Simulating the feeling of being dyslexic

I recently wanted to communicate to a colleague of mine how it feels to be dyslexic. My colleague had very limited knowledge about dyslexia, and asked me what it felt to be dyslexic. This started me thinking:

What is the best way to simulate to a non-dyslexic the feeling of being dyslexic?

So this is what I came up with:

1)      Imagine that it takes you 10 X more time to write legible text?

2)      Imagine that even after investing 10 X more time to write, you are (rightfully) worried that your text includes basic spelling mistakes and misused words…

3)      Imagine that you cannot remember the correct spelling of the simplest and most basic words, and forever need to look up their correct spelling, time after time?

4)      Imagine that you have to write an important email, but will not send it out till you have a non-dyslexic review your text?

5)      Imagine that it takes you 5 X more time to read any book or article?

6)      Imagine that while reading, the letters keep moving around, playing tricks on you?

7)      Imagine that whenever a person reads your written text, he will most likely deduce that you have lower intelligence then your actual intelligence?

8)      Imagine that whenever you need to read out loud, you are sure that your reading will convey to your audience a lower perceived intelligence?

9)      Imagine that you are in a class or a lecture where you understand what is being said but you are not capable of taking any legible notes…

10)   Imagine that without an intelligent spell checker such as Ghotit, you simply do not have the confidence of writing independently?

If you have additional insights of how to convey to a non-dyslexic the feeling of being dyslexic- send a commend and I will add to the above list 🙂

Following user inputs, I am extending the list:

11) Imagine that you put puncuation in just because you know that it needs to go somewhere in the sentences but have no idea where to correctly place the punctuation marks?

12) Imagine that you can never really grasp the sounds and spelling of vowels (A, E, I, O, U) so you usually omit or misuse them?

13) Imagine that throughout your whole life you continue to misuse very basic words such as their, there and they’re OR four and for no matter how many times you tried to memorize these words’ correct meanings and spelling? And when you misspell these words you have no ability to correct this even though you take the time to  proofread your writing?

14) Imagine that you are not able to recite the alphabet from the middle, and always need to restart the alphabet starting from the letter A?

15) Imagine that you still have difficulty differentiating left from right, north from south or east or west, or the specific days of the weeks and months of the year, though you have tried to memorize these names and directions forever?

Additional inputs from readers?

 

If dyslexia is not a ‘deficit’, what is it?

I recently read an interesting article called “Neurodiversity and Dyslexia: Compensatory strategies, or different approaches?”  The article argued that the current educational system classifies people with dyslexia as people with deficits. As such, the educational system is focused in “remediating” / “fixing” these deficits.

However, if schools would adopt a new approach of recognizing that people with dyslexia simply learn differently and create programs for students to excel at how they learn best, then people with dyslexia would graduate school with a higher quality education, and with a much improved level of self-confidence.

So can this be realistically implemented?

The first step is to formalize how people with dyslexia think and learn differently. If this is understood, then educational programs can be created geared for people with dyslexia. For example, these programs can focus less on demonstrating short-memory skills and visual processing for details (e.g. demonstrated in good spelling) and more in promoting a holistic learning approach when teaching a given subject.  Such programs will allow a person with dyslexia to excel and demonstrate his strengths. Potentially, as formal recognition is given to these special analytical strengths, the dyslexic person will strengthen his relative learning and cognitive advantages.

Making the change of seeing dyslexia not as a ‘deficit’ but rather as a valuable and unique skill set is a huge leap. Society is so ingrained with the concept that dyslexia is a deficit that most dyslexics themselves live under this assumption.  Dramatic and enlightened shifts from these misconceptions are required to produce a real and long-lasting effect on the quality of education for a dyslexic.

 

Mom – My Personal Spell Checker

When I started to learn to write (in the mid 70s) there were no personal computers and no available computer word processors. As a terrible dyslexic speller, I had only one spell checker available – my mother. She was my personal spell checker.

On the one hand her processing time was quite slow, as she had great difficulty understanding my handwriting and spelling; but on the other hand her correction accuracy was quite high, as she always knew the context of what I had written, and therefore could make very educated guesses to what I intended to write.

Once my mother finished correcting my text, the paper sheet was so full of crossed out words and corrections, that I always needed to copy the text to a clean sheet of paper… which usually meant copying the text with mistakes again and going through an additional iteration with my mother… and then being requested by my mother to read out loud what was written… the process was tedious and tiring, many  times resulting in one of us losing our patience.

Years passed by, and the personal computers overtook the world. By the end of the 80’s I owned my own personal computer, and was using the word processing software WordPerfect and its spell checker. When Microsoft Word 95 added its underlining spell checker, I adopted the Microsoft’s squiggly-red spelling errors markings.

But though Microsoft’s word spell checker processing was extremely faster than my mother… the correction accuracy was quite low… Microsoft often gave me wrong suggestions… or no suggestions at all, as it simply could not decipher my spelling… as Microsoft had no understanding to the context of what I was writing about.

Microsoft Word spell checker failed to provide me the value that Mom my personal spell checker provided.  That’s why years later I founded Ghotit – the only spell checker designed for dyslexia spelling.  And Ghotit has adopted some of the same spell checking characteristics displayed by Mom my personal spell checker:

  • Ghotit boasts of context-based algorithms, understanding the intended word from the context of the written text itself
  • Ghotit is patient – supporting correction re-iterations based on additional corrections and inputs provided by the user
  • Ghotit  can be asked to read out the text out loud

PS After so many years… I believe Mom my personal spell checker has finally met her match

Ten Reasons Why It Is Difficult for a Person with Dyslexia to Spell Correctly

Spelling with dyslexia is not an easy play:

1)  It is difficult for a person with dyslexia to break words into phonemes/discrete sounds.

2)  The more phonemes/discrete sounds a word possesses, the bigger the challenge of deconstructing a word correctly to its phonemes.

3)  It is more difficult for a person with dyslexia to deconstruct the “middle” phonemes of a word, rather than the first and last phonemes.

4)  It is difficult for a person with dyslexia to associate sounds to letters that make up the sound.

5)  People with dyslexia tend to reverse letters in words (e.g. “on” instead of “no”).

6)  People with dyslexia tend to confuse letters that are visually similar (e.g. “bad” instead of “dad”).

7) People with dyslexia tend to confuse letters that sound similar. (e.g. “sity” instead of “city”).

8 ) People with dyslexia do not have strong visual memory for spelling. For example they will not be able to distinguish from memory the correct spelling of the word of “meet” versus the word “meat”.

9) People with dyslexia have difficulty to gain meaning from text.

10) Regular spell checkers are not “optimized” to understand and correct the spelling of a dyslexic.

For a solution, look at Ghotit Real Writer and Reader specifically designed for those with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia.