It’s very clear that AI or Artificial Intelligence-informed software can be extremely useful in many ways for dyslexic students as well as adults. If you haven’t tried any of these programs before, you’re in for a surprise.

There are also downsides to the technology (see our article, The Fight Against Robots) but AI is already embedded in many programs including Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant, and also programs like Grammarly and WordTune.

Many of the best text-to-speech programs are using AI.

So it’s here and the applications are immense.

A student in New Zealand recently spoke anonymously about their use of AI for written assignments in college. They rationalized that it was like writing with Grammarly, which in the paid version will offer up re-phrasings of text which could be clearly. Wordtune does similar rewriting. The student interviewed for the article said that the software helped raise grades from C’s to A minuses.

Because the technology is new, schools and teachers are still in the process of developing policies. Some school districts (like New York’s) have banned access to ChatGPT.

If all a student is doing for assignments is pasting in the prompt and copying it over to homework, attributing it to themselves, then this would seem like fraud or plagiarism and I’m sure it’s not what most employers or parents would be looking for in a student’s education.

Currently, a significant problem with AI technologies is that it has been stealing content (whether writing or art) without permission and then using computer algorithms to study patterns to make things that are new. But despite the evils that are clearly evident with this technology, it is also true that it could help those who otherwise could not even hope to write or draw something at the level that AI could produce.

As with concept artists using AI art for ideas like a Pinterest idea board, writers can use ChatGPT as writing starters.

Many dyslexic writers do have difficulty with starting. When they talk over their ideas with a partner, whether it’s a parent, tutor, or friend, it helps them organize what they want to say. In that sense, prompting AI with different responses could provide an all important start rather than staring at an empty page or screen for hours.

ChatGPT also gets around the problem of not having an example to write from.

As valuable as it is for students to learn how to structure essays and arguments, teachers often don’t give away examples and like the apps that solve math in step-by-step ways, the ChatGPT can also be helpful in teaching motivated students how to write.

Now experts who write for a living have bemoaned the fact that the software that helps with word prediction and more will stifle independent thinking and voice – and that certainly may be true. But it is also true that writing can be the ultimate gatekeeper for many professions and careers and if a person may be otherwise suited for a career – having help writing college-level papers may help them get their dream job that may not require writing at all.

Over the years, I’ve talked to so many accomplished dyslexic adults who told me that in their 20’s they weren’t able to write fluently. Some went on to become professional writers. People who loved words, loved telling stories, continued to hone writing skills their whole life long.

Some only got through by sending every paper through a roommate, parent, or writing center tutor, but they eventually got through and succeeded in whatever they wanted to do.

So, I guess, my hope is that AI technologies will ultimately have more upsides than downsides. Those who want to become professional writers will recognize what sounds like AI writing and what is better – just like good artists aren’t usually fooled by robot-generated art.

There are many highly creative and knowledgeable people who are paralyzed by open-ended questions. They have so many ideas and knowledge at their disposal that they don’t know where to begin (this is very common in gifted children for instance).

Well, with AI as a buddy, they may never really have to experience these deer-in-the- headlights moments anymore.

Here are some results when I asked ChatGPT to come up with three story ideas about how to improve dyslexia education. They aren’t particularly earth-shatteringly creative, but if you really had trouble knowing where to start, it could help:

“1. A story about a dyslexic student who overcomes their learning challenges through the use of assistive technology, such as text-to-speech software or a specialized reading program. This story could highlight the importance of individualized education and the ways in which technology can help level the playing field for students with dyslexia.

A story about a school that implements a multisensory teaching approach for students with dyslexia. This approach incorporates visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements into the curriculum, and has been shown to be effective in helping dyslexic students learn to read. The story could explore the successes and challenges of this approach, and the impact it has on the students, teachers, and school community.

A story about a dyslexic adult who, despite struggling with reading and writing in school, goes on to achieve success in their chosen career through the use of accommodations and support. This story could highlight the importance of perseverance and self-advocacy for individuals with dyslexia, and demonstrate that dyslexia does not have to be a barrier to achieving one’s goals.”

At Education Week, teachers discussed how they can manage the new reality of AI Chatbots. Again there were many bad suggestions for just increasing handwritten responses, but some of the positive suggestions included having students involved in generating writing prompts more than students. “might we invite AI into our process as we draft? For example, once those students create a worthy question that their reading of Long Way Down provokes, might they write a 10-minute draft in a notebook. Next, they can submit their question to ChatGPT. Now, students have two drafted answers, one purely from their brains, one grammatically precise and AI-generated. Perhaps we will finally move more of our instructional time to that most important and most avoided stage of the writing process: revision.”

Another interesting point, was the idea that having to contend with chatbots and AI may help redirect the emphasis on process (taking a draft, then revising it to get it closer to your ideas and voice) over end product.

Ryan Porter on Medium suggests using AI to book flights (incorporating data such as budget, length of stay, time), scheduling appointments or meetings, researching information including telling you things you don’t need to buy anymore, translating, making book recommendations.

For dyslexic entrepreneurs, AI ChatGPT can be used in many ways – especially as writing can be so time consuming. For example, from entrepreneur Isaac Sesi: generating content for your website, social media, and marketing materials (in one survey 40% of marketers said they were using AI for copywriting), answer customer questions, generate SEO friendly product descriptions, generating email responses, generating reports and summaries, generating social media posts, generating media notes, generating business plans, generating sales scripts, coming up with ideas.

Currently ChatGPT is in research phase so it is free to use now, but that is likely to change in the near future.

Answer: If you are using technology, you probably already are using AI.

AI-voices power the most life-like voices for text-to-speech, whether it’s Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, or something else. AI also powers adaptive learning programs like ALEKS for math or for writing. Most of the best math problem solving apps are all AI-powered.

As long as you remember that AI isn’t necessarily truth – that it is a brainstorming tool just like a Google search or Wikipedia doesn’t always provide correct answers.

One interesting function is that you can ask it how to explain something to a younger child, for instance. Here’s what answer I received when I gave it the prompt, “How to explain dyslexia to a 10 year-old child”:

“Dyslexia is a learning difference that makes it hard for some people to read and spell words. It’s like a special way that the brain works, that makes it harder to learn certain things. Just like some people have different eye colors or hair colors, some people have different ways of learning. It’s not bad, it’s just different. And with the right help, people with dyslexia can learn to read and spell just as well as anyone else.

It’s important to remember that people with dyslexia are just as smart as anyone else. They just learn differently. And with the right kind of help and support, they can do great things!”

Not bad, but I wish it would’ve also mentioned strengths associated with dyslexia.

If you are a parent or teacher worried that a student’s paper wasn’t actually written by your student, there is a tool that may be able to figure out if it was written by ChatGPT. It’s called ChatGPT and the creator (a 22 year-old Princeton student) based it on an earlier version of ChatGPT. There is a free version called ChatGPTZero. If you can’t get through, it’s probably because it’s super busy and he hasn’t been able to scale up his program yet.

Obviously, this tool could be helpful for exposing completely AI-generated essays and papers, but it also hasn’t yet been shown how good this tool may be. You can read more about this tool here.

Like many powerful technology tools, AI has tremendous potential to do good as well as to evil.

Get acquainted with these tools, but also if you choose to use them, use them with some critical thinking and skepticism as you should with any bit of information found on the Internet.

For dyslexia people with severe difficulties in writing, these tools can be a tremendous help. For children who are just learning how to write and organize their thoughts, ChatGPT and similar programs may help get the ideas flowing.


Dyslexia | Dyslexic Advantage