The UDL Educational Technology Guide 2019-2020: Technology for Special Education

John F. O'Sullivan

Chapter 3 Special Education


What are the technologies that you would want to use with special needs students? 

It is important to know the types of tools that you have to work with regarding UDL Technology for special education students. Once you know the basic categories, then all you have to do is pick the right technology for your situation. 

Text to Speech

This technology read electronic text to you.

Speech to Text

This technology turns what you say into text.

OCR optical character recognition

This is technology that takes a picture with text on it and turns it to electronic text. OCR has similarities to text to speech. Some of the programs turn PDFs into electronic text and then read it to you. Some of the better programs can read text off of a wall or an object. 

Equations Editors

You can type math problems similar to how you might use a word processor but with numbers. Many programs like Microsoft Word and Google Documents have this capability.

PDF Readers

These are text to speech readers that specialize in reading PDFs.

Daisy Readers

This is the format that is used for programs that read test to individuals with disabilities. Services like Bookshare and Learning Ally are in Daisy format. You have to use a Daisy Reader to access the text. Text in Daisy format tends to be read in a human/robotic sounding voice. 


This is a print book in the audio form. Often times, when you are talking about audiobooks, you are talking about higher quality recording with a professional reader. Daisy format tends to be in a robotic/human-sounding voice. 

Word Prediction

This type of program suggests words when you are typing. Think of it as spell checking before you finish typing a word.


This is a free service for individuals that have disabilities that make it difficult to access the printed text. This typically means visual impairment and, in some cases, physical disabilities. Think of the books that Bookshare has as library books. You can get all the major titles that you would find in a book store or a library. The books are in Daisy format. 

Learning Ally

This is a paid service for students with a disability that makes it difficult to access the printed text. This service is known for having a massive library of textbooks. You can even request that they add specific titles. The collections of books and textbooks are in Daisy format. 

Advanced Grammar and Spell Checkers

There are programs that are designed to find more mistakes that your average word processing program would find. They often also look for harder to find mistakes for a higher level of correcting.

Table of contents

previous page start next page