Audio Books and Assistive Technology
- According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, nearly 20 percent of all children have some type of language disability, with dyslexia being the most common type of disability. The Council for Exceptional Children reports that about one out of every 1,000 children has a visual impairment. Thus, all schools should be prepared to provide audio books to those who need them.
- Audio books provide students with the means to hear stories that they may not be able to read independently. Audio books allow students to be able to connect with text without having to struggle to read it.
- Audio books can be purchased on tapes, CDs or they may be downloaded from the Internet to a computer. Also, electronic books can be downloaded to book readers such as the Kindle DX, which has the ability to read text aloud to the student. Parents and teachers can also check out audio books at most public libraries.
- Some specialized audio book play-back devices may allow students to search for parts of a story or book and bookmark sections within the book. Some tape players with variable speed control (VSC) allow students to slow down and speed up the tape to meet their listening needs. Students can use headphones to listen to stories and books at any time without disturbing those around them.
- Many textbook companies produce audio book versions of textbooks; however, schools do not always order the audio books. Parents and teachers should request that audio book versions be ordered for children with visual impairments and reading disabilities. Students with attention deficits or poor listening comprehension may need a teacher to limit the amount of text listened to at one time. Also, the teacher should ask questions along the way to ensure comprehension.