Effects of assistive technology for students with reading and writing disabilities
Journal article, 2021

Background: Assistive technology has been used to mitigate reading disabilities for almost three decades, and tablets with text-to-speech and speech-to-text apps have been introduced in recent years to scaffold reading and writing. Few scientifically rigorous studies, however, have investigated the benefits of this technology.

Purpose: The aim was to explore the effects of assistive technology for students with severe reading disabilities.

Method: This study included 149 participants. The intervention group received 24 sessions of assistive technology training, and the control group received treatment as usual.

Results: Both the intervention and control groups improved as much in 1 year as the normed population did. However, gains did not differ between the groups directly after the intervention or at 1 year of follow-up.

Conclusions: The use of assistive technology seems to have transfer effects on reading ability and to be supportive, especially for students with the most severe difficulties. In addition, it increases motivation for overall schoolwork. Our experience also highlights the obstacles involved in measuring the ability to assimilate and communicate text.Implications for rehabilitations Assistive technology (AT) can be useful for children with reading disabilities to assimilating text as well as boosting their reading. Children with reading disability using AT increased reading performance as much as a norm group, i.e. the students enhanced their reading ability despite no training in traditional reading remediation. Children’s and adolescents’ motivation for schoolwork can be boosted when using AT as a complement for those with reading and writing disabilities.



assistive technology

Reading and writing disability


I. Svensson

Linnaeus University

Thomas Nordström

Linnaeus University

Emma Lindeblad

Linnaeus University

Stefan Gustafson

Linköping University

Marianne Björn

Linnaeus University

Christina Sand

Linnaeus University

Gunilla Almgren/Bäck

Linnaeus University

Staffan Nilsson

Chalmers, Mathematical Sciences, Applied Mathematics and Statistics

Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology

17483107 (ISSN) 17483115 (eISSN)

Vol. 16 2 196-208

Subject Categories

Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)

Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified

Other Health Sciences





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