As a severely dyslexic adult and a lover of technology I look at products for myself and then for the wider community of SEND.
When I was younger I tried an original scanning pen and did not get on with it but now the development of technology over the past 10 years has grown immensely. Within the past two years the C-Pen Reader and the C-Pen Exam Reader have been developed and added to the new technology range of devices, I’ve been really impressed with how it works and how it continues to grow and enables young and old to have support with reading.
It is estimated that 10% of the population have some severity of dyslexia. Not all of them have problems with reading, but I would say a high percentage have along with people that are illiterate or have other literacy difficulties, products like the C-Pen Reader can really change people’s lives.
Think of the situation where a young person has just found out they’re dyslexic. They are unsure of what dyslexia means, but they are aware that they have difficulties and that they are different than other people. Being frustrated when it comes to reading can make you feel depressed, have low self-esteem and probably anxiety when you’re asked to read something. With a device like the C-Pen Reader, this would reassure the child and enable them to digest content from a book or a worksheet.
Other situations that may arise such as a 79-year-old man who has just lost his wife after 50 years of marriage. She was aware of his difficulties with reading and he lived his life not telling his children, his friends or work colleagues that he couldn’t read and that he was most probably illiterate. He would put into conversations with his daughter, “what’s on the telly tonight” which was his way of getting around reading the TV guide. Giving an adult who is quite ashamed of their difference a device like the C-Pen Reader will change their life and enable them to do simple tasks like reading the TV guide and how to cook new meals and more importantly what medication they should take it will make their everyday life much safer and easier without the fear and embarrassment.
My personal thoughts on the C-Pen Reader
The C-Pen Reader is quite a compact device which fits into my left hand very nicely, it’s very chic in its design and is very portable. It comes with 1 Gb of storage and has some amazing additional features on top of its reading ability. The technology behind it is OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and has a high quality speech with a British English voice, built into the device there is also an earphone socket, a microphone and a very nice OLED display. The display is very easy on the eye.
When using the device, I found it very easy to use, it’s very comfortable in the hand and user-friendly to adapt to my abilities. As a left-handed user you can easily change the pen to left-handed use it’s just a couple of easy movements using the navigation.
When using the device to read text this was as I expected it to be, easy and user-friendly, you’re able to change the speed and the volume of the voice, there are three speed modes and five volume settings.
Some of the additional features of the device are that it can be used as a voice recorder using the built in microphone, it also has the scan to file feature, this enables the user to scan parts of a text and then import it to a computer, I see this functionality as very useful when it comes to revision. The pen also has the Collins English Dictionary built in, this feature enables you to scan a word and it will show you the dictionary definition, with a few changes to the settings you can also have the definition said aloud to you. The device is a standard plug and play which enables you to plug this into a computer to download any recordings or text files.
Overall I feel it’s a very clever, well made, user-friendly and supportive device. An integrated advance in technology to support people with SpLD and particularly dyslexia.