it is better sometimes to use bigger chunks.

“We agree it may not be the best way to teach all children – using phonemes may be better. But for those who don’t get it we need to be more flexible, and units which are more consistent and easier to distinguish do play a part. We have an intervention programme, and onset and rime work is in that.”

More established computer games that target children with learning disabilities – and could also help those from poor homes – include the Nessy Learning Programme and Wordshark.

The former works to improve reading, spelling and writing and is a huge resource of strategies, worksheets and phonics, while the latter supports various aspects of reading and spelling that are designed to make literacy fun.

(Credit image: Thinkstock/iStock)

100 disabled people a day finding work following government’s #DisabilityConfident campaign

The government’s #DisabilityConfident campaign to help more disabled people into work has resulted in 100 disabled people every working day finding jobs, training or work placements.

#DisabilityConfident was launched in July 2013 by the Prime Minister, David Cameron who spoke of the importance of dispelling the myths about the complexities of employing disabled people.

The campaign has resulted in more than 78,000 people finding work since 2011 and is part of the government’s long-term economic plan to build on the increasing employment rate for disabled people.

Minister of State for Disabled People Mike Penning said: “This government is determined to boost the employment rate for disabled people.Our campaign is backed by the country’s biggest businesses and has started touring the country to show case the impressive talents of Britain’s 6.9 million disabled people.

“People with disabilities account for a fifth of the workforce and are tremendously valuable to the British economy – helping us compete in the global race.”

The Access to Work scheme, which provides financial support towards the extra costs faced by disabled people at work, supported 31,400 disabled people to keep or get employment last year and is soon to be extended to work experience placements.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of Easyjet, said, “Already over 100,000 disabled entrepreneurs employ an equivalent number of people in their business start-ups. This highlights the extraordinary strength of the entrepreneurial flair and talent amongst the disabled people of this country.”

Although employment rates are gradually increasing they are significantly lower than for non-disabled people.

For the full article go to http://www.hrreview.co.uk/hr-news/diversity-equality/100-disabled-people-a-day-are-moving-into-jobs-or-placements/50081

£30 million government fund for new SEN champions

The government has announced a new £30 million fund for more than 1,800 special educational needs (SEN) champions to support families through the new SEN process which comes into place in September 2014.

Changes to the support available for children with SEN will include replacing SEN statements and learning disability assessments with new birth-to-25 Education, Health and Care Plans – which will set out all the support that families will receive in one place.

The £30 million will be used to recruit and train a pool of ‘independent supporters’ drawn from independent voluntary,community and private organisations.

Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families, said, “I know from speaking to many parents how much they value any support in helping them access the services their children need. Independent supporters will be able to spend one-to-one time with families giving them the independent help and advice they need to progress through the new SEN process.”

The new system will provide greater integration of vital services and one system for children and young people with SEN from birth to 25. The independent supporters will also be able to intervene between the council and the families regarding any disagreements regarding the support needed.

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) is responsible for ensuring that a range of organisations provide the independent help and the recruitment of around 12 independent supporters in each area.

Christine Lenehan, CDC Director, said, “Independent support will become a valuable resource to help and support parents of children with SEN and young people, parent partnership services and local authorities,as we all move towards implementing the reforms and local offer. We look forward to working with a wide range of private, voluntary a community sector partners as we develop proposals further.”

For the full article go to http://www.investinuk.net/news/%C2%A330-million-new-special-educational-needs-champions-12c3