Assistive Technology Tools for Learning Differences, ADHD, and Executive Function Challenges

My Assistive Technology Toolbox

I use a wide variety of technologies in my practice -- both high-tech and low-tech -- too numerous to mention here. This page lists the tools that I most rely on when working with clients and that I include in my trainings.

Because many software tools perform multiple functions, it's difficult to list technologies by category such as "Technologies for Reading" and "Technologies for Writing" -- certain tools would show up in several places -- so I've chosen to list them in a more eclectic manner that's still fairly logical.

Online Training and Technical Assistance

I offer online training and technical assistance for many of the tools listed below.  Sessions are conducted using Join.Me,, and a few other tools so that we can see, and in some cases control, each other's computer remotely.

If you are interested, please contact me for more information.

Listening to Recorded Audiobooks

Audiobooks are recordings of human narrators reading aloud.


Simple text-to-speech, E-readers with text-to-speech and other tools


Read, Write & Study Software Suites

Software that bundles multiple supports for reading, writing, and studying.


Resources for Alternatives to Printed Text - Electronic Text (E-text) and Narrated Audiobooks


OCR (optical character recognition) options

OCR software converts image of text (e.g., scanned printed material) to editable text that can be read aloud by text-to-speech software.  Some OCR software also permits editing of the OCR results.


Outliner, Graphic Organizer, and Mind Map Software

Outlining and mapping software can help students organize ideas for writing, take notes while reading, break a large project into smaller individual tasks, understand broad concepts or complex processes -- any information that benefits from a structured framework and clarifying the relationship between the whole and its parts.  Some of these programs, apps, and web tools also include ready-made templates (and allow creation of custom templates) to scaffold a student's thinking and learning.  While mind map and graphic organizer tools will benefit visual learners, students with nonverbal learning difficulties may find linear text-based outliners more helpful.


Speech recognition (speech-to-text)


PDF Annotation

Type on PDF version of worksheet, quiz, or other handout vs. handwriting on it.


Assorted Reading & Writing Supports

Supports for spelling, grammar, word choice, reading level, and visual readability.

  • Dyslexie and OpenDyslexic - fonts designed to ease visual aspects of reading for those with dyslexia
  • Visual Thesaurus - visual word map (online, Mac & PC)
  • Ginger - contextual spellchecker (online, PC)
  • Ghotit - contextual spelling/grammar checker with word prediction, other supports (Mac, PC, iOS, Chrome, Android, Linux)
  • Grammarian Pro2X - grammar and spelling checker (Mac)
  • Co:Writer - standalone word prediction with topic dictionaries (Mac, PC, iOS, Chrome)
  • WordQ - word prediction, word lists, abbreviation/expansion (Mac & PC)
  • SpeakQ - WordQ plus speech recognition (PC)
  • Clicker 7 - custom onscreen keyboards, talking word processor, word prediction, more (Mac & PC)
  • Clicker Apps: Sentences, Connect, Docs, Books - each app focuses on a key Clicker 7 feature (iOS)
  • DocsPlus - word banks, talking word processor, word prediction, mind mapping (online, Mac & PC)
  • BeeLine Reader - text color gradients aid visual tracking, improve reading speed, reduce effort
  • Mercury Reader - reduces webpage visual clutter for distraction-free reading (Chrome)
  • Reading Focus Cards - virtual index card-like reading guide to aid visual focus (Mac, PC)
  • Rewordify - automatically defines, or substitutes simpler words in place on webpages


Taking Notes & Organizing Notes

  • Microsoft OneNote - digital notebook (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, online)
  • Growly Notes - digital notebook (Mac, iOS)
  • Evernote - digital file cabinet (online, Mac, PC, iOS, Android)
  • Livescribe smartpens - pens link recorded audio to handwritten notes (works with Mac, PC, iOS, Android depending on model: Echo, Sky Wifi (discontinued 2016), Livescribe 3)
  • IRISPen - handheld scanning pen captures print text, transfers to computer (Mac & PC)
  • C-Pen - handheld scanning pen reads print text aloud, defines/translates words, captures print text for transfer to computer (Mac & PC)
  • Notebook Layout w/ Audio Notes - link recorded audio with typed notes in Word (included with Microsoft Word for Mac 2008 & 2011 only)
  • Sonocent Audio Notetaker - software integrates audio recording, notes, slides, images, and annotations (Mac & PC)
  • Sonocent Recorder - companion app to Audio Notetaker; record and annotate audio (iOS, Android)
  • AudioNote - multi-functional notetaker app (iOS, Android, Mac, PC)
  • Notability - robust notetaker app (iOS, Mac)


Math & Science Notation, Graphing & Drawing


Math Concepts


Math Problem Solving and Processes

Apps and resources to help understand and practice multistep problem solving and sequencing steps.


Assorted Aids for Managing Digital Distractions

  • Isolator - dims, blurs, or hides all but frontmost window to reduce visual distractions (Mac)
  • HazeOver - dims or hides all but frontmost window to reduce visual distractions (Mac)
  • Dropcloth - dims or hides all but frontmost window to reduce visual distractions (PC)
  • ScreenRuler - dims entire webpage except for movable horizontal reading ruler to aid visual focus and tracking (Mac, PC)
  • Screen Masking tool in Read&Write for Google - dims entire webpage except for movable horizontal reading ruler (Chrome)
  • Screen Masking tool in Read&Write - dims entire webpage except for movable horizontal reading ruler (Mac, PC)
  • Mercury Reader - reformat "main article" text on webpage, removes visual clutter (ads, images) (Chrome)
  • Simplify Page tool in Read&Write for Google - reformats "main article" text on webpage, removes visual clutter (ads, images) (Chrome)
  • AdBlock - browser extension prevents ads from loading to webpages (Safari, Chrome browsers)
  • Text Mode - replaces webpage images and videos with gray rectangles for uncluttered, text-only reading (Chrome)
  • SelfControl - restricts access to selected websites for preset times (Mac)
  • StayFocusd - restricts access to selected websites for preset times (Chrome)
  • Cold Turkey - restricts access to selected apps, websites for preset times (Mac, PC)
  • RescueTime - tracks time on apps, websites (Mac, PC)
  • Forest – plant trees, watch forest grow as evidence of “non-phone” time


Assorted Aids for Attention and Executive Functioning

  • VibraLite - watches with multiple customizable vibration alerts
  • WatchMinder - watch with multiple customizable vibration alerts, messages
  • Reminders - simple but capable to-do list with alerts included with Macs and iOS devices
  • Wunderlist (discontinued 2020) - task manager app (online, Mac, PC, iOS, Android)
  • Microsoft To-Do - task manager app (Mac, PC, iOS, Android)
  • DropTask - visual task manager app (online, Mac, PC, iOS, Android)
  • Trello - visual taskboard for managing tasks and workflow (online, iOS, Android)
  • Habitica - "gamified task manager" to help accomplish goals, be organized, and stay motivated
  • Assignment Calculator - break down large projects into manageable chunks (online)
  • Research Project Calculator - break down large projects into manageable chunks (online)
  • CoPilot - breaks assignments into sequence of tasks and schedules them on calendar according to learning style and study preferences (online)
  • 30/30 - task timer app employs a modifed very of the Pomodoro Technique (iOS)
  • Brili Routines - "routine manager" with prompts to assist staying on task (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Pebble, online)
  • Octopus by Joy - icon-based task scheduler watch designed for young kids (shipping late summer 2017) (iOS, Android)
  • Also see "Assorted Aids for Managing Digital Distractions", above


Assorted Aids to Support Mental Health and Wellness

Many kids with learning and attention challenges also deal with psychological and emotional issues such as anxiety and depression.  These might be separate conditions, or they might be a product of having to cope with their learning and attention challenges.  The following are a sampling of apps and online tools to help students with sleep, exercise, social connections, managing stress, and balancing their life.  Many of these have been evaluated and recommended by students who found that they improve emotional well-being and resilience.

  • SleepBot - monitor sleep movement, wake to gradual alarms, track sleep data over time
  • White Noise - generate ambient noise, create your own sound “mixes” to relax, meditate, aid sleep
  • Calm - practice meditation and mindfulness to reduce anxiety, promote restful sleep
  • Stop, Breathe, & Think - practice mindfulness and reduce stress with guided meditations
  • Wysa - anonymous chatbot to help work through anxiety, practice mindfulness, track mood
  • Pax, the OCD bot - anonymous Facebook “chatbot” to cope with uncomfortable feelings, intrusive thoughts
  • K’Bro (as in “You OK, bro?”) - Helps boys anonymously assess & track their emotions, receive guidance
  • MyFitnessPal - track exercise progress, get regular feedback on exercise and nutrition
  • MapMyRun - running tracker provides motivation to sustain good practices & decision-making, get results


Less struggle.

More learning.


Copyright © 2008-2020
Rachael M. Haven, ATP, RET
All rights reserved

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Greater success.