speldsa's blog

Supporting people with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia since 1969


Posted by speldsa on August 4, 2010

Both the Orato and Vu-Bar tools are available from http://www.fx-software.co.uk/assistive.htm

Orato: A straight forward text to speech application.  All text input is carried out through the clipboard.  Settings allow Orato to read either on demand or automatically when new text is added to the clipboard.  Other options will display the text if required, with highlighting of the word or sentence being spoken.  Orato can either be installed to the hard disk or copied onto a pen drive for portable use.

Vu-Bar Screen Ruler: A unique piece of software, provides an on-screen, slotted ruler. Useful with dyslexia, when the user skips lines or drops from one line to the next.  This version allows the user to select the bar width, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% of screen width and set the slot height to the required font size. This version adds the option to lock the bar onto the mouse pointer for movement, as well as improved keyboard movement options.

X-Mind Map: A free mindmapping program that can be used to plan and organise your work, as a presentation tool, the limits are your imagination http://www.xmind.net/download/win/

Excerpt taken straight from the RSCs website where you can download this fantastic toolbar for free.


Please be aware there are different versions for XP uses and Vista/Windows 7 users

For specific advice as to which assistive technologies will suit your specific learning difficulties

please contact Sandy Russo at SPELD SA 8431 1655

“MyStudyBar is a tool which helps overcome problems that students commonly experience with studying, reading and writing. The tool consists of a set of portable open source and freeware applications, assembled into one convenient package. Easy to install, simple to use, handy and effective, MyStudyBar provides comprehensive learning support at the desktop, where it is needed. And if this is not already attractive enough, a further eye-catching feature of MyStudyBar is that it is completely FREE to download and free to use.

MyStudyBar has been produced by the same team at RSC Scotland North & East which created the award-winning AccessApps software suite. Although MyStudyBar is designed to support learners with literacy-related difficulties such as dyslexia, the toolbar can offer potential benefits to all learners.

Features of MyStudyBar

 MyStudyBar puts a whole range of individual and essential tools at your fingertips. Together, these have been designed to support the complete study cycle from research, planning and structuring to getting across a written or spoken message. MyStudyBar has 6 sections; each has a drop down menu offering personal choice, flexibility and independent learning, particularly for those learners who require additional strategies to support their learning. With over 15 apps to choose from, MyStudyBar is the perfect study aid.

The webpage provides step-by-step tutorials to get you started with the applications on MyStudyBar

Examples include: Xmind for planning and organization; T-Bar for customising font and colour backgrounds; Lingoes for when you need a talking dictionary; LetMeType for help with text input, and Balabolka for converting text to audio. And if all that’s not enough, there’s even a speech-to-text app which allows you to talk to your computer.

You can use MyStudyBar straight from a USB stick (if, for example, you are using a machine that is not your own) or you can install it directly to the desktop. (Technical staff in colleges or universities also have the choice of installing it on the network for everyone to use). “

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