“The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) survey, which received almost 600 responses from school leaders, found that 80 per cent have reduced the number, or hours, of teaching assistants – and 47 per cent had reduced non-educational support and services for children.” (Eleanor Busby Education Correspondent for The Independent, Sunday 11 March 2018 00:28 GMT)

With the reduction of support within schools for disabled children and young people there is a need for cost-effective opportunities to help solve this problem for educational institutes that are required to provide reading assistants for classroom work and examinations. Assistive technology, which includes the portable scanning pens C-Pen Reader and the C-Pen Exam could offer an answer.

This is important as children and young people’s ability to learn may be hindered by a special education need or disability, especially those with dyslexia. These can include:

  • Pronouncing words correctly
  • Reading and understanding written work
  • Writing letters and numbers in the proper order
  • Proofreading written work
  • Organising their ideas
  • Taking notes
  • Memory problems
  • Processing ability
  • Behaviour or the ability to make friends
  • Concentration levels
  • Maintaining self-esteem

Both the C-Pen Reader and C-Pen Exam deliver excellent solutions for supporting people with a disability which may affect reading, writing, note-taking and memory skills as they are easily deployed and re-usable across multiple terms and exams. The Pens provide the user with text-to-speech, making it ideal for hearing words and lines of text aloud which promotes independent reading.

The C-Pen Reader can be used by people who struggle with reading or who are learning English as a second language, Spanish or French. Being pocket-sized it is portable and ideal for reading printed text whist giving the user dictionary definitions from the Collins 10th English Dictionary, Oxford Spanish or French Dictionaries. It also works as a scanner so lines of text can be scanned, stored and transferred to a PC or Mac for use at a later time. These functions will support some of the issues listed above for anyone requiring additional help, whether a student, teacher or professional.

The C-Pen Exam has been approved by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) for use in exams in schools. Brightly coloured so the invigilator is aware of its use in the exam, the Pen will promote independent reading. With ear buds those people sitting close by to the examinee will not be disturbed by its use. Different from the C-Pen with its absence of in-built dictionary and internal memory making it compliant with the JCQ’s statement of what is permitted within an exam, this is the ideal solution for those requiring additional help.