Adaptation

Any adaptations that are made to facilitate student learning must be noted in a student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP). These adaptations must be used by the student on a regular basis throughout the school year in order for them to be admissible when writing a MEES exam.

The official document entitled "ADMINISTRATIVE Guide 2015-EDITION, Certification of Studies and Management of Ministerial Examinations" can be downloaded from the MEES website.
​​​​​​​Download resource

Chapter 5 ( pages 104 - 107 ) describes what adaptations are admissible for ministerial examinations.

Word Processor Adaptations

The Spell Check and Grammar Check features in WORD and LibreOffice run automatically by default but they can be turned off if they are too distracting for the writer. They can always be called up later when needed. 

The “writing process” for students follows a general pattern: pre-writing activities of reading, discussion, gathering information, brainstorming, and creating some sort of outline. This sets the stage for the first draft which should focus on committing ideas to paper.

An active spelling and grammar checker can interfere with this process by giving immediate feedback to the student with little red and green lines under questionable writing. These aides can distract the writer significantly. Spelling and Grammar checkers are useful but need to be used at the right time in the process for the needs of the writer.

Since the main goal of a first draft is to get your ideas onto paper, grammatically correct sentences or perfect spelling is secondary and can be addressed at a later stage.

Below are instructions on how to do this:

Adapting WORD 2007 (PC) - Download Resource: PDF ​​​​​​​

Adapting WORD 2008/2011 (MAC) - Download Resource: PDF ​​​​​​​ ​​

Adapting LibreOffice ( PC/MAC ) - Download Resource: PDF ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

* newer versions of these software have similar steps to disabling these tools.

Writing Process

The writing process has many steps. Students can benefit from using different types of assistive technologies while going through these steps. Whether using a PC, Mac, Android, Chromebook, tablet or iPad, each technology has apps that can do similar kinds of tasks. 

The graphic below illustrates which type of technology could be used at each stage.

The benefits to the student lie in the cultivation of writing strategies they will learn how to use. The goal is for the student to be capable of selecting which technology or app is best suited to the task at hand and the student's individual needs as a learner.

Text to Speech (TTS)

Basic text-to-speech ( TTS ) capabilities come with the OS X operating systems and can be used to have the computer read text aloud. There are several 3rd-party applications available for free and for sale that provide TTS.

For Windows 10, there are:

- Balabolka,
​​​​​​​- Natural Reader,
​​​​​​​- and WordQ (amongst others).

In the Chromebook environment, a 3rd-party extension called "Read & Write", can be purchased (see note below).

It is recommended to try out the features that come with the computer or free apps before spending money on a 3rd-party application or extension as you may be satisfied with those freely available options.

How is TTS helpful?

Text-to-speech allows the user to select a body of text on the screen and then have the computer read that text out loud. The voice, rate of speech, and in some cases, inflection, can all be customised by the user.

Any text that can be "selected" on your computer can be read aloud with TTS (PDFs, word processor documents, webpages, etc.).

For users that have difficulties while reading but have good auditory comprehension, TTS provides access to content they would otherwise have difficulty with.

Questions to keep in mind when listening to the text during the revision stage of the  writing process:

- Does this text say what I intended? 
- Are any ideas missing that I may need to add? 
- Are there any words missing?

It is best to select text in small chunks at first, a sentence, or at most a paragraph, to be read aloud in one instance.

Note

Some text-to-speech engines require internet in order to function. Chromebooks and tablets tend to work this way. Internet access is not allowed during MEES exams. Special authorization from the MEES is required in order for a student to use TTS with internet access.

Balabolka TTS for PC info (PDF): Download

Natural Reader TTS for PC (PDF): Download

TTS OS X (PDF): Download

OpenDyslexic

Opendyslexic

OpenDyslexic is an Open Source font that can be installed on PC's, Macs and Linux computers.

It is designed to increase readability for some readers with dyslexia. For more information - go to site

Once the font is installed, it can be used within your word processor or you can create a template file for your word processor and add Opendyslexic as the default font.

This template can be called whenever you create a new document making it easier for a person with dyslexia to read what they are writing.

Sample text:

image of sample text

Writing Tools for Students with Special Needs

Many students with special needs benefit from assistive technology when they have written assignments to do. Nowadays, word processors are common and feature helpful tools.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, students may not have access to the computers they used at school and therefore, the licensed tools that they have learned to use in their writing. 

The two most commonly used titles are WordQ (an application installed on a computer) and/or Read&Write (available as a Chrome extension or an app run on a computer).

Both companies have extended their free trials so that their software can be installed and used on home computers until things get back to normal.

WordQ

WordQ has extended their free home trial to 60 days ( or more if needed ) during this pandemic.
Go to Site

Read&Write

For Read&Write, the student (or parent) must start by installing the software on a 30-day trial.
​​​​​​​Go to Site​​​​​​​

Then, fill out the form on the link below (which requires a Gmail account).
​​​​​​​Go to Site​​​​​​​

In some school boards, Read&Write is available to the student through their Google classroom connection or their Microsoft365 Teams connection.

If the student has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), these writing tools and how the student uses them for writing may be included. Stick with the strategies that are suggested in that document.

Creating Interactive / Accessible PDF's

With much of the school work going on line it is important to remember that documents should be accessible to all students.  Not all PDF's are created equal.  In some cases they are a no more than a photo of a document.  Text can not be selected and therfore TTS (Text to Speech) will not work. 

In some cases teachers also want to send documents where information and instructions are not editable but there are spaces for students to write text, use radio buttons or check boxes.

Acrobat Pro is the go to software for creating such documents, but it is not free and has it's own structure and environment for creating a PDF.

LibreOffice is free and offers tools that work inside the Word Processor environment to create Interactive and Accessible PDF documents.

The standard Acrobat Reader (free) can be used by the student to work in the document.  WordQ will read both the given texts and what the student writes.  

The Teacher can aslo use Acrobat Reader to then comment and give feedback to the student on the document.

As PDF's, these documents can be saved and moved back and forth from computer to School Servers (TEAMS, GDrive, PORTALS).

Instructions on how to create these PDF's (English) Download PDF

Instructions pour créer ces PDF (français) Téléchargez PDF