The past few years have had our kids accessing technology more than ever before. Even those who didn’t previously use Assistive Technology now find themselves with Chromebooks and other devices to do their school work at home.

But, a new environment can expose skill gaps. When school information is presented in a different format, a student may need new or different supports to access that information.

Some of our kids need text to speech apps, and some need voice to text apps.

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teacher demonstrating how to use voice to text apps

Text to Speech

Lately, many parents have been asking about Text to Speech apps and Voice to Text apps for their kids.

Difference Between the Two

Voice to Text: This type of app types out what you say. Like when I tap the little microphone on my phone in my texting app, I can quickly tell my husband something that would take me several minutes to type out. However, some are better than others. The voice-to-text on my phone (Pixel 6) is awesome. The app that I use to transcribe podcasts to my blog is not and it requires a tremendous amount of editing.

Text to Voice: Think of this as a book on tape. (I know, dating myself) Ok, think of Alexa. Alexa is a computerized voice that reads text to you. But, she sounds pretty human, doesn’t she? Some devices let you pick a voice. While it might seem cute and funny to read it in a British accent or in the voice of Cookie Monster, that may not be best for an educational setting.

child using voice to text app on a tablet

Adding Voice/Text to your IEP

Like everything else, supports and services are needs-driven. Ask for an evaluation in this area, or ask for RTI type format (add intervention and take data).

This wouldn’t necessarily need the whole IEP team to convene and could be done with an IEP no-meet addendum. Or, an abbreviated meeting with just a teacher and SLP and parent.

Choosing the Right Voice Text App

Here are some tips for choosing the best and most appropriate Speech to Text or Text to Voice app for your child.

  1. First, it needs to be compatible (duh). While most app developers these days make both ios and an Android version, not all do. So double-check that it is compatible with the device your child uses.
  2. Can they use it at home? If your child has a separate device at home or for personal use, I would try to choose the same app for consistency. This way, they only have to learn how to use one app.
  3. Does the app do both? Some do both Texts to Voice and Voice to Text, but not all do. Again, it depends on how many apps you want your child to learn.
  4. Talk with your IEP team. Particularly if your child needs SLP or Hearing Services, they may have some specific recommendations for your child.
  5. Ask for extra time and recordings. It takes extra time to transcribe something and read it, rather than just listening to it the first time. Same in reverse. Extra time on assignments might be warranted.
  6. For multi-lingual households, choose an app that meets those needs. Some are great at translating and some are not. Your ESOL teacher should be able to assist you with choosing the right translating voice to text app.

I’ve given you several free ones to choose from, but most apps are pretty inexpensive. While the ‘F’ in FAPE stands for free, I personally would just purchase a $5 or $10 app for my kid, rather than go through the process.

You should speak with your child’s team about choosing a voice-to-text app.

There are a lot of options out there.

Good luck and if you have a fantastic text-to-speech or voice-to-text app that you’d like me to add to this list, let me know.

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