Christine A Howard

Computer Hacks and Apps for the Special Needs Homeschool

I really believe that modern technology is the reason I can successfully homeschool my children. Without things like Pinterest, Facebook groups, and YouTube, I am certain that I would be hiding out in my bathroom on a much more regular basis. Luckily, we do live in the age of technology, and every day it seems that something else comes out that makes life a whole lot easier. Here are a few of the computer hacks and apps that we have found that you might find useful as well…

Google’s Got Your Back

Years ago, when my son was first diagnosed with Dyslexia, we sought out a screen reader and a speech-to-text program. We were told these tools would help him become a faster more well prepared learner. However, what we found were outrageously priced programs that only allowed for one device. Of course we bought them, because what choice did we have, right?

Well, fast forward to today, and I am super excited to report that Google has saved our family from paying out tons of money for either of these tools anymore. Google provides these tools free with their office editing tools, Doc, Sheets and Slides. These products offer a free screen reader and speech-to-text tool already built in. Since Google can be found on just about any device, this not only means we get these tools for free, we can have them on any device we happen to be using at the time.

To find these tools and begin checking them out, you can review the screenprints below:


screenprint of Google Accessibility Settings
Google’s text-to-speech program called, “Voice Typing,” can be found under Tools.

Screen Reader, Braille Tool and Screen Magnification

screenprint of Google Accessibility Settings
The Accessibility tab in Google will allow you to activate the screen reader and other useful tools such as Braille and screen magnification.

IXL Has The Practice Covered

I don’t know about your kids, but mine just don’t always grasp a new learning concept after ten or twelve practice examples. That is why we absolutely love IXL Learning. With this computer-based program, your child will literally never run out of practice. I don’t think it is possible. Which is great for kiddos that need that.

IXL Learning offers practice in Math, Social Studies, Science, Language and even beginners Spanish. The best part is that you can access IXL from just about any digital platform. They even have an app that can be downloaded for easy access on mobile devices including our Amazon Fire tablets.

To see our full product review of IXL Learning, please click the link below:

Coughdrop Assistive Speech App

Coughdrop is a little known speech app that allows parents to turn any mobile device or laptop into an assistive speech device. And, the best part is that you can use the app for free. There are subscriptions you can purchase to add some additional bells and whistles, but the base app if free.

Screenprint of Coughdrop
Coughdrop works on any mobile device and can also work on a desktop computer or laptop.

Coughdrop offers quite a bit of customization as well. You can change how many pictures appear on the grid, the captions of the pictures, and even the pictures themselves. Let’s say you are at the museum for the afternoon, and you want to customize the app to allow your child some choices. You could quickly snap some photos, upload them to Coughdrop, and make a new grid for the museum. This can literally be done in minutes.

Screenprint of Coughdrop
Coughdrop is very easy to customize.

Click the link to get more information about Coughdrop.

Endless Audiobooks with Audible

Reading can be a tough thing for a lot of students. I know that in our house, reading has always been a challenge for my son. He is a smart kid, but reading is a slow and arduous process. Audible has really been a lifesaver for him.

Audible, a product of Amazon, is a collection of digital audiobooks. They have so many titles to choose from, and they even have a small collection of textbooks available. This is not a free option, so if your family typically gets your books from the library, Audible may seem a bit pricey. They are, however, very comparable in price to a print copy.

Screenprints of Audible

Since Audible is an Amazon product, it can be used on pretty much any mobile device. The books, because they are audiobooks, don’t have any print to them. We choose to also have the print copy of the book and have my son follow along with the audiobook. You could choose to have your child read the print copy independently after they have listened to the audiobook if you wish. It really depends on how you feel most comfortable.

Click the link to check out Audible for yourself.

Learning can be quite challenging when you have special needs that get in the way. Luckily, in today’s world, we have technology to make things a whole lot easier.

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Let’s hear what you came up with for the Letter C this week. You can add your post below. And don’t forget to visit the co-hosts and other participants.

Letter B- 3/1/19 Inlinkz Link Party

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