Assistive Technology: how can it help your studies?

If you’ve never heard of Assistive Technology (AT) and wonder what it is and how it can help your studies then you’ve come to the right place. Assistive Technology software, for example, mind mapping and text-to-speech software, can help you to develop skills and strategies for studying. Whilst it is particularly helpful for those who have a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) such as Dyslexia, they are really useful tools for anyone to use. Even better it’s available at the university for all students and staff and much of it can be used off campus too.

Title: A logo for Read and Write - Description: A logo for Read and Write

Read and Write Gold – is text-to-speech software that is a useful proofreading tool as we can hear the errors in our writing more effectively than by sight alone. This software can also be useful for a blended reading approach enabling you to access content in different ways. Read and Write also has useful study tools such a spellchecker, with a phonetic base, screen tinting and a homophone checker to recognise similar sounding words. 

TIP: Read and Write is providing a temporary license which is available to all Edge Hill students and staff whilst social distancing measures remain in place.

Get in touch with the Catalyst Helpdesk virtually via email or live chat and they will be able to provide an instructional video and product key so you can download the software at home.

Title: Claro Icon - Description: Claro Icon

ClaroRead – is another text-to-speech software that is useful when proofreading your assignments and can be helpful when taking a blended approach to reading. ClaroRead has lots of useful study skills tools such as screen rulers, tinting and phonetic spellcheckers. ClaroRead anywhere is available to students and staff on our Assistive Technology webpages.

Title: A logo for Inspiration - Description: A logo for Inspiration

Inspiration 9 – is mind mapping software that can assist you when planning your essay writing and offers a visual way of organising ideas on to a mind map. This approach can be helpful in processing information and you can arrange your content in different ways to support your understanding. You can add images, text and web links to your mind map in order to capture all your great planning in one place. Students and staff can download a copy of the software on their own device using the link on our Assistive Technology webpages.

If you would like any further information around these technologies, please feel free to contact the team on [email protected]

Skype support for students identified with SpLD (Dyslexia/Dyspraxia)

There is an exciting development planned to improve our services in terms of support for students with SpLD.

The SpLD team attended Skype training on 14 November 2013 to consider how it could be used when supporting students with SpLD (Dyslexia/Dyspraxia).  The day was very informative and we were able to talk with students who already access support this way.  We have been aware for sometime that students who are living or working (or both) at a distance from Edge Hill find it difficult to access the specialist support.

The team think that Skype is a great idea for students on placement or distance learners who can’t get in to the main campus for their support.  The plan is to run a pilot scheme in the New Year with a view of providing support via Skype in the future.

As a service development idea, we are keen to hear your feedback as it is very important that students are involved as we consider making changes to our service.  We would love to hear from you if you do feel you could benefit from using Skype for your one to one SpLD support or if you have any reservations and would like to discuss it with us.  Please get in touch by emailing [email protected]



Dyslexia Awareness Week

Dyslexia Awareness Week 8th to 14th October.

Want to know what support is available from the SpLD Support Team or know more about Dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties?

Visit the SpLD Support Team stand in the HUB.  Staff will be available throughout the week.

Seven TextHelp prizes won every day this week.

To mark the Dyslexia Awareness Week we are running a FREE prize
draw for students to win TextHelp Read and Write goodies. Just
complete the entry slip at our stand in the HUB and put it into the box provided.

Find out more about our Assistive Technology such as TextHelp

For a free TextHelp 30 day home trial

For more information please contact:

The SpLD Support Team,

Ask Desk, 1st Floor University Library

Tel: 01695 584372

[email protected]

Freshers Fair 2012

Learning Services gives a warm, (but damp) welcome to everyone, both new freshers and returning students.

As you will know, the 2012 Student Union Freshers Fair is taking place in the HUB on 26th September.  We will be there throughout the event promoting some of our exciting new developments and resources.  Come and find out about the Blackboard mobile app, our mobile library catalogue, see our subject librarians who will be there to help you with any resource questions and also showcase the brand new Learning Services subject web pages.  The SpLD support team and Inclusive Services will also be there to give help, advice and guidance for students with any disabiltiy questions or concerns.

We have some nice things to give away – post it notes, pens and pencils and a competition every hour to win 1GB USB wrist bands.  Our competition is free to entry but we would like you to sign up to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

We would love you to sign up for our social media … you will hear all about our new resources, help and support sessions and important news first!

We have also got some library tours going on during the day – you can join us in the foyer at 12.00pm, 1.00pm or 4.00pm for a tour.

Hopefully see you all in the HUB

Rachel Bury Academic Liaison Manager – Quality, Marketing and Communication

Want to know if you might be dyslexic?

Want to know if you might be dyslexic?

Have you tried the new online dyslexia checklist on the Inclusive Services website?

In the last 10 months 751 students have accessed the online dyslexia checklist.

An online dyslexia checklist is available from the Inclusive Services website:

The checklist is an interactive questionnaire that allows you to find out if you have indicators of dyslexia and what to do next if you have.

Once completed, a score is calculated and you will be given guidance on whether you need further assessment with the SpLD Support Team based on the first floor of the University Library.

Specific learning difficulties arise from a different way of thinking/processing information in relation to working memory/short-term memory, visual-motor and auditory processing.

Why not try the dyslexia checklist to see what support you might need and how to access it.  The earlier you come to see us, the sooner we can support you.

SpLD Support Team – “Working With You”

Inclusive Services

University Library, first floor

Tel:  01695 584372

Email: [email protected]




Did you know….how Learning Services support those who study or teach at collaborative partners or off campus?

Support for students and staff studying at a partner college or outreach venue can vary depending on what type of partnership it is. To put it simply, there are different levels of support in place for students and staff at partner institutions.

All students, regardless of the type of partner, receive access to our e-resources (books, journals and databases) and can come on campus to borrow books from any of our site libraries; as can staff who are teaching on Edge Hill courses but are employed by partner institutions. Students can also come on campus to access support in relation to general study skills or support for specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

Sticking to the definitions in the university Quality Management Handbook, category F (Franchised) and category C (Outreach Supported Learning Centres) partners, provide the information and learning resources as well as support for students locally on the partners’ campus. The role of Learning Services is to provide training, development and support material to staff in partner libraries to enable them to offer this support.

Category B partners (Outreach Learning Venues) are those where the university is responsible for the support of the students and providing access to information resources. This means that in addition to access to e-resources Learning Services provides a postal loan facility for students to borrow books. We would also support students with additional learning needs through the process of assessment and offer guidance on applications for funding via Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA).

I know this might seem complicated but if you would like further information or clarification then please have a look at our wiki or get in touch with Dawn McLoughlin at [email protected].

Dawn McLoughlin

Academic Support Manager

Did you know…about the essential tools and good practice guidelines for computer users?

Whether you are developing teaching and learning content or professional documentation for your department or service, there is good practice guidance and software available which all users may add to their resource toolkit.

Inspiration® mind-mapping software creates visual representations of plans / ideas or concepts in the form of a diagram or mind map. Inspiration can transform your visual map into a linear format at the touch of a button to suit all preferred learning styles. You can create your own map or use one of the many templates on offer.

Inspiration is an excellent tool for any form of planning such as modules, presentations, lectures or seminars. Inspiration is used for scoping research activities and analysing key findings from both quantitative and qualitative data. The colour-coding, visual and diagrammatical aspects are helpful in linking key themes and formulating research analysis.

TextHelp Read and Write® allows you to access text in an auditory format and text is read aloud directly from your PC. TextHelp can assist when reading assignments for marking, proofreading and highlighting errors within written work. TextHelp highlights the text when reading and identifies grammatical, spelling and homophone errors with its advanced functions and has an in-built dictionary where definitions are read aloud.

Inspiration® and TextHelp® incorporate their own training videos and mini training guides are available from the Learning Services Wiki via Locate a User Guide and Using ICT.

To access Inspiration or TextHelp on the network: select Start →Network Programs → Accessibility → Inspiration or TextHelp.

Good Practice

Accessibility Essentials Series by JISC Techdis. This series provides guidance on creating accessible documents using a range of everyday applications that we access on the Edge Hill University network, such as Word, PowerPoint or via PDF files. JISC Techdis guidelines are available via the Staff Development wiki.

Guide to Accessible Documents for the VLE . This guide is available from the Learning Services wiki via Locate a User Guide and Using ICT.

For further advice or guidance please contact Julie Keen extension 4372 or via email to [email protected].

Exam Revision and Inspiration® mind mapping software

Exam Revision and Inspiration® mind mapping software

Inspiration® software can be used as a tool for developing  memorable exam revision techniques and is fun to use.  The  software is accessible to all Edge Hill students from the desktop and is very easy to use.  Users create a picture of their ideas and concepts in the form of a diagram or mind map and pictures can be imported from photographs.

Inspiration® software stimulates visual and linear thinking and can aid memory retention and memory recall in exams. It is particularly useful for students with a visual learning preference.

The visual representation of ideas means that revision becomes an active process. Inspiration® can help you to organise and clarify your thoughts and ultimately save time. Notes can be condensed and topics summarised to make exam revision easier and information memorable.  Gaps in understanding become more evident and recall is enhanced.

For a free home trial go to:

For more information please contact:
The SpLD Support Team
University Library 1st Floor
Edge Hill University
Tel: 01695 584372
Email: [email protected]