Albert Einstein Interviewed about Dyslexia

The following is an interview performed by Ofer Chermesh, the founder of Ghotit, the leading writing and reading assistive technology for dyslexics, and Mr. Albert Einstein that suffers from learning disability like many other famous people, the man synonymous with the word GENIUS and the world’s most famous dyslexic. All of Mr. Albert Einstein texts are exact quotes.

Ofer: Thank you, Mr. Albert Einstein, for joining this interview. And thank you also very much for being a dyslexic genius. One of the major misconceptions that people have is that people with dyslexia have a lower intelligence. That is ridiculous of course…

Mr. Albert Einstein: “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe”.

Ofer: Your son Hans Einstein has be quoted as saying that your “ teachers reported that . . . you were mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in his foolish dreams”. How do you describe your experiences at school and with your teachers?

Mr. Albert Einstein: “Most teachers waste their time by asking questions which are intended to discover what a pupil does not know. Whereas the true art of questioning has for its purpose to discover what the pupil knows or is capable of knowing”.

Ofer: Any insights for dyslexics who are struggling with their studies at school?

Mr. Albert Einstein: “Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school”. “The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

Ofer: You know, Ghotit, the company I have founded offers a unique spelling and grammar checker. It offers a solution that I as a heavy dyslexic have been dreaming about my whole life. What guidance can you provide for Ghotit?

Mr. Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

Ofer: Developing an intelligent spell checker that offers word suggestions based on the context of the sentence has taken a longer time then expected?

Mr. Albert Einstein: “When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it’s longer than any hour. That’s relativity!”

Ofer: So what do you see in the future of Ghotit?

Mr. Albert Einstein: “I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.”

Ofer: Any business recommendations for Ghotit?

Mr. Albert Einstein: “Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value.”

Ofer: Any final words?

Mr. Albert Einstein: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”.

* Nobody really knows if Einstein was indeed dyslexic.

Since we published this blog, we have learned about its popularity. I wonder why so many dyslexics look with admiration at Einstein?

I believe that the following solution would have been appealing to Mr. Albert  Einstein.

 

Understanding how dyslexics write

 

Ghotit iPad Apps Bundle – Dyslexia and Dysgraphia App Kit

Ghotit offers two iPad dedicated apps for dyslexia and dysgraphia:

We keep receiving many questions on the difference between these two applications. Most inquiries are as follows, “My son/daughter/etc. is a dyslexic. Which tool fits him/her best, Ghotit Real Writer or Dyslexia Keyboard?”

Both apps use Ghotit’s core high-tech assistive technology features such as Ghotit Text Correction, Ghotit Quick Spell Word-Prediction, Ghotit Talking Dictionary etc., and both are recommended by Michigan University / Understood.

Ghotit Real Writer (“Dyslexia Editor”) is a text editor. It provides simple word-processing functions applying the same set of assistive features as Dyslexia Keyboard. Ghotit Real Writer has the benefits of an attention concentrating environment. It is particularly helpful and recommended for children and adults with severe dyslexia/dysgraphia.

Dyslexia Keyboard was created for the more advanced users, for those who mastered the basic skills needed for routine use of Ghotit Real Writer. When the initial barrier of using an editor is acquired and those experiencing a dyslexia/dysgraphia disability have gained enough confidence, they may start writing directly to browsers, Pages, Office, social networks, etc. This is the context where Dyslexia Keyboard comes to help.

Thus, the correct answer to the question about the most appropriate Ghotit app is: “You need both: One app for the start and the other for the days to come.”

That’s why Ghotit just debuted a bundle of Ghotit Apps for iPad containing both apps for a reduced price.

The bundle is available from iTunes

 

Dyslexia and Google Docs

With the increase in the number of schools and colleges using Google Docs web-based application, it becomes critical to ask the following question, “What is the impact of this shift on pupils and students with dyslexia and/or dysgraphia?”

The question could be further narrowed, “What impact does this move from the use of MS-Word have on the ability of a dyslexic student to read/write/edit/dictate text documents?”
 
For making basic editing tasks and creating good looking rich-text documents, Google Docs has a very simple and clear interface. There are many good fonts, including Serif family fonts, and font color as well as background color could be easily adapted. When a user enables Screen Reader in Accessibility Preferences of the user’s Google Account Preferences, several screenshot readers (e.g. ChromeVox) are available. Screenshot Readers are available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc., but these browser-dependent addins provide different sets of features and qualities.

Another accessibility related option is, however available, the use of a generic Screenshot Reader working with any application on screen. For example, Ghotit Screenshot Reader is a valuable example coming as a part of the Ghotit Real Writer & Reader software.
 
Texts should preferably be formatted and adapted to each student’s individual needs. Documents should take a visually comfortable size, fonts and colors. It could be much easier to comprehend a text if a Read Aloud option is also available. All these reading facilitators are absent when the document is provided in a read-only format, without editing privileges, or when a student is hesitant about making changes to an original document. Ghotit Reader solves this problem by importing the selected text into its own window where student can change the fonts, adapt the foreground and background colors and read it aloud with dual highlighting.

For students without learning disabilities, writing in Google Docs is a smooth experience. However, since many students with dyslexia and dysgraphia are slow typists and need Word-Prediction, using Google Docs AS IS could be a frustrating experience. Google Docs does not offer a Word-Prediction option (while an Autocomplete option is available in MS-Word). Ghotit’s Quick-Spell Word Prediction is specifically designed for those with dyslexia and dysgraphia and predicts text with instant correction by doing that in Ghotit’s Dyslexia Editor.
 

A great feature of Google Docs is Voice Typing. Student can dictate a text of a reasonable quality and format it by Voice Typing Commands. (This feature is only available in Chrome browser). Normally, microphones of smartphones and tablets are appropriate for dictation, whereas laptops and desktops require a purchase of an external high-quality dictation microphone. Dictation comes nowadays also as a platform feature of Mac (Siri), iOS, Windows and Android. Thus, there is a choice between these two good dictation options, Google Docs Voice Typing or platform-specific dictation, and there is no need to spend money on extra dictation software packages.

Text created by Word-Prediction or Dictation is supposed to be free of misspelled words, but it still comes with confused words, homophones, grammar and punctuation errors. When students write directly to a Google Docs document, misspellings are inevitable. Google Docs is doing a great job of flagging misspelled words as well as some confused words and grammar errors with a level of text correction being good enough for a non-dyslexic user. This service is far from sufficiency, though, for students with dyslexia and dysgraphia, and this is where Ghotit Real Writer & Reader comes to deliver the solution for the students by solving most complex cases.

In conclusion: Overall, Google Docs is a welcomed step forward towards simplicity in creating text documents and through its embedded assistive technology. When equipped with an appropriate and individually tailor-made additional assistive technology, Google Docs could make a positive impact on success of pupils and students with dyslexia and dysgraphia in educational systems.
Ghotit Editor for Google Docs provides full writing, reading and text correction support for those with dyslexia/dysgraphia (for example, see writing with Word-Prediction a Google Doc as a part of the product presentation video at Ghotit Home Page).

Dyslexic Summer Break

Finally, the summer vacation is here and if you are a parent to a child who suffers from dyslexia, you might have a break from your routine, day-to-day helping chores .
Can you expect to accomplish Paul McCartney’s Summer’s Day Song?

Someone’s sleeping
Through a bad dream
Tomorrow it will be over
For the world will soon be waking
To the summer’s day

I doubt it.

I really don’t know what’s the best way you, a parent to a dyslexic child, should choose for the Summer vacation. If you do know the answer, please share it with us. The only thing I do know is that you should opt for a balance, on the one hand, not to let hard work altogether, but, on the other hand, letting your child enjoy vacation. We all need some rest, but as is the case with dyslexic children, we can’t allow ourselves the leisure of a total vacation.

We all know that dyslexia is not like pimples where there is a chance that your child will start next year without them. Your child will suffer from dyslexia next year and helping him or her is, unfortunately, a multi-year cruise.

How to Overcome Dyslexia !!!

Many blogs offer ways “how to overcome dyslexia”.  As a dyslexic, I don’t really believe that overcoming dyslexia is possible, and therefore, I don’t think the question “how to overcome dyslexia”  is an effective way of phrasing this question.

 

Instead, I recommend approaching dyslexia in a more realistic way. Switching from the unrealistic target of the deficiency abolition, curing this learning disability, we should develop compensation tools to ease the implications of dyslexia, leading our way to make the most of the insights and virtues associated with dyslexia.

 

We live in an open, almost borderless age, technology is making huge steps to help us, the dyslexics, providing tools to overcome the problems of writing and reading. The post-modern phrasing tends to be become shorter than ever, twitting instead of expanding, letting us, the dyslectics find our equitable integration in human interaction.

 

Today’s world is friendlier than ever, widely accepting and integrating people with dyslexia.

 

This is my feeling, and what about your, what do you think?

Signs of reading and writing disabilities

  • Making frequent mistakes when reading
  • Guessing
  • Struggling with reading words
  • Reading very slowly
  • Reading and training has little effect
  • Reading monotonically and technically
  • Continuing to read words re-appearing in the text as if one has not read the word before
  • The development goes very slowly or stagnates
  • Difficulties understanding words, sentences, content and relationships in the text.

When reading unfamiliar texts signs become particularly apparent

  • Struggling with writing single words
  • Making many mistakes in writing
  • Writing slowly
  • Writing unclear
  • Writings briefly
  • Difficulties with starting to write
  • Not knowing what to write
  • Not being able to find words
  • Combining letters in one sentence the wrong way
  • Difficulties in predisposing, structuring and presenting the material
  • Difficulties in writing in a way that enables the reader to understand messages and connections within the text with ease.

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.

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.

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.