Ghotit Dyslexia App for Windows 10S Is in Windows Store.

Finally, it is coming…

Windows 10S, the streamlined version of Windows for education, makes its way to schools being:

– Budget friendly with laptops priced starting from $189;

– Secure where all software is coming only from Microsoft Windows Store;

– Controlled system with all software installed only by admins;

– Energy efficient saving battery and allowing a full school day for the laptops.

 

When it comes to the pupils and students with dyslexia and dysgraphia, remind to their teachers that those children need assistive software, and Ghotit App is already ready in Microsoft Windows Store.

Ghotit Real Writer and Reader App in Windows Store is the result of the joined work of Microsoft Bridge and Ghotit R&D teams and includes all features of the Ghotit Standard Desktop software combined with the known security and efficiency of Windows Store Apps.

 

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

Many students with learning difficulties have difficulty attending to the sounds and oral language patterns within words. This ability is called phonological awareness. In the early years of schooling, students may show difficulties in:

  • Detecting and creating rhyming words
  • Breaking words into syllables
  • Identifying the phonemes (individual sounds) at the beginning and end of words
  • Isolating, deleting and substituting phonemes within words.

Frequently, older students with dyslexia also demonstrate difficulties in some of these more complex phonological processes (especially in accurate and efficient phoneme identification and manipulation).

The ability to work with syllables, and to blend and segment phonemes in words, is critical to the development of good reading and spelling skills. Students need to learn that the sounds they are making when they speak relate directly to the letters they use when reading and writing. Essentially, we blend to read and we segment to spell.

Phoneme blending requires listening to a sequence of separately spoken sounds and combining them to form a recognisable word, for example, the sounds /sh/ /o/ /p/ form the word shop. Phoneme segmentation requires breaking a word into its sounds by tapping out or counting the sounds, for example, “How many phonemes in block?” (four: /b/ /l/ /o/ /ck/).

Dyslexics Deserve Extra Exam Time – Part 2

A few years back, I wrote a blog No Ifs or Buts – Dyslexics Deserve Extra Exam Time claiming that there is no question about it – dyslexics deserve extra exam time.

As my kids grow, I hear many discussions regarding the fairness and the pros/cons of providing extra exam time.

My view is simple: if a kid needs the extra time to succeed than we as parents must do all we can to enable them this extra time. It is important for a child to grow with the feeling of success, and though grades are not everything they do provide our children a scale to judge their success.

Other parents may claim that this is not fair. That some parents/kids abuse this benefit. But as parents of dyslexic children, this is not our concern. We must make sure that our smart and talented kids will succeed despite their reading and writing difficulties.

 

The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity

We would like to commend the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity.

The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity “You are not alone” message:

So, 1 in 5 people have dyslexia. It crosses racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines. You are part of a community of successful people who overcame dyslexia.

Dyslexia Declaration of Rights for Yale students:

1)    Accurate Diagnosis:  Dyslexia students and or dysgraphia students (those who have a suspected area of disability) are entitled to an assessment, regardless of whether they are in a public, private, or charter school.

2)    Use the Word Dyslexia: Schools must use the word “dyslexia” so that proper diagnosis and evidence-based instruction and intervention can be applied.

3)    Evidence-based Instructions: All students deserve to have a written plan of action from the school specifying the evidence-based intervention, frequency, and measurable objectives. The plan must be a consensus between parents and teachers

4)    Accommodations: Accommodations must be provided to ensure that the students’ abilities, not their disabilities, are being assessed. Examples: extra time on tests, speech-to-text or text-to-speech technology, foreign language waiver or alternative.

5)    Dyslexia-Friendly Environment: A supportive environment that promotes educational and professional progress must be provided to enable dyslexic individuals to flourish to their full potential.

Ghotit commends Yale and wishes other educational institutions to adopt Yale’s level of commitment to dyslexic student body.

For more info on Yale Dyslexia & Creativity forum

Communication in a Mobile World for people with Dyslexia

A lot has changed in the way we communicate. We have become the always-on generation.

Smartphones and tablets have changed the way we do business. Smartphones and tablets allow employees to be more responsive and provide immediate service.

Smartphones and tablets are today part of any educational setting, starting from elementary school all the way to college.

Today, if you are a person with dyslexia or dysgraphia, it is not enough to have assistant technology installed on your Windows or Macintosh laptop. In todays’ always-on connected world, you will often need to answer an immediate email or post on a social media directly from your Android smartphone or tablet.

If you are one of those “always on” people, then you need a writing assistive technology that will be available for you from any of your devices.

Ghotit offers an “Always on” solution. The “Always on” solution enables you to utilize Ghotit advanced writing algorithms from either your Windows or Macintosh laptop or desktop and then enjoy these same capabilities from any of your Android devices.

Ghotit Assistive Technology

Ghotit Real Writer & Reader software includes advanced writing and reading assistive technologies tailor-made for people with dyslexia and dysgraphia:

• Context and phonetic spell checker
• Grammar and punctuation checker
• Proofreader
• Reader that can read out any document
• Word prediction, contextual & phonetic
• Integrated word dictionary US, UK, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and South African dictionaries

Ashton Kutcher & Dyslexia?

So you are probably asking, what, is Ashton Kutcher a dyslexic? Is he too a member of the long list of famous celebrities with dyslexia? (e.g. Tom Cruise, Whoopi Goldberg, Ted Turner, Cher etc.) … The answer is NO.
I recently viewed the speech that Ashton Kutcher gave in Teen Choice Awards of 2013:

So what does Ashton’s inspiring speech have to do with Dyslexia?
The speech promoted 3 main points, all 100% applicable for people with dyslexia:
– “Opportunity looks a lot like hard work” –this is true to the general population, but even more so to dyslexics. To succeed, dyslexics need to work extra hard to find their opportunities for success.
– “The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful. And being generous” – Dyslexics usually have an above average IQ. Use these smarts to succeed and become a sexy dyslexic.
– “ Everything around us that we call life was made up by people that are no smarter than you. And you can build your own thing, you can build your own life that other people can live in.” – Dyslexics are usually creative. They won’t necessarily succeed in a 9-to-5 office job. But they can leverage their creativity to build their own unique business and life…

Thanks Ashton for a great speech.

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.

 

Labeled as a Person with Dyslexia

I recently read an interesting article called “A rose is a rose is a flower” (http://www.thehindu.com/arts/magazine/article881892.ece). The article discusses the pros and cons of being labeled as a dyslexic.

The “pros” – in many cases the diagnosis of being dyslexic, provides the reasoning of why an intelligent adult or child is under-performing in school or in work. Suddenly behavior, that seemed inexplicable to an employer or parent not familiar with dyslexia, is explained. Not only that, once diagnosed correctly the appropriate instruction and assistive technology may be implemented to assist the person with dyslexia.

The “cons” – the dyslexia label brings the disability into focus, also at times when it is not necessary to highlight the disability. As quoted from the article “a person with a label has to be extremely mindful of ‘minor failings’ as all his behavior is perceived through the lens of his disability.” Giving people one-dimensional labels may result in disregarding personal differences and strengths. “While we readily accept that ‘normal’ kids can be quite different in terms of their personalities, preferences and proclivities, we tend to assume that all children with a particular clinical tag (e.g. dyslexia) are alike.”

Do the pros overcome cons in dyslexic labeling?

Well, in my opinion, it depends on the situation. In a supportive school environment, where the main objective is to improve the learning abilities of a dyslexic, it should be beneficial to be classified as dyslexic. In such an environment, the school, together with the support of the parents, will work out the best program and learning environment offered by the school to the dyslexic student.

However, in a work environment, where the main objective is to optimize the productivity of the employee, being classified as a dyslexic may be harmful. The main objective of a modern workplace is not to optimize the work environment of a dyslexic person, but rather to ensure that the person filing a given position is providing maximum value. In such environments, being categorized as dyslexic may not benefit the person with dyslexia; rather this categorization may result in unnecessary discrimination against the person with dyslexia.

Bottom line

I think that at the bottom line it is up to the dyslexic/ dyslexic parent to assess if it is advantageous or disadvantageous to be categorized as a dyslexic. If it is advantageous, then sure, let the word out, and try to maximize the benefits of being labeled with dyslexia. However, if it is not, and you feel that being categorized as dyslexic may be used against you, then withholding the fact that you are dyslexic should be the right way to go.

Does High Education Pay Off for People with Dyslexia?

Studies show that education pays off in terms of employment and earnings.

Here is a study produced by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics that clearly demonstrates that a higher education, on average, pays off:

The graph above demonstrates that there is a strong positive correlation between education and income; and a strong negative correlation between education and unemployment. In order words, a person with a higher education, on average, will have higher earnings, and less probability to be unemployed then a person with a lower education. The statistics displayed above are true, on average, for the entire population.

However, do these same statistics apply for people with dyslexia?
I believe not…

I remember reading in the past a UK study that claimed that the gap of unemployment between a person with dyslexia and without dyslexia rises with increased education (sorry – could not find the link of the study – if anyone can help let me know). In many ways these findings make sense. Dyslexics receive support from their families and teachers and government aid during their school years, to ensure their academic success. But, once they leave the school gates, they are usually left alone with their reading and writing disability.

In many countries there is already a high awareness to learning disabilities and dyslexia, with government aid being offered (e.g. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)). These government intervention projects provide proactive aid to dyslexic students to graduate from high schools and universities. However, there is minimal or no official support offered to graduating dyslexics, promoting those same people who were aided in schools, to obtain and maintain a job.

This information presents a real challenge for educators and decision makers. In order to help people with dyslexia to succeed in life, on one hand education assistance is required. But on the other hand proactive aid should be offered assisting a dyslexic to obtain and maintain a job.

Only then can education really pay off for dyslexics too.

Would love to get your inputs…