As part of our mission to help all students improve their reading and writing skills, we offer free assistive technology consultation for families of children with dyslexia and other reading disabilities.
Request a one-on-one assistive technology consultation appointment with one of our assistive technology coordinators in Iowa City on the University of Iowa campus.
Request a one-on-one virtual assistive technology consultation appointment with one of our assistive technology coordinators via videoconference (free for Iowa residents, $35 for an appointment for all others).
How Can Assistive Technology Help My Child?
Assistive technology includes devices, software, or equipment purposefully chosen to help children with reading disabilities complete academic and everyday tasks. Assistive technology facilitates students’ full participation in academic instruction and allows them to demonstrate their learning in equitable ways.
What We Offer
In-Person Assistive Technology Consultation Appointments
In-person appointments are held at the Iowa Reading Research Center offices on the University of Iowa campus. Families meet with one of our assistive technology coordinators, and the appointment is tailored to meet the needs of the family.
Families are encouraged to bring their child who has a reading disability to the appointment. However, this is not required, and families may participate without their child as well.
Virtual Assistive Technology Consultation Appointment
Virtual appointments are similar to our in-person appointments, with families meeting with an assistive technology coordinator via videoconference. Families are shown technology through video and screen sharing functions. They are able to ask questions in real-time, similar to if they were meeting in person. The appointment is tailored to the needs of the family.
- Interactive demonstration of devices in relation to assistive technology:
- Google Chromebook and laptop computer
- Apple Pencil
- Interactive demonstration of applications for tablet and laptop devices. Apps available for demonstration include:
Device Check Out
Depending on availability, the assistive technology devices are available following the consultation appointment to check out for a short period of time for trying out in the home. We want to help families feel comfortable with a particular piece of assistive technology prior to purchasing it for themselves. If you have participated in a virtual appointment, you may come to the Iowa Reading Research Center to check out a device.
Assistive Technology eLearning Module
Our free Getting Started With Assistive Technology eLearning module contains a collection of resources to help caregivers learn about assistive technology options for their child. It includes screencast video demos and step-by-step instructional guides for various apps and browser extensions that support reading and writing. This module is a useful reference caregivers can explore before or after a consultation appointment.
This appointment is not an evaluation of your child’s reading or writing abilities and is not aimed at providing any diagnosis, professional intervention, or medical advice. Given our specific focus on devices for individuals with dyslexia and other reading disabilities, our consultation is not appropriate for children with intellectual disabilities, sensory motor disabilities, or autism spectrum disorder. Although those individuals also might be experiencing reading or writing difficulties, they would require different kinds of assistive technology from what we demonstrate during our appointments. The IRRC does not represent school districts, Area Education Agencies, or the companies that make the technology we demonstrate.
Q: What Happens During an Appointment?
A: One of our assistive technology coordinators will demonstrate different apps, Google Chrome extensions, and devices aimed at helping children with reading and writing tasks. You are encouraged to ask questions during the appointment, and the assistive technology coordinator will gear the demonstration towards your specific needs.
Q: Can My Child Also Receive Services Such as Assessment, Diagnosis, and Tutoring During the Appointment?
A: No, this service is not an evaluation of your child’s reading or writing abilities and is not aimed at providing any diagnosis, professional intervention, or medical advice. Likewise, this appointment is not a form of tutoring.
Q: Does My Child Need to Have Been Diagnosed With a Reading Disability or Have an IEP/504 Plan in Order to Make an Appointment?
A: No, our service is open to any family who is interested in how assistive technology can play a role in helping their child complete reading and writing tasks.
Q: Do We Need to Bring Anything to the Appointment?
A: No, you are not required to bring anything special with you. We supply all of the technology necessary for demonstrating. You are welcome to bring your own devices, but note that some of the technology we show has to be purchased and will not be accessible on a personal device for free.
If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), it can be helpful to either bring a copy or some notes about your child’s plan so we can discuss ways your child can integrate technology into the routine they already have.
Q: Is the Appointment 100% Free?
A: Yes, for all Iowa residents, our appointments are free. Appointments are also available to those outside of Iowa for $35. Additionally, you may rent technology from us, at no charge, unless the technology is damaged while in your possession.
Q: How Long do Appointments Last?
A: Appointment length depends on which devices and programs you would like demonstrated and what questions you have for us. On average, demonstrating all the iPad features takes 30–45 minutes, and demonstrating all the Chromebook features would take 45 minutes–1 hour.
Q: Should My Child Attend the Appointment With Me?
A: This is completely up to you. You know your child best, and if it would be beneficial for the child to see and try out the technology with the coordinator present, then we encourage you to bring your child. Some families attend without their child either because the child is unavailable or because a 1-2 hour demonstration would be a long time for the child to sit. Families are able to rent the technology for their children to try at home in both cases.
Q: If I Have More Than One Child Who Would Benefit From Assistive Technology, Do I Need to Schedule Two Separate Appointments?
A: No, you only need to schedule one appointment even if you have more than one child who would benefit. Please ask the assistive technology coordinator prior to your appointment if you have further questions.
Q: Can I Still Rent Out Technology if I Choose a Virtual Appointment?
A: Yes, we offer the option to rent technology out no matter what type of appointment you choose. If you participate in a virtual appointment, you will need to arrange a time to come to the Iowa Reading Research Center and pick up the technology with the assistive technology coordinator. Technology can be rented for roughly a week.