Enhancing reading abilities of learners with intellectual impairments through computer technology

02 Aug 2017

Background: Developments in the teaching of children with disabilities support pedagogy that emphasises learners? strengths as opposed to their assumed deficiencies. Educators and mediators who advocate this view continually strive for tools and methodologies that enhance learner participation in academic environments. Computer technology is one of the tools recognised for its potential to enrich learning experiences of learners with an intellectual impairment. Objectives: We sought to assess the influence of text-to-speech stories on the reading ability of intellectually challenged learners. Method: A qualitative action research study that involves learners at a special school in Cape Town, South Africa. Pre- and post-test data of the reading performance of learners are analysed with a focus on how they demonstrate change. Results: Although no claims can be made about the explicit influence on reading performance, computer-assisted learning has the potential in isolating reading processes that classroombased interventions can address. In addition, computers enhance motivation and enthusiasm to learn. Conclusion: A need for education based on inclusion and positive differentiation remains the key driver in any educational interventions.