Often children on the Autism Spectrum have language delays. As parents and educators, we know that language delays negatively impact skills in the area of reading, specifically in vocabulary and comprehension. As these children grow, reading becomes increasingly difficult for them. And if they do not understand what they are reading, then they might wonder, why bother reading at all? This was my son’s attitude. For over ten years, he has received therapy for language skills, yet he still lags behind in his vocabulary and comprehension skills. Until a few years ago, my son had no interest in reading. I am indebted to J.K. Rowling for “Harry Potter”. It inspired my son to read, as well as the millions of other children across the globe. When reading “Harry Potter,” I noticed that there were many words that were difficult for him – words such as indignant, pernicious, and fraught. One can usually decipher the message of the text by using context clues, but if there is an abundance of difficult words, then what? For my son to keep a pocket dictionary with him was unrealistic.
Then I discovered the highly rated app Wordflex Touch Dictionary. Developed by Schematix in association with Oxford University Press, this app is beneficial for all students – and even more so for those with language delays. WordFlex Touch Dictionary enables anyone to explore language deeply – but it’s remarkably easy and intuitive to use. Searching a standard dictionary for a word results in the word, its meaning, and part of speech. However, using the WordFlex Touch Dictionary app, the possibilities are endless as the app has an abundance of amazing features. The app uses intuitive “mind-mapping” technology to turn word entries into dynamic trees that can be moved, shaped, rearranged, saved and shared with touch gestures. After a child enters a word to explore, the app opens into a word tree that shows parts of speech (noun, verb, etc.), high-level senses (meanings), and related phrases. Simultaneously, a speaker appears below the main word box and pronounces the word in U.K./U.S. English. In addition, various badges appear providing extra information about the word such as the primary meaning of the word, the word’s origin, example sentences, illustrations, and usage notes. Where available, synonyms and antonyms will be visible. Informal, slang and other equivalents of the word may also appear. These features can benefit a child with delayed language skills as they often have difficulty with slang, sarcasm, and colloquialisms.
My son had a very easy time using this app. In fact, it was a pleasure for him to use it, as he was fascinated by the truly tactile, interactive references. If you are looking for a great “Back to School” app to help your child with reading and language skills, then I would urge you to look at WordFlex Touch Dictionary.