How and what voice recognition software can a child use in school?
October 22, 2014 6:47 PM   Subscribe

What , if any, voice recognition software would be suitable for a child who has issues writing? How do you make it work for in-class assignments? How well does IOS Dragon work?

My 8 year old son has “visual motor” problems, which means that he has difficulty turning his thoughts into written word. Verbally, he can explain a concept … to death. But for writing, the output becomes short, with no subject to the sentence and no elaboration. He resists using the keyboard and learning to type, though I'm sure that will come eventually.

So, I’m thinking it’s time to try dictation software, most likely Dragon Naturally Speaking. I know he needs to learn to use the software effectively (any hacks welcome) but I also I have a few technical questions. We use Macs at home (iPhone, iPad, Mac computers). The school can make a PC available to him. So, in order to use software, I guess we’d need to buy Mac software, left him take a device to school, and use in class.

But then, how do we get the work product OUT of the device and onto paper the teacher can grade? They use Google docs, so maybe he can access through device and have teacher print it out?

Any advice on making it possible for my son to use dictation software effectively at school, or recommendations for something better than Dragon for IOS are welcome.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This seems like the domain of some sort of special education specialist. Have you sought an evaluation?
posted by k8t at 6:50 PM on October 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Is there any specific reason to not use the mac/iOS built in dictation to just write directly in to google docs? it'll do that, and since it's mostly a back-end thing it's regularly getting better and better. Looking up the ios version of dragon specifically it seems to actually offer less than the built in apple one. It has a 60 second dictation limit, and it requires an internet connection just like apples. With the apple one you can just dictate until you're done talking, or at least that's been my experience. If it has a limit, it's a lot more than 60 seconds.

Also, k8t has the right idea. Way back in ye olde 90s when laptops were bricks that cost way too much and i was a kid like this i ended up seeing a specialist who was very up to date on what the current available hardware and software was, and what had worked well/stood up to actual use for other people.

I later learned to type fast and everything was fine, but i had the exact same issue with handwriting and still do. I hate handwriting and it just flattens my expression.
posted by emptythought at 7:04 PM on October 22, 2014

Best answer: I taught special education, and one of my students used Dragon. He had a lot of success with it, and he used it with a laptop. I don't have any personal experience with the software myself, but once my student became familiar with it and they had it synced properly to his voice, he took off and just did an incredible job with it. From what I can remember, my student was able to print off his dictation in the school library, by hooking his laptop up to the printer there.
posted by Happydaz at 8:02 PM on October 22, 2014

Best answer: I netadmin a school, and have recently had occasion to make Dragon Dictation for iOS work for devices connected to the school network.

It was kind of a pain to support because it wants to set up direct SSL connections to a couple of Dragon's servers rather than going via the web proxy like all well behaved apps should.

So you'll need to make sure your school's IT people are onto that. Just don't let them give you any crap about it being impossible, because it isn't. Put them in touch with me if they don't believe you.
posted by flabdablet at 2:05 AM on October 23, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Off to call a couple of the occupational therapists recommended by the pediatrician and tinker with the mac built in dictation.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 10:13 AM on October 23, 2014

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