Sixth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing
(ICSLP 2000)

Beijing, China
October 16-20, 2000

Speech Recognition Software: A Tool for People with Dyslexia

Michael McTear, Norma Conn, Nicola Phillips

Faculty of Informatics, University of Ulster at Jordanstown, UK

In recent years the potential benefits of speech recognition software for people with disabilities have often been cited in software reviews. As it is now possible to purchase inexpensive software that supports the use of voice for the production of documents and the control of the computer, such software could enable people with particular types of disability to have greater access to education and employment. One such disability is dyslexia. This paper reports on an exploratory study in which a group of people with dyslexia performed a set of tasks using commercially available speech recognition software. The aim of the study was to determine the benefits of using speech recognition software as a writing tool for people with dyslexia. The tasks involved normal dictation by the researcher, the use of the keyboard to input the text, the use of the software to dictate the text to the computer and correct the dictation, and the writing and dictation to the computer of a short piece of free text of the participantís choice. For each task the speed of production of the text and the number of errors present in the text were recorded. The results showed that people with severe dyslexia experienced a reduction in the time taken to dictate and correct the text compared to the time taken to write the text by hand. For those with severe dyslexia the error rate was also halved using the speech recognition software. Participants with mild dyslexia gained slightly in terms of speed by using the dictation software, although an increase in the number of errors resulted from its use. The implications of these findings for the use of dictation software by people with dyslexia as a writing tool are discussed together with some directions for further research.


Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  McTear, Michael / Conn, Norma / Phillips, Nicola (2000): "Speech recognition software: a tool for people with dyslexia", In ICSLP-2000, vol.4, 81-84.