Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Mobile Application to Improve Learning Performance of Dyslexic Children with Writing Difficulties

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Mobile Application to Improve Learning Performance of Dyslexic Children with Writing Difficulties

Article excerpt


According to Pirani and Sasikumar (2012), learning disabilities are normally hidden disabilities that affect many individuals with average or above average intelligence throughout their life. Edyburn (2006) stated that the cognitive characteristics (intellectual ability, attention deficits, memory, and thinking skills) and academic characteristics (reading, writing, language arts, and mathematics) of a person are associated with various types of learning disabilities.

Importance of handwriting skill for Dyslexies

Lam et al. (2011) described that insufficient handwriting skill is considered as one of the functional deficits in dyslexia. Martinez-Marrero and Estrada-Hernandez (2008) indicated that dyslexic children often experience difficulties in mechanical aspects (letter formation, capitalization, spelling and punctuation) as well as contextual aspects (organization and consistency) of writing. Edyburn (2006) remarked that it is more fruitful to overcome the writing difficulties of dyslexic individuals by adopting assistive technology at primary level as it will make the learning tasks easier throughout their academic life. Evmenova and King-Sears (2013) also emphasized that monitoring the impact of technology on individual's writing progress is very much essential.

Dyslexia research in Pakistan

As a developing country, Pakistan faces several challenges in dealing with dyslexia as government help is not enough to combat this on a country wide scale. Besides that, the adoption of specialized learning aids is still in its infancy. Until now, no significant contribution has been made in the research area of the assistive technology for dyslexia. In order to improve the current situation of dyslexia in Pakistan, this research endeavors to design and implement an interactive technological learning aid specifically for dyslexic children with handwriting difficulties. It also addresses the prominent awareness, affordance and accessibility issues regarding the remedial educational help and assistive technology adoption.

Literature study and discussion

A detailed background study about issues faced by dyslexic individuals has been conducted to find out the usage of technological assistance in learning and improving writing skills in general, and associated usability issues in particular.

Major barriers faced by Dyslexic children

According to Pirani and Sasikumar (2012), dyslexic individuals are characterized by slow conceptual development, poor retention ability, short attention span and/or weak sense of spatial awareness. Ndombo et al. (2013) emphasized reading and writing as the main barriers for dyslexies. Pareto (2012) added that the difficulties in mathematical skills are even a bigger challenge than the influence of poor reading or writing skills. Flora (2009) remarked that dyslexia is commonly accompanied by Dysgraphia, a specific learning disability which causes the individuals to write words backwards, inconsistent letter formation and mix uppercase and lowercase letters. Pirani and Sasikumar (2012) indicated that dyslexic children often feel frustrated or depressed having a poor self-image which leads to failure in their academic life.

Multimedia approaches for Dyslexies

According to Ndombo et al. (2013), education of individuals with learning disabilities (dyslexia in particular) is a time consuming job that demands proper attention and extra efforts from instructors. Nicolson and Fawcett (2008) mentioned that good teaching practices for dyslexic individuals involve dividing the complex skills into sub-skills. So that individuals master the sub-skills with multiple trails on daily basis before using them as building blocks for the next skill. Mahidin et al. (2011) claimed that multimedia applications have a potential to effectively teach dyslexies children allowing more than one sensory channel to acquire and process the instructions. …

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