Online tools and resources for learning difficulties

There are online tools and resources that can help support your child's learning difficulties.

There are online tools and resources that can help support your child's learning difficulties. They include:

  • advice and information about learning difficulties
  • tools that can support your child's learning at home
  • tools and resources to develop your child's literacy and numeracy.

It's important that you are viewing information online from a trusted source. Ask your child's school or an organisation that specialises in learning difficulties if the online materials you plan to use with your child are suitable.

You may need to pay to access the resources on some websites. Before accessing them, explore the free tools below.

For information and advice about learning difficulties

  • SPELD Victoria offers information and services to support Victorians with learning difficulties including advice, advocacy, diagnostic assessments, consultations, events, and workshops for parents, teachers, and allied health professionals.
  • AUSPELD is the national body that governs the state-run SPELD organisations in Australia. They have resources, such as the ‘Understanding Learning Difficulties: A Guide For Parents’. This guide explains the nature of learning difficulties and offer practical information about identification, interventions and support.
  • The Raising Children Network answers frequently asked questions from parents and has pages about learning disabilities in young children, pre-teens and teenagers.

Supporting your child's learning

These tools can help you to respond to your child’s learning needs and support them at home. It's important to remember that they are not a replacement for the learning that your child does in the classroom.

Talk to your child's teacher about what tools you're using and what they recommend.

Software that convert speech to text

Some of the most common speech-to-text software are:

  • Apple Dictation
  • Speech Recogniser Windows 10
  • Speech Recognition
  • Voice Typing (Google Docs)

Speech-to-text software are commonly pre-loaded on computers and devices or accessed online (such as Google Docs).

If your child is younger, it can be helpful for them to see how speech appears as written words. If they are older, you can use these tools to help capture their thoughts or to start a piece of writing. If your child finds writing difficult or demanding, as may be the case with motor-based dysgraphia, these tools could be used for dictation.

If your child finds it helpful to use these tools, make sure to tell your child’s teacher so that they are aware and can make adjustments in their teaching.

Software and websites that convert text to speech

Children who have dyslexia typically read text more slowly, which means they take longer to understand the meaning of what they are reading. Tools that read text out loud can help your child to move through written text more efficiently.

These tools can also help give your child feedback about how well they are reading. For example, they might first read part of a text and then listen to the software say it. They can also follow along with the text as it's read by a text-to-speech tool.

If your child is younger, they might be curious about or like hearing familiar stories read by a mobile device, like a phone or tablet. If they're older, this type of software can help them better understand longer texts and information and help them to be more independent in their learning.

Examples of text-to-speech tools that can be accessed for free include:

Software and websites that allow you to record your voice

Most mobile devices come with voice recording software pre-installed, but there are also websites and online applications that can be used.

Software that allows children to record their voice can help them in many ways. They can record:

  • themselves reading out loud
  • their thoughts on a subject or topic
  • their ideas for a creative piece of writing before they start
  • encouraging messages for themselves or to remind them of strategies they should be using in their learning.

The following is an example of voice recording software that has a free or trial version available for download:

Software and websites that suggest or predict words as you type

Word prediction software predicts or suggests words for your child as they type. This software can help motivate children who have learning difficulties to write. It does this by supporting them to learn new vocabulary and become familiar with the rules of grammar and spelling. Multiple options are available.

Websites that help teach your child to touch type

Many children find handwriting challenging. Handwriting is an important part of learning and being comfortable writing by hand is a goal that every child, especially those with learning difficulties, should have.

Where appropriate, being able to type effectively can help your child to express and clearly communicate what they know.

Examples of typing software that have a free or trial version available for download include:

Websites that assess the readability of texts

It's important that the texts your child is reading are appropriate for their reading ability. There are websites that can check the readability of a text and tell you how difficult it is to understand. Talk to your child’s teacher if you feel like the texts they are reading are either too difficult or too easy. Multiple options are available.

Improving literacy or numeracy skills

There are educational software, apps and online programs that can help children with learning difficulties to improve their reading, spelling, writing, and achievement in mathematics.

Tools that teach phonological and phonemic awareness skills (Reading)

These tools teach children how to:

  • break down spoken sentences into words and spoken words into syllables
  • blend syllables and rhyme words
  • identify the first and final sounds in words
  • join sounds back together to make words
  • delete sounds from words
  • swap sounds in spoken words.

Tools available include:

Teaching phonic skills (Reading and Spelling)

Phonic skills software help teach children the letters of the alphabet, their linked sounds and the sounds that match different groups of letters. They are available from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Teaching reading fluency (Reading)

This software teaches children to read out loud with speed, accuracy and correct expression. This includes reading in phrases and the rise and fall of the voice when speaking.

Teaching reading comprehension (Reading)

These tools teach children how to understand what they read and how to answer questions about the meaning of written texts (such as comprehension questions).

Teaching handwriting and written expression (Writing)

These tools teach children handwriting, as well as practise writing sentences and longer texts. They include learning how to plan what you want to say before starting to write and how to think about the questions your piece of writing will answer.

Teaching vocabulary and grammar (Reading and Writing)

Vocabulary and grammar are key components of literacy. These tools help to support students with learning difficulties in these areas and to develop their knowledge and skills.

Teaching oral language (Reading and Writing)

Oral language is how we use spoken words to express knowledge, ideas and feelings. Developing your child’s oral language means developing the skills that go into listening and speaking. The skills have a strong relationship with reading comprehension and writing.

Tools to help develop your child’s oral language include:

Teaching numeracy (Mathematics)

Children need to have strong numeracy knowledge and skills to succeed in mathematics and more broadly. Like literacy, children use numeracy every day and in all aspects of their lives. These tools help develop the skills and knowledge your child needs to be successful in mathematics.