It has been determined that one of your Mild-Moderate students, Jose, has a need for Assistive Technology to assist with his writing. Even though Jose is 13 years old, his handwriting is still at the beginning writing level. He can’t write on the lines, his letter formation is poor and difficult to read. Although Jose can read at a 5th grade level, he still struggles with spelling.

Design an Action Research project investigating the effectiveness of the Assistive Technology to meet the needs of this student.

  1. Determine your objective or research question.
  2. Describe low, medium and high AT options to meet these needs. Include your consideration of home use of the AT as well as school and how that will impact the family.
  3. Identify one AT option and provide a justification for why you chose this for your student.
  4. Describe your methodology, including participants, materials, dependent and independent variables, and data collection.
  5. Describe your plan for analyzing your data and presenting your data to the IEP team.


  1. Objective/Research Questions:
    1. Is a Speech-to-Text an effective Assistive Technology (AT) tools for Jose to use in order to improve his spelling and writing?
  2. AT Options:
    1. Low: A low AT option is a technology that is intended to be as a straightforward as possible. For example, Graphic organizers are not technologically advanced but will keep Jose’s thoughts and work organized. This can also be done in a simple handout form for Jose. For example, thinking maps, teacher modified thinking maps, teacher pre-led activities paper, etc.) Jose will be able to take the graphic organizer home with him and get assistance from his parents.
    2. Medium: Moderate- or mid-tech assistive technologies are typically tools or devices that are battery operated; the technology is more sophisticated and requires more training than the low-tech assistive technologies (Blackhurst, 2005). For example, a calculator or a handheld device. Jose will have the opportunity to check his spelling using a dictionary or a handheld dictionary that is user friendly for Jose. Jose can transport the dictionary from school to home.
    3. High: Speech-to-text: A high tech assistive technologies are sophisticated devices or tools that are commonly associated with computer-based technology such as speech-to-text (Blackhurst, 2005). A high tech AT option is a technology that incorporates advanced features for Jose to use. The speech to text is a tool that Jose can easily use anywhere (e.g. home or school). The main benefit of the speech to text is that it will improve Jose’s quality of writing because it will allow Jose to be more independent in his writing. Speech-to-text will allow Jose to compose more fluently, and according to some studies, produce higher quality writings, especially Jose who has academic difficulties (MacArthur & Cavalier, 2004).
    4. Jose will be able to take the speech-to-text installed Chromebook home to complete work that he started at school. His parents can assist him with his assignments that have already been started.
  3. Identify one AT option and provide one justification for why it was chosen:
  4. Justification: Research indicates that speech-to-text for students with writing difficulties, may improve Jose’s writing skills, and according to some research it produces higher quality text (Quinlan, 2004).
    1. Reading- Because Jose is able to read well, he should be able to use the STT feature independently and once he has used it, he could go back and read his work to make sure it flows and that it has the correct spelling. Jose should make the corrections necessary to correct his spelling.
    2. Handwriting- students with Learning Disabilities (LD) experience handwriting difficulties, producing letters at a rate significantly below their classroom peers, and generate papers, that are considerably less legible and low quality (Adams, 2017).
    3. Research: When teachers understand the basic struggles with written expression, it empowers the educators to support de development of wiring in a manner that is least restrictive for students (Santangelo, 2014)
    4. MacArthur and Cavalier, (2004) indicated in their research that STT is valuable in providing a valid assessment of a student’s ability to generate and organize ideas, use coherent sentences, and gives them the opportunity to revise the content.
    5. Research also indicates that struggling writers who use STT technology were less focused on the mechanics of writing and therefore increased their quality of writing (Gardner, 2008).
  5. At home Jose will have access to the speech-to-text device to complete any assignments that he did not complete at school.
    1. The speech-to-text device will assist Jose at home as well. The speech-to-text will increase his independence of writing at home.
    2. The speech-to-text will increase Jose’s fluency and self-efficacy in writing (Adams, 2017).
    3. Under the related services therapies, handwriting difficulties continue to be one of the most difficult areas for individuals with learning disabilities and it is one of the main reason’s students are referred to OT (Case-Smith, Holland, & Bishop, 2011).
  6. Methodology:
    1. Participants
      1. Jose: Student with a learning disability who struggles with writing.
      2. Parents: Jose’s parents
  • General education Teacher: Service provider
  1. Special education teacher: Service Provider
  2. School administrator: district representative
  3. Occupational Therapy: Service Provider for Jose’s writing
  • School psychologists: IEP team member
  1. Materials:
    1. Chromebook that has the MS Word installed that Jose will use.
    2. Speech-to-text option (dictation) installed MS Word.
  • Jose’s writing samples with STT vs. without STT
  1. Home Survey
  1. Dependent/Independent Variable:

Independent Variable:

  1. The intervention (introduction of AT/STT) feature installed on Microsoft Word is used to assist Jose with his writing.

Dependent Variable:

  1. Percentage of words that Jose spelled correctly without the STT
  2. The percentage of words spelled correctly with the STT.

Data Collection:

  1. Collect data before the intervention
  2. Intervention
    1. Teach Jose how to use the SST on MS Words
  • Collect data with the use of STT
    1. Collect samples from Jose’s writing before and after the word processor from school and home
      1. The teacher will collect the data
        1. Data from home and schoolwork that Jose produces on the Word processor
        2. The teacher will effectively teach Jose how to use the STT feature in Microsoft Words.
          1. Observations of Jose using the STT feature and provide immediate feedback as needed.
        3. The data should be collected in a qualitative form.
          1. Observations in the classroom
          2. One on one interviews with Jose about his writing
  • Writing samples to monitor growth, areas of improvement, and weaknesses
  1. Data Analysis & Presentation to IEP team:
  2. Present the evidence of the intervention effects of Jose’s data
  3. the interpretation of the results on Jose’s data

-Data collected in bar graph form based on Jose’s speech-to-text (stt) percentage of correct words before and after the STT.

  1. Discussion on Jose’s data and what to do with it regarding his spelling.
  2. for 30 minutes periods based on the collected data.
  • Graphs will be bar graphs comparing his pretest to the intervention from the STT and teacher collected data,
  1. Conclusion



Adams, Jennifer.  (2017) The effectiveness of using speech-to-text technology to support writing of students with learning disabilities. Theses and Dissertations. 2481.

Blackhurst, A. E. (2005). Historical perspectives about technology applications for people with disabilities. In D. Edyburn, K. Higgins, & R. Boone (Eds.), Handbook of special education technology research and practice (pp. 3-31). Whitefish Bay, WI: Knowledge by Design.

Case-Smith, J., Holland, T., & Bishop, B. (2011). Effectiveness of an integrated handwriting program for first-grade students: A pilot study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65, 670–678. 2011.000984

Gardner, T.J. (2008). Speech Recognition for Students with Disabilities in Writing. Physical Disabilities: Education and Related Services, 26(2), 43-53.

MacArthur, C.A. (2009). Reflections on Research on Writing and Technology for Struggling Writers. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 24(2), 93-103.

MacArthur, C., & Cavalier, A. (2004). Dictation and Speech Recognition Technology as Test Accommodations. Exceptional Children, 71(1), 43–58.

Quinlan, Thomas (June 2004). Speech Recognition Technology and Students with Writing Difficulties: Improving Fluency. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(2), 337-346.

Santangelo, Tanya. (2014). Why is Writing So Difficult for Students with Learning Disabilities? A Narrative Review to Inform the Design of Effective Instruction. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 12(1), 5-20.

Adams, Jennifer.  (2017) The effectiveness of using speech-to-text technology to support writing of students with learning disabilities. Theses and Dissertations. 2481.