Mark Geremia is the VP and GM for Dragon Professional and Consumer at Nuance – the software giant that's at the forefront of accessible technology. Here, he discusses the latest advances in speech recognition technology…
Writing and reading are two activities that many of us take for granted. They are among the first things we learn in the classroom and, as such, they play a large part of the subject matter taught throughout our entire schooling.
But, imagine trying to read and write whilst the words in front of you are swimming around on the page with all the letters in the wrong order. This is what many children in schools are experiencing each day. In fact, studies have found that on average two to three children in every classroom are dyslexic and struggle with literacy. Although the degree in which they are affected varies, this could potentially have an adverse impact on both their education and even their mental health.
Encouragingly, in recent years there has been a new focus on education around dyslexia. Through in-depth studies and research, a new understanding of the condition is being established and outdated misconceptions are – thankfully – being challenged. This new found awareness is making way for a surge of investment in the technologies that can support those suffering with dyslexia throughout their time in education and beyond.
The technology breaking down educational barriers
For many students with dyslexia, the introduction of computers to the classroom is providing an opportunity for assistive technologies. One such technology is speech recognition software – like Nuance Communications’ family of Dragon solutions.
The benefits of this type of technology could be endless. By ditching the mouse and keyboard, speech recognition enables those with dyslexia to articulate their ideas through speech. For many students, the keyboard can act as a barrier that inhibits thoughts and ideas from being documented. Removing this barrier ultimately provides a more fluid writing experience and grants the user a level of confidence that they might not have ever been able to achieve using pen and paper.
When using speech recognition, users do not need to worry about spelling issues. Designed with high recognition accuracy built in, today’s speech recognition solutions are up to 99% accurate. They are also able to transcribe up to 160 words per minute, meaning that the conversion of thoughts into words is quicker than ever before.
These technologies can also read text aloud, making it easier for students to identify errors and correct their work quickly.
In essence, speech recognition can provide a less daunting way to work for students with dyslexia. By providing them with the tools to keep up with their peers’ writing ability, it relieves some of the pressure, enabling them to enjoy education. Above all, the confidence that students can obtain through using these technologies can help them to reach their potential, both academically and professionally, whilst beginning to establish the foundations which will help them excel in the workplace and in later life.
For more information on speech recognition technology for students with dyslexia, see Nuance.