Computer donation helps struggling students

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Three struggling dyslexic and dyspraxic students were given a much needed helping hand with their studies, thanks to a donation of computers from Challenger TAFE.

“This will make such a difference to their lives and to their learning,” said founder of the Dyslexic Centre Australia, teacher and expert in the field Dawn Matthews.

“When you’re dyslexic, it is virtually impossible to learn effectively without computers.”

Until now, it had been difficult for the Centre to find funding to supply computers to these young Rockingham and Kwinana residents, who are Wards of the State and in foster care.

However on contacting the College’s Director of Information Systems Glenn Robinson, Dawn discovered that Challenger TAFE was able to donate some of their computers that were no longer needed.

“It’s great to see these computers go to kids who really need them,” said Glenn.

“People with dyslexia really need the writing tools that computers provide.”

Spellcheckers, cutting and pasting facilities and word order changes enable dyslexics to work much more easily. Dyspraxics have fine motor problems so writing longhand is difficult for them.

Having access to this equipment and technology enables their special needs to be met and puts them on a path to achieving things they may otherwise have been unable to, and thus increasing self esteem and confidence.

In order to assist the students in editing their work, the College has installed a software program called “Please Read” that reads text aloud from documents and the Internet.

They have also installed programs on the computers such as a version of Open Office, some freeware programs and a screen tint specifically designed for dyslexia. The computers have flat screen monitors which fit more easily into small bedrooms.

One of the students, a twelve year-old girl, was literally speechless when she discovered she was going to have a computer of her very own.

“She was so excited,” said Dawn. “She will now be able to do her homework and move forward in school with the other kids.”

The College was pleased to be able to help Dawn’s students and hopes to continue this relationship to facilitate the learning of others in need.

“These kids already face the challenges of being dyslexic and dyspraxic,” Glenn continued.

“So I’m proud that the College has been able to help remove one of these challenges by providing them with these computers.”

“We hope that this small, but significant donation can give them a start on the road to great success.”

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