We all have strengths - for some, it's a vibrant personality that instantly attracts and appeals. For others, it's the way they express themselves in written communication that shows what they know when they lack the confidence in verbal expression.
Let's imagine that one such vibrant personality is applying for a new job, surely one he could easily get in a face-to-face interview, but first needs to get through the red-tape of submitting resumes, cover letters, and subjective responses to application questions. What if his strengths are not in effectively writing what he knows? If he can't communicate effectively as a writer, chances are unlikely that he'll even score an interview.
What about that high school-aged student who has done all of the reading, has great ideas and connections to the assignments, and "gets it" - he knows his stuff, but when it comes time to submitting assignments for his class, he gets marked off for errors with his writing. Syntax, grammar, comma placement, etc. How frustrating!
Now consider that you are a person who uses speech-to-text supports to help you communicate with writing. For whatever reason, whether it be dyslexia, dysgraphia, or another learning-based disability, assistive technology tools in the form of speech-to-text programs make it possible for people of varied abilities to produce written communication. By speaking into the microphone of a computer, the computer is able to translate your spoken words into written text. While there are fabulous and ever-evolving tools available for speech-to-text, relying on a computer to fix all of the errors is an unreliable science. In fact, some students who use speech-to-text get frustrated by additional errors in grammar and syntax that their AT tools don't necessarily address.
Grammarly as Assistive Technology
Assistive technology is any low-tech, mid-tech, or high-tech support that supports an individual's ability to function as independently as possible in a given environment. These days, most people use technology to make their lives easier but people who have a disability require Assistive Technology to support them daily: in self-help tasks, organizational habits, school or work, and even when playing!
So, using our examples above, we can identify the problems with poor grammar as affecting potential job skills, school performance, and perhaps even social communication (emails, messaging, social media). When these problems impact a person's ability to function independently and at the level that he's capable of, an assistive technology specialist will begin to look for tools to support him.
Grammarly is a cross-platform program that automatically checks writing for errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice and style. It's available for FREE as a browser extension in Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge as well as by PAID subscription for Premium features. Basically, it's the intuitive grammar-checker that acts like your high school English teacher did - nagging you about comma placement, "they're" versus "their" versus "there" -- you get the picture. Some of us will never be able to pick up on these subtle grammatical errors, but when it comes time to produce written content at work, home, or school, we need to muddle through. Grammarly offers a simple (did I mention FREE??) tool that makes the editing and revising process much more palatable!
How it Works
Grammarly can be installed directly onto your Mac or Microsoft PC, or used by activating the free browser extension. If you've read our article on Going Google, you'll understand the value of the Chrome browser and why we love the Chrome Extension for Grammarly!
Wherever you type into a text field: Word, Docs, social media, email, messaging, Grammarly will identify errors and underline potential corrections in red. By clicking on the underlined word, you will see the proposed change and be able to accept the correction and see why it was flagged/corrected.
If you feel that your skills warrant additional features, or if you need the additional vocabulary supports, the Premium upgrade may be necessary, although try the free version first to see if it's sufficient.
Here are the plan/pricing options if you want to consider an upgrade to the Premium program:
So, if you're struggling to write what you know in a grammatically correct, error-free way, give Grammarly a try and let us know if it's transformed the way you write online!
* this is a therapeutically-informed review that contains our opinions that were not subject to influence. Affiliate links are provided for readers' convenience but also may result in financial benefit to this blogger.
#assistivetechnology #literacysupports #specialeducation #accessibility