Assistive Technology Tools for Learning Differences, ADHD, and Executive Function Challenges

My Assistive Technology Toolbox

I use a wide variety of technologies in my practice -- both high-tech and low-tech -- too numerous to mention here. But I'd like to list the most significant ones that I rely on and that I include in my trainings.

Because many software tools perform multiple functions, it's difficult to list technologies by category such as "Technologies for Reading" and "Technologies for Writing" -- certain tools would show up in several places -- so I've chosen to list them in a more eclectic manner that's still somewhat logical.

Online Training and Technical Assistance

I offer online training and technical assistance for many of the tools listed below.  Sessions are conducted using Join.Me screensharing (and a few other tools) so that we can see, and in some cases control, each other's computer remotely.

If you are interested, please contact me for more information.

Listening to Recorded Audiobooks

Audiobooks are recordings of human narrators reading aloud.


Simple text-to-speech, E-readers with text-to-speech and other tools


Read, Write & Study Software Suites

Software that bundles multiple supports for reading, writing, and studying.


Resources for Alternatives to Printed Text - Electronic Text (E-text) and Narrated Audiobooks

  • Bookshare (e-text) - eligibility required
  • Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic-RFB&D) (audiobooks, some with e-text) - eligibility required
  • National Library Service (audio materials) - eligibility required
  • Amazon Kindle (e-text) - also see Immersion Reading in "Listening to Recorded Audiobooks", above
  • Audible (audiobooks)
  • Blio (primarily e-text in proprietary reader)
  • CourseSmart (e-text in proprietary reader)
  • Project Gutenburg (e-text)
  • NIMAC (e-text) - materials must be secured by school; not available to individuals
  • check local digital libraries (e.g., Northern California Digital Library) to borrow downloadable audiobooks via Overdrive Media App or other platforms
  • check individual publishers for accessible online or e-text versions of textbooks


Graphic Organizer and Mind Map Software

Outlining and mapping software to help organize writing, notes, instructions, checklists, concepts -- any information that benefits from a structure.


Portable Word Processors

Laptop alternatives for classroom use that focus on generating text, without the features (and distractions) of laptops or tablets.


Speech recognition (speech-to-text)


PDF Annotation

Type on PDF version of worksheet, quiz, or other handout vs. handwriting on it.


Assorted Reading & Writing Aids

Supports for spelling, grammar, word choice, reading level, and visual readability.

  • Dyslexie and OpenDyslexic - fonts designed to ease visual aspects of reading for those with dyslexia
  • Visual Thesaurus - visual word map (online, Mac & PC)
  • Ginger - contextual spellchecker (online, PC)
  • Ghotit - contextual spelling/grammar checker with word prediction, other supports (Mac & PC)
  • Grammarian Pro2X - grammar and spelling checker (Mac)
  • WordQ - word prediction, word lists, abbreviation/expansion (Mac & PC)
  • SpeakQ - WordQ plus speech recognition (PC)
  • Clicker 7 - custom onscreen keyboards, talking word processor, word prediction (Mac & PC)
  • WriteOnline - word banks, talking word processor, word prediction, mind mapping (online, Mac & PC)
  • BeeLine Reader - text color gradients aid visual tracking, improve reading speed, reduce effort
  • Readability - reduces webpage visual clutter for distraction-free reading (online)
  • Reading Focus Cards - virtual index card-like reading guide to aid visual focus (Mac, PC)
  • Rewordify - automatically defines, or substitutes simpler words in place on webpages
  • Snap&Read Universal - text-to-speech, convert image to text, and text leveling (simplify difficult words) for Web reading


Taking Notes & Organizing Notes

  • Microsoft OneNote - digital notebook (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, online)
  • Circus Ponies NoteBook - digital notebook (Mac - discontinued January 2016)
  • Growly Notes - digital notebook (Mac, iOS)
  • Evernote - digital file cabinet (online, Mac, PC, iOS, Android)
  • Livescribe smartpens - pens link recorded audio to handwritten notes (works with Mac, PC, iOS, Android depending on model: Echo, Sky Wifi (discontinued 2016), Livescribe 3)
  • IRISPen - scanning pen captures print text, transfers to computer (Mac & PC)
  • C-Pen - "digital highlighter" scanning pens capture print text, transfers to computer (Mac & PC)
  • Notebook Layout w/ Audio Notes - link recorded audio with typed notes in Word (included with Microsoft Word for Mac 2008 & 2011)
  • Sonocent Audio Notetaker - software integrates audio recording, notes, slides, images, and annotations (Mac & PC)
  • Sonocent Recorder - companion app to Audio Notetaker; record and annotate audio (iOS, Android)
  • AudioNote - multi-functional notetaker app (iOS, Android, Mac, PC)
  • Notability - robust notetaker app (iOS, Mac)


Math Notation, Graphing & Drawing


Math Concepts


Math Problem Solving and Processes

Apps and resources to help understand and practice multistep problem solving and sequencing steps.


Assorted Aids for Attention and Executive Functioning

  • Isolator - dims, blurs, or hides all but frontmost window to reduce visual distractions (Mac)
  • Ghoster - dims, blurs, or hides all but frontmost window to reduce visual distractions (PC)
  • SelfControl - restricts access to selected websites for preset times (Mac)
  • Cold Turkey - restricts access to selected apps, websites for preset times (PC; Mac version coming soon)
  • StayFocusd - restricts access to selected websites for preset times (Chrome)
  • RescueTime - tracks time on apps, websites (Mac, PC)
  • VibraLite - watches with multiple customizable vibration alerts
  • WatchMinder - watch with multiple customizable vibration alerts, messages
  • Wunderlist - task manager app (online, Mac, PC, iOS, Android)
  • DropTask - visual task manager app (online, Mac, PC, iOS, Android)
  • Trello - visual taskboard for managing tasks and workflow (online, iOS, Android)
  • Assignment Calculator - break down large projects into manageable chunks (online)
  • Research Project Calculator - break down large projects into manageable chunks (online)


Mobile Computing

Other Noteworthy Tools I Use


Interactive Electronic Whiteboards and Whiteboard Capture


Alternative Access for Computer & iPad

  • Keystrokes - customizable onscreen keyboard (Mac)
  • SwitchXS - customizable switch access of computer (Mac)
  • LayoutKitchen - programs Keystrokes and SwitchXS (Mac)
  • Tecla Shield - wireless switch access of computer (Mac, PC) or tablet (iOS, Android)


Virtualization software (allows Windows to run on Macs)

  • Boot Camp - allows Mac computer to boot up with either Mac OS or Windows OS
  • VMware Fusion - allows simultaneous use of Mac OS and Windows OS on Mac computer
  • Parallels Desktop for Mac - allows simultaneous use of Mac OS and Windows OS on Mac computer

Less struggle.

More learning.


Copyright © 2008-2016 Rachael M. Haven



Greater success.