Overcome Dyslexia with Modern Technology

By Melody Cleo

Dyslexia is a medical term that implies that the affected person is unable to read, spell, write or speak properly. It is a condition in which the normal day to day functioning ability of an individual is hampered due to dyslexic tendencies and is caused when the brain is impaired in a way that it is unable to transmit images into languages that are understandable. It is a common perception that dyslexia is similar to retardation of brain or low intelligence quotient, but researches over the years have shown that it is just caused by learning and reading disability and has little to do with individual intelligence.

Causes of Dyslexia:

There are three reasons that might cause Dyslexia in a person. Let us go through them one by one:

· It can be caused due to trauma that affects the brain and hampers the ability to read and learn.

· Dysfunction of the cerebral cortex on the brains’ left side may lead to dyslexia

· Dyslexia may also be a reason of hormonal development that crops up at the time of birth, but ceases with age. This particular type of dyslexia is more common among boys than in girls.

Dyslexia can be recognized among children at an early age. Their inability to learn, read, speak or write may not necessarily be a reason to worry, but it is always advisable to consult a doctor.

Overcoming Dyslexia with modern technology:

Gone are the days when dyslexic people were made to do sky contact and then undergo therapy. In the current scenario, modern technology has started playing a major role in treating dyslexia. With modern infrastructure, hi-fi technology and a need for newer and more efficient treatments, some of the technologies used are:

· Various audio devices are constantly used to let patients hear the content and then retain it. Tape recorders, mobile phones, camcorders and other such devices are being utilized to record voice and then are repeated so that dyslexic patients can retain them in their mind.

· Mind exercises, especially devised for dyslexic patients can be played on computers and laptops. This gives the opportunity to think and retain various thoughts. Various reading games can hone the reading skills as well.

· Electronic dictionaries that are voice enabled are extremely helpful since one can listen to end number of words, learn their pronunciation as well as meanings and learn their synonym and antonym words at the same time.

· Various spelling and grammar tools are out in the market that require an active internet connection and can easily correct any wrong grammar or spelling.

· There are many text to speech converting software programs available on the internet that can read texts of various formats n the computer and then change it to audio files. These programs are specifically made keeping the needs of dyslexic patients in mind and hence they have great sound quality.

These are just some of the modern technologies that have been put to use to pave a way for better treatment of Dyslexia. In the time to come, science is expecting even more development in the field of technology for the same purpose.

 

Melody Cleo is a passionate blogger from Manchester, UK. In is free time, she writes articles on various topics such as technology, gadgets, travel…Etc. As of now she is focusing on sky contact number, which provides information regarding broadband services, radio services and television services.

Connection Between Dyslexia and ADHD

By Tammy Mahan

Approximately 60 to 100 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD also have two or more other related conditions and one of the most notable conditions is dyslexia.

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health,” dyslexia is a learning disability that can hinder a person’s ability to read, write, spell, and sometimes speak. Dyslexia is the most common learning disability in children and persists throughout life. The severity of dyslexia can vary from mild to severe.”

Often time’s doctors miss the signs of dyslexia in children with ADHD because the signs and symptoms are similar in many aspects of both conditions.

Dyslexia is a condition in which the brain cannot translate images such as letters and numbers. The brain transposes the letters so a child with dyslexia may see the word winter as “inwter” this obviously causes problems with reading and comprehension.  The same thing is true for math, if a child is given the following math problem 345 + 821 they may see it as 435+ 128 and of course, their answer is going to be incorrect because the numbers they are adding together is not the correct set of numbers.

Some children have difficulty speaking because what they hear is not what is being said. Children learn to talk by hearing words and sentences and eventually they learn what the word means and repeat it. Such as young children who are just starting to learn to talk, if they hear “Mommy loves you” every night before bed and then they are given a hug or kiss they will eventually realize that “Mommy” is the person talking to them and putting them to bed so they will start to say part of the word such as “mama” and then “mommy.”

Children who have dyslexia often hear more of a mumbling instead of clear words. Therefore, it takes them longer to learn to talk and they usually will pronounce the words incorrectly such as “ommy” instead of “mommy.” Depending on the severity of the speech disability, they may need speech therapy to learn to talk.

So, what is the connection between dyslexia and ADHD? Scientists have done genetic testing on children with ADHD and found that dyslexia and ADHD share the same genetic background.  Both conditions also have been found to share some of the same chromosome differences making the two conditions more likely to accompany each other.  In other words if a child is diagnosed with either ADHD or dyslexia there is a very good chance the child has both conditions and should be tested for the condition that has not already been diagnosed.

While children who have ADHD without dyslexia still have learning disabilities, when you toss the dyslexia in to the mix, it makes the learning disabilities even more severe. Not only does the child have a learning disability but also they are faced with moderate to severe cases of loss of concentration and an inability to focus on anything for more than a few minutes and sometimes only seconds.

Children who fall into the ADHD/ dyslexia category cannot generally be taught by the traditional means used in the school systems. Luckily, there are special tools called motor sensory tools that are very beneficial in helping children with ADHD and dyslexia learn to read, write and do math problems.

 

Tammy Mahan has worked in the healthcare field for over 20 years. In her free time, she enjoys writing articles for Healthline.com.

I have looked for new research for the connection between Dyslexia and ADHD and was unable to find any new explanations to the statistics.

Taking Apple’s Macintosh to the Next Level in Literacy and Learning for Dyslexics

Apple is a company has positioned itself as a company committed to providing solutions for people with disabilities, offering innovative solutions in the area of accessibility.

Over the year Apple’s computer Macintosh has invested in delivering a set of built-in features focused in assisting the learning disabled. These features include:

–          Advanced text to speech: Mac is equipped with Text-to-Speech (TTS) technology that can read aloud a selection of text or an entire document. Mac TTS includes various male and female voices.

–          Word completion feature: After typing a few characters, a user can access a list of words beginning with those characters.

–          Built-in Spelling and Grammar Checking: Every Mac provides students with the benefits of resources such as the New Oxford American Dictionary, Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, Apple Dictionary, Wikipedia, scientific reference materials, and grammar and pronunciation guides.

Ghotit has recently released the Real-Writer Pro for Macintosh. This solution takes Macintosh dyslexic users to the next level in assistive writing solutions. The Ghotit solution for Macintosh has incorporated and optimized Macintosh’s core services for a solution dedicated for dyslexics. The Ghotit solution includes the following optimized features:

–          Severe spelling error correction: based on advanced context spell checking algorithms, the context of the sentence is analyze to determine the correctly spelled word.

–          Misused, confused word correction: Without appropriate context knowledge, the spell checker does not have any information to provide for a misused word, and will leave such words as unmarked. Ghotit context spell checking algorithms have been targeted to effectively identify misused words.

–          Grammar checker: Ghotit performs grammar and punctuation corrections. The corrections are performed using both grammar rules definitions and contextual spell checking algorithms.

–          Split & merge word correction: Many times users accidentally or not knowingly split words (e.g. “birth day” instead of “birthday”) or merge words (“oneday” instead of “one day”). Ghotit detects these errors and makes the appropriate suggestions.

–          Intelligent word prediction: Ghotit helps a user in his writing by “predicting” a word the user intended to type. Predictions are based on spelling, context, grammar syntax, and frequently/recently used words.

–          Text to Speech: Ghotit leverages Macintosh’s built-in text-to-speech feature to enable dyslexic users to have their written text read out loud. This way, users with dyslexia can act as their own gatekeepers to ensure that what they have written is exactly what they intended to communicate.

For more information go to: https://www.ghotit.com/dyslexia-software-demo-for-mac/

Diagnosing Dyslexia

The earlier a child with dyslexia is diagnosed, the more effective his/her treatment could be.

Identifying dyslexia

In practice, identifying dyslexia in younger children can be very difficult for both parents and teachers because the signs and symptoms are often subtle. However, early continuing difficulties with differentiating sounds, particularly at the beginning or end of a word, can be a sign of possible difficulties in the future.

Many children, including younger children, also develop ways to compensate for their dyslexia, such as relying on their long-term memory more than usual or by ‘picturing’ the whole word.

Signs and symptoms of dyslexia you need to be looking for:

  1. Directional confusion- for example, writing 69 instead of 96
  2. Sequencing difficulties- for example, reading the letters in a word in a wrong sequence
  3. Difficulties with small words- for example, replacing “a” for “and”
  4. Late talking
  5. Difficulties with handwriting

This is a partial list of dyslexia signs. In any case you think there is a problem with your child,  take him/her to a professional diagnostics.

Famous Adults with Learning Disabilities.

Nelson Rockefeller – at the age of 9 he did not know the letters of the alphabet.

He was thought of as dull and backward.  He entered Davidson College, but he had to withdraw because of illness.  Later he went to Princeton, but his grades were mediocre.

Thomas Edison – His head was large at birth.  His mother did not agree with those who felt that the child was abnormal. He was sent to school, but the teacher thought him to be mentally ill.

The mother withdrew the child from school and taught him herself.

As it turned out, he might have done well in vocational education.

Frank W. Woolworth – was labeled slow as a child.  He clerked in a village grocery store.

He suggested putting slow-merchandise on a counter and selling it at a reduced rate.  It turned out to be an excellent idea.

Greg Luganis – had extreme difficulty in reading; some people used to say that he was clumsy.

He has been high up in his field for many years.  Because of his background, he might be labeled both learning disabled and disadvantaged.

George Patton – When he was twelve years old, he could not read, and he remained deficient in reading all his life.  However, he could memorize entire lectures, which was how he got through school.  That never stopped him from marching ahead.

Walt Disney – as a child he was slow in school work.  About the only thing this apparently right-brained individual had gone for him was his vivid imagination, which used to bother his teachers, especially when he doodled.

Winston Churchill – failed grade eight, did terrible in math, and generally hated school.  Still, he was upset by people who were “inebriated by the exuberance of their own verbosity”.

Woodrow Wilson –  had great difficulty in reading; in fact, throughout his life, he was unable to read well.  Despite this, he was extremely successful in politics.

Albert Einstein – did not learn to read until he was nine.  His teachers considered him mentally slow, unsociable and a dreamer.  He failed the entrance examinations to college but finally passed them after an additional year of preparation.  He lost three teaching positions and then became a patent clerk.

Hans Christian Anderson – had difficulty in reading and writing, but for years people have cherished his wonderful stories, all of which had to be dictated to a scribe.

Tom Cruise – despite being a success in his chosen field, this entertainer can learn lines only by listening to a tape.  He is formally diagnosed dyslexic.

Agatha Christie – had a learning disability called dysgraphia, which prevented any understood or legible written work.  As a result, all material had to be dictated to a typist/transcriptionist.
 

Dysgraphia Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms to dysgraphia are often overlooked or attributed to the student being lazy, unmotivated, not caring, or having delayed visual-motor processing.

To diagnose Dysgraphia, one must have more than one of the following symptoms:

  1. Cramping of fingers while writing short entries
  2. Odd wrist, arm, body, or paper orientations such as creating an L-shape with your arm
  3. Excessive erasures
  4. Mixed upper case and lower case letters
  5. Inconsistent form and size of letters, or unfinished letters
  6. Misuse of lines and margins
  7. Inefficient speed of copying
  8. Inattentiveness over details when writing
  9. Frequent need of verbal cues
  10. Referring heavily on vision to write
  11. Poor legibility
  12. Handwriting abilities that may interfere with spelling and written composition
  13. Having a hard time translating ideas to writing, sometimes using the wrong words altogether
  14. May feel pain while writing

It’s very difficult to Diagnose Dysgraphia; therefore, parents and educators need to be aware of Dysgraphia signs and symptoms and ask for professional diagnostics. Different types of dysgraphia require different approaches to their treatment; please, look at our blog devoted to Dysgraphia Types and Treatments.
 

Dyslexia Friendly Schools

“If a child does not learn in the way in which we teach then we must teach him in the way in which he learns. Let dyslexia be looked at from a different angle, not as a learning disability but a different learning ability.”  (Pollack, J.,Waller)

Dyslexia friendly schools are schools that recognize a specific learning difficulty as a learning difference. These schools make an effort to include and support dyslexic students. These schools recognize that a dyslexic student learns in a different manner, and places an effort in empowering the child to deal with his writing difficulties. In non-friendly dyslexia schools, dyslexic children are seen as having something “wrong” that requires special treatment.

A dyslexia friendly school invests in educating their staff regarding on how to identify a dyslexic child’s specific learning challenges, and how to empower such a child with a learning environment supportive of his learning capabilities. The staff is guided to demonstrate sensitivity to the emotional state and self-esteem of the dyslexic student. For example, if a dyslexic child demonstrates confidence in his oral capabilities, the teacher is guided to provide the dyslexic child opportunities to regularly demonstrate this strength. If a dyslexic child begins to fall behind, then the teacher is guided to recommend special tutoring to minimize the learning gap.

A dyslexia friendly school also invests in building a close channel of communication with the child’s parents, actively communicating to them the progress and difficulties encountered by the child. The staff guides the parents regarding how to receive additional support and help.

In a dyslexia friendly school, teachers are guided to adopt a set of practices that if observed on a regular basis will alleviate the day-to-day struggle of the dyslexia child. These include:

  • Always write things on the board early, as dyslexic are slower in copying assignments to their notebooks. This problem becomes more severe if the student is under stress.
  • Make sure the student was successful in copying all his assignments to his notebook.
  • Don’t force the student to read out loud, unless you are sure that he wants to.
  • Place the student near the front and next to a good sitting student “neighbor”, so that distractions are reduced to a minimum.
  • Allow and encourage dyslexic students to use computers, so that their can correct their writing with advanced writing assistive programs (such as Ghotit)
  • Make sure that the dyslexic student understands what his is reading. Constant discussion of the meaning of the text is important, and should be performed regularly.
  • If required give the dyslexic child additional exam time, as dyslexic children tend to read and write more slowly than their peers.
  • … And most importantly, never laugh at the mistakes of a dyslexic child, or allow other students to do so. On the contrary, make an effort to praise their efforts and successes.

Comments with additional recommendations for a dyslexic friendly school would be appreciated …

Are Certain Jobs Particularly Suited to Dyslexics?

My dyslexic librarian – are certain jobs particularly suited to dyslexics or is their jobs for dyslexics?

Despite being a dyslexia specialist, even I was surprised when my local librarian told me she was dyslexic. As my mother said “I bet she left that off her application form”.  Being dyslexic definitely makes me a better tutor; I imagine it makes her a more knowledgeable and sensitive librarian.  I was just a little shocked, which made me realise that deep down I’m still a bit insecure about my own dyslexia.  I personally know lots of teachers who are closet dyslexics, but dare we tell anyone?

Society seems to be content with the notion that the creativity of many dyslexics leads them to become successful artists, musicians, actors, designers and filmmakers.  We also find it understandable that many seek fulfilment far from the world of books, a few becoming elite athletes, famous sports people or military heroes.   With bullying rife, maybe we can all identify with fellow dyslexic Mohammed Ali sometimes.   However, not all children are destined for physical or artistic excellence.

Lots of people talk about dyslexia as a gift, but do many people honestly believe this?  I think that one of the biggest difficulties facing dyslexics is nothing to do with reading, writing or memory, but instead low expectations.  If the 2003 Tulip Financial Research findings are accurate that 40% of self-made millionaires are dyslexic, then low expectations may be ill-founded.  The ability to see the big picture and come up with innovative solutions to problems has produced billionaires like Richard Branson and a string of powerful U.S. presidents.

If you have this dyslexic mind, do particular doors open and others clang shut?  Maybe.  Because of their lateral thinking and spatial awareness, one famous practice of architects actually prefers to employ dyslexics.  Should we all be architects?  My drawing skills aren’t going to feed my cat, let alone me.

Whilst most dyslexics find school challenging and often are happier later in life when they can pursue the things they are good at, there are always exceptions.  Counter-intuitively, it’s possible to find famous dyslexic role models in heavily paper-based careers like the law or that require many years of arduous study, such as doctors.

If you imagine one of the few careers you’d never get dyslexics in would be writing, guess again!  Whether you’re more interested in the critical acclaim of WB Yeats, or the wealth of Agatha Christie, I guess the lesson is not to write people off.  With the right help in the right ways, dyslexia doesn’t have to stop you achieving your dreams, whatever they are, and it might even be a benefit!

Some food for thought: if the rumours of a possible cure for dyslexia become a reality, should we want it?  Would the world be a better place without the achievements  of Leonardo da Vinci, the films of Walt Disney, the stories of Hans Christian Anderson, the music of Lennon or Mozart, the art of Picasso, the buildings of Lord Rogers, the discoveries of Thomas Edison, the victory of Winston Churchill, or the genius of Albert Einstein?

Dyslexia Help @ Work

Ghotit host from time to time guest blog posts about dyslexia.

The writers of these posts may be dyslexics, dyslexic family members, dyslexic tutors, teachers, assistive technology specialists or any other writer as long as the post provides quality information about dyslexia.

This hosted post by The Tutor Pages.

Originally this blog was posted in 2012 since then potentially employers started to look how a candidate look in the social network and that can be a real problem to many people with dyslexia.

A personal note: always try to be creative, think out of the box and look at Ghotit’s Software and Apps designed to help dyslexics.

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.