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Voice software use in GCSEs?

(13 Posts)
Fridayschild Sat 23-Jan-16 07:40:30

My DS has dyspraxia, I think - just waiting for the confirmation from the doctor. His Senco has sent him home from school saying is it ok if he starts using a voice activated typing programme called dragon? He is struggling with typing and forming sentences and writing essays despite the typing. Cannot spell at all.

I would like to know whether this Is a big decision or not. Can he use it in public exams? This is quite a way off as he is in y6 but I don't want to close options for him at this stage if I can avoid it.

The Senco is useless, by the way. We are at a prep school and oh, hindsight! Had I known my child would need Senco support we would not have gone there. That, however is worthy of another thread....

LIZS Sat 23-Jan-16 08:57:30

He might be able to or have a scribe. However you will need a further assessment within 3 years of him sitting the exams and have support of teaching staff that this is necessary for him.

Fridayschild Sat 23-Jan-16 19:30:56

Thanks Liz

cressetmama Sun 24-Jan-16 14:06:40

DS hated Dragon and never got to grips with it at all. It did not seem to like his childish treble voice and it took up a massive amount of memory on the computer.

cressetmama Sun 24-Jan-16 14:07:20

It was thought unlikely that he would be able to use it in exams too.

ChalkHearts Sun 24-Jan-16 20:04:39

You are right to think carefully about this. Remember your prep school isn't thinking of his GCSEs. They're only thinking about him while he's there.

If he can write I certainly wouldn't go down the dragon route. Even if his spelling is terrible.

If he can't write or type then his options are limited. But certainly dragon is going to be hard to use in class and in all the situations in real life (like filling in forms) where you need to write.

I'd only go for dragon if you really have no alternative.

camptownraces Mon 25-Jan-16 08:21:21

Dragon (and other similar software) could be used in public exams (GCSE and A-level) by a candidate who had permission for a scribe. I don''t know whether it could be used for CE.

Is the problem his handwriting legibility or its speed, or both?

cressetmama Mon 25-Jan-16 09:31:52

We were looking at CE, and there were logistics issues quite separate from his dislike of the software. However, an adult I know used it very successfully for years to dictate long reports. It has to be "trained" to work for you.

In the event, DS was taught to type adequately but eventually overcame most of his difficulty with writing. It isn't easy to read, or pretty, or even especially quick (diagnosed with very poor visual processing) but he has managed GCSE and is now doing English A level, and coping okay.

happygardening Mon 25-Jan-16 09:42:00

My DS1 (now at university) has been recommended dragon on numerous occasions by ed psychs, he has been formally assessed to see if he can use it and he can, but no one will do it.
The most recent excuse is that dragon has to learn your voice and obviously when you do exams you have to use a computer that doesn't know you, not your own, therefore there would be enough time for it to learn yoir voice and do the exam at the same time.
I not sure how true this is. The technology is advancing all the time and when he was formally tested to use it over 8 year ago it was pretty quick to learn his speech patterns.
You do need to have fairly clear speech (least you did) and patience to go back and correct it when it types the wrong word.
Good luck with that.

camptownraces Mon 25-Jan-16 10:31:45

I was told there is now a version of Dragon for networked machines, so it should be possible to transfer your DS's speech profile from one machine to another.

He should ask the learning support people at his university to find out for him. What's he doing at the moment - word processing? does that work for him?

happygardening Mon 25-Jan-16 11:09:19

He currently word processes but I'm not convinced it helps that much but his hand writing is totally illegible. He has a very severe processing disorder and he says when he comes to write things down using a pen despite the fact that his head is positively bursting with ideas (he has a photographic memory for information) nothing happens.
If there is some way of transferring you speech patterns onto a another computer that would be great please let me know. Mind you his university which has an excellent reputation for supporting SEN (which is why we choose it) don't seem to know about it.
In my now very extensive and exceedingly frustrated experience of this no mainstream school, in either sector will agree to it, it doesn't natter what his ed. psych reports recommend they just don't want to know but you might be luckier than we were.
My advise is don't believe a word people say, you will have to keep on top of this all through your DS's school life, my head aches from banging it against a wall stuffed with couldn't care less teachers in both sectors and my DS who's actually very bright on paper has underperformed all through his school career. You cannot change your DS, his strengths, what makes him him, is due to his dyspraxia, it seems but most teachers either don't want to are unable to understand this in a million years.

camptownraces Mon 25-Jan-16 15:43:07

Happygardening: According to a salesman at an exhibition last October, there is a networked version of Dragon on the market now.

Your best bet might be to find the solution by talking to software people, getting them to explain how a voice profile can be accessible from different machines in different places. Try Nuance - the publishers of Dragon Naturally Speaking - whose UK office seems to be in Marlow, Bucks. Then they or you could explain to the university's learning support people.

As for DS's head "bursting with ideas" - this sounds like an opportunity for mindmapping software. Has either the university or his previous school tried that with him? (or might he have tried mind-mapping with a paper and pen?)

happygardening Mon 25-Jan-16 16:41:50

Yes he's tried mind mapping and every other imaginable technique and many help a little but he still has most of the information locked in his head, of course at times of stress e.g. when doing exams its even worse, the irony is that when he speaks it all comes flooding out hence dragon for him would be invaluable. I have just spoken to him about it and he's going to talk to his university.

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