Assistive Technology

Literacy and Accessibility Software Firm Texthelp Acquiring Don Johnston Inc. Edtech Division

Literacy and accessibility technology company Texthelp said this week it is acquiring the edtech division of Don Johnston Inc., a provider of assistive technology and special-education curriculum software.

Texthelp will add DJI’s Snap&Read, Co:Writer, Word Bank, Quizbot, and uPAR tools to its suite of products, while the DJI products ReadTopia and First Author will be folded into the new spin-off company, to be called Building Wings.

Texthelp’s mission is to use its assistive technology to help 1 billion people with reading, writing, and numeracy by 2030. With the addition of the DJI SaaS-based products, the Texthelp group becomes one of the world’s largest providers of assistive technology tools for classrooms and workplaces. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to, approximately one in 10 people have dyslexia, and in the United States, 12% of K–12 students are enrolled in special education curriculum; 15% of children at school are learning their second language; and the average reading level is 7th to 8th grade. Using assistive tools has been proven to help such students overcome learning barriers, Texthelp said in its announcement this week.

Both company’s products will remain supported by Texthelp, the company said, and customers “will see the benefit of collaborative technology innovation between the companies within the first few weeks.”

“”Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. share a common vision of a world where every student can feel what it is like to learn and succeed,” said Texthelp CEO and Founder Martin McKay. “Don and I founded our organizations for deeply personal reasons. We have an incredibly similar mission to elevate as many students as possible, helping them both understand and be understood.

“Our combined teams and expanded portfolio of products will allow us to give millions more students in the U.S. and across the globe the best possible start in life and help them fulfill their full potential. Along with the Don Johnston team, we will continue to innovate and develop our suite of products to create the best assistive technology tools available,” McKay said.”

For over four decades years, Don Johnston Inc. has developed technology tools and curriculum to help students and educators at more than 32,000 schools build literacy skills, with a particular focus on accommodating children and adults with special needs and learning disabilities.

DJI CEO Don Johnston will join the board of directors at Texthelp and will serve as CEO for the new spin-off, Building Wings.

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About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].