Computer Operating System Features
All computers have customizable options and settings included in the standard features of the operating systems. On the Macintosh (Mac) computer, these options are located in System Preferences in the Universal Access Window. In Windows, they are located in the control panel. Educators who work with students identified with dyslexia should start with exploring and adjusting the following customizable features:
- Auto Correct and Auto Text - This feature allows a user to change how word processing corrects and formats text while typing.
- Auto Summary - With this feature, a user can highlight the key aspects of text and assemble them to create a summary. For example, a student can use this feature to auto-summarize a collection of science articles or even create an abstract for a finished history report.
- Contrast or Color Display - A user can adjust the settings to make text and images on the screen appear larger and improve the contrast between items on the screen. This option allows the user to set a high-contrast color scheme that heightens the contrast of text and images on the computer screen, making items more distinct and easier to identify.
- Document Template - With this feature, a user can create a document template using a pre-formatted file-type. In the template, many features, such as font, size, color, background, and pictures, are pre-formatted; however, a user can also edit them for personal preference.
- Movement of the Mouse - A user can change how the mouse pointer appears and turn on other features based on personal preference to make using the mouse easier.
- Readability - With this feature, a user can check the readability statistics as part of the spelling and grammar check. For example, this feature provides information about the number of passive sentences contained in a text and gives scores for Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level.
- Speech Recognition - This feature allows the user to access speech recognition to navigate the computer by voice rather than via keyboard and mouse.
- Speed of the Keystrokes - This feature allows the user the option to set filter keys to run when logging on to Windows. For example, changes can be made to ignore keystrokes that occur in rapid succession and/or keystrokes that are held down for several seconds unintentionally.
- Spelling and Grammar Check - The user may correct typos and misspelled words while composing text using the AutoCorrect feature. AutoCorrect is set up by default with a list of typical misspellings and symbols, but a user can modify the list to suit specific needs.
- Text to Speech - This feature allows a user to access a basic screen reader called Narrator, which reads text on the screen aloud while using the computer.
- Thesaurus - A user can click on an individual word or phrase to get alternative word choices.
For further information and instructions regarding customizable features, consult the Microsoft in Education Teacher Resources.
Texas Technology Integration for Students with Dyslexia Plan