Dyslexia Awareness Week 2018 - #21stCenturyDyslexia
How Do I? believes in the power of assistive technology to transform people’s lives, which is why we’re pleased that this year’s Dyslexia Awareness Week theme is Enabling Technologies (Assistive Technologies).
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that:
· ‘primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling’ (according to Sir Jim Rose). This means a person with dyslexia may need some assistance with reading, writing and spelling.
· Means a person may need extra help manipulating language because their brain may lack phonological awareness - an awareness of the sound structure of words or matching letters to sounds. They also may need to break down words into syllables to read them e.g. they’ll read trampoline as tram-po-line.
· Means someone may need to come up with creative ways to remember how to spell words.
· Affects how a person sees letters e.g. some people may see letters moving around the page when they’re reading.
Some people may also feel self-conscious about having dyslexia because it can be very frustrating to feel like you’re falling behind your peers. But it’s important to note that there are many successful dyslexic people with different talents and skills: Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Whoopi Gouldberg, Muhammad Ali, Kiera Knightly, Steven Spielberg, Cher, Octavia Spencer, etc.
All these famous people either focused on the things they were good at or came up with their own learning techniques.
How can assistive tech bring out dyslexic people’s strengths and help them overcome barriers?
Back in July Victoria Buchanon, Executive Creative Director at Tribal London Worldwide, led a talk called ‘I Can’t Spel’ at ‘The Future is Neurodiverse’ event. She told the audience focusing on what she was good at helped her do well academically and get a Masters degree, but she realised that she couldn’t avoid writing and spelling for the rest of her life when she had to write her thesis.
Victoria overcame this in 2 ways:
She disclosed her learning difficulty to her colleagues and found that they were very supportive.
She managed the symptoms of her dyslexia by using assistive tools and coping techniques such as spell checker, Grammarly, reading out loud and going home on time. She also found that having a quiet space to write without any time pressure or noise helped her perform well and she uses her phone as a memory aid.
Using apps like Grammarly and being able to use her phone allowed Victoria to excel in a career she loves without feeling like she had to avoid writing and spelling, so if you have a colleague with a learning difficulty or disability, it’s important to let them explore assistive technology options as a reasonable adjustment.
Top 3 Assistive Tech Recommendations that can help dyslexic employees
Spell-checker and Grammarly are great, but I would like to draw our attention to software that specially designed for people with disabilities (although non-disabled people would probably find them useful as well):
1. Global Autocorrect is a spellchecker by Lexable that is not like the spellchecking tool we use on Microsoft Word.
This software will automatically correct your spelling as you type in any program on your computer, so it allows you to focus on what you’re writing. The software is also hidden on your computer, so no one will know you’re using it, even if they pass by your desk. Click the video below to see how it works:
2. Sonocent is an audio notetaker that captures recordings of speech by visualising audio as chunks, phrase by phrase, so that the user can: quickly return to any part of the recording, annotate the notes, review them and easily figure out the important bits of information and what they need to follow up.
3. How Do I?’s app and stickers make learning accessible for everyone. Instead asking employees to read a text-heavy manual where they will only be able to remember 10% of the content (regardless if they have a disability or not), you can create your own video content and have your employees learn as they work by tapping the app with their phone. Click the video below to see how it’s helped people with learning disabilities pick up new life skills:
DROP US A LINE ON HELLO@WEAREHOWDOI.COM TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW YOU CAN CREATE VIDEOS TO TRAIN YOUR TEAM.
ZEINAB ALI – HOW DO I? DIGITAL MARKETING AND PROJECT ASSISTANT
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