Digital Assistance for SEN Students

Digital Assistance for SEN students


Dyslexia Courses Ireland

W:  E:   M: 0872582345


Update on how to access digital copies of textbooks January 2016

Wyn McCormack

Digital copies of books are very useful for students with dyslexia as it enables them to see and hear the text. The educational publishers make digital copies of textbooks available.  It may be the PDF file of the book with images and graphics stripped out or the eBook version of the text.

There is a problem with the integration of iPad assistive technology software with some eBook versions of textbooks.  This may mean the text book cannot be read aloud on the device.   However the educational publishers are working to overcome this incompatibility.  This article describes the situation as of January 2016.

An alternative solution is the use of a scanning pen which scans and reads text aloud or through headphones.  See


CJ Fallon

  • If contacted by teacher or parent, they will create and assign an eBook account free of charge for textbooks used in the classroom. If they feel it is being abused, they can revoke the access.  The books are same as the printed version.
  • Their full range of books is accessible, so it would be possible to buy revision eBooks.
  • They are working on integration with the iPad assistive technology. At the moment the way to access it is as follows:

On iPad, go to Setting >General>Accessibility>Turn on Speak Selection>Set Accessibility Shortcut to VoiceOver(triple click home).  This is important as it allows you to toggle VoiceOver on and off.   Next open a title in your CJFallonReader app, go to a page you want to read, next click the ‘T’ icon top right of screen, next triple click the home button, then tap the paragraph you want to read and tap again.  Triple click to turn VoiceOver off.

The next version of the iOS app is due in in 2016 and will allow the iOS to speak selected words from within the text only option. This removes the necessity to have text-to-speech enabled via triple click, reducing the technical setup/requirement to simply having speak selection enabled.


The EDCO Learning app is now available for download from the App Store for iPad, Google Playstore for Android and Windows Store for Windows 8 and Windows 10. Devices running Windows 7 can access EDCO books through the EDCO Learning web app available at but note that an active internet connection will be required at all time to use the site. The EDCO Learning suite of apps and the accompanying website offer a wide range of resource material to accompany texts including video, audio and interactive activities.

Text-only versions which contain all the text from the book with the formatting, images and graphs removed are also available.  The company asks for an application form to be completed and returned with proof of purchase of the book and the student’s medical report. While they have a large number of texts available in this format, not all of their texts are. In particular revision book are not.

Free eBooks are supplied with the printed version of their books  but these do not read the text aloud to the student. does provide  PDF versions of textbooks on a CD for the benefit of pupils with reading difficulties.  The format of the PDF is a full text copy of the book, in the same layout as printed book.

Due to copyright, these files are solely for use by the pupil for whom they are authorised.   The pupil should have original printed copy of the book being used in this way.

There is an application form to be completed.  There is no charge for the CD



If someone is interested in obtaining digital copies, they should submit a request on Folens’ support line using the link:   On this site they also have an article How to use iBooks with PDF files which would be of use to parents and students.  

Once the request is received and Folens get the information they require from the applicant, they organise a download link using a service called  The download link expires after ten days or 3 downloads, whichever comes first, so it is designed to be stored locally on the device and will not be accessible online after 10 days.

The files are secured by copyright protection measures which mean no one is able to print, copy the text, add notes or edit the files.

The files are designed and have been tested to work with Natural Reader and Read Write Gold.  The turnabout is about 2-3 days.  They do not require a letter or assessment.


Gill & McMillan

They do provide digital copies of textbooks. The format is a link sent by email which you click to download the PDFs.  A CD format is still available on request.   PDF files which is accessible for Read-aloud software which can be transferred to iPad or tablet.

They need:

  • Proof of purchase of the physical copy of the book.
  • One page medical cert or psychologist assessment detailing the student’s name and diagnosis.
  • Signed copy of their copyright agreement. This can be obtained by phone call or email contact.

It is also possible to open an eBook account and access revision books.



It is possible for students to get digital copies of most text books.  Any new text books either Leaving/Junior Cert will have an eBook version.  For students with dyslexia to receive a free copy of an eBook they must purchase the textbook.   Some information from parents is required before the eBook is dispatched. At present revision/workbooks are not available in eBook format.


At present the eBooks cannot be read aloud on iPad/Tablet.  To access a reading aloud, Mentor will provide a pdf and, if the student has software on their laptop, it can be read back.


© Wyn McCormack 2016