Every person with Dyslexia is different, with different strengths and weaknesses.
One of my strengths is reading but writing is definitely my weakness, especially the spelling and grammar side of things (you should see how many red squiggly lines come up under words before I correct them all when writing a blog).
So here are something that have helped me, that might help you or your children or people you teach.
1. Predictive text on a cell phone.
I get instant feedback on a device I use everyday on my spelling. Predictive text makes me change the way I spell a word until I get it correct. This means I am actively engaging my brain into finding the correct spelling. Occasionally it drives me mad because I can’t get it right enough for the correct word to come up and I have to ask someone to spell it for me. But its not as often any more.
2. Learning to type (or write) fast enough that I can get my ideas down before they escape from my head.
One of the things I struggle with is that I can come up with a good idea in a well worded way, but I often can’t keep it in my head in that order with all the words long enough to get it onto paper (Often when I was doing group work I would have a good idea or way of writing something say it to the group but when asked to repeat it I couldn’t recall it). I also don’t care too much about spelling or punctuation until I have finished, its just another thing that slows me down and can always be fixed afterwards.
3. Being able to use a computer to do my work.
Sounds really obvious in this day and age but it really helps. Not only does it have a spell check (which I know isn’t fool proof, but makes a huge difference when you really suck at spelling). But I can rearrange my work using copy and paste once I have written it, without having to re write it all. Because one of the other things I find really difficult sometimes is ordering things. The other morning I was about to get on my bike to go to work (I was quite tired) and I was looking down at my hat. scarf, gloves, coat, bike lights (which I attach onto my coat) and reflective gear trying to work out what order I need to put them on in to make it all work. This is a task I do everyday and still occasionally muddle it up badly.
4. Read! Find stuff out
Read blogs, books, magazines etc about grammar. Only now are some of the rules that have puzzled me for years falling into place. Learn about phonics – I am currently teaching children about vowel sound blends, something I was never taught as a child but makes some words so much easier to spell. There is so much information out there, and so much of it sitting in your computer (as long as you have the Internet) If you find reading difficult get one of those programs that read the pages for you, I’m pretty sure some are free.
5. Keep trying even when its hard.
Keep practising! One of the reasons I started this blog was to help me improve my writing, spelling and grammar. I’m pretty sure it is working, it has made me more aware of what I do and more interested in trying to change it. My friends are used to me chatting online with bad spelling, mixed up words and no punctuation so for quite a while I made no effort to change what I was doing. Writing for an audience who cares about such things and doesn’t know me means I try and make my work as clear and easy to read as possible (not quite sure I always succeed but bonus points for trying?).
5 the world is your puzzle.
Enjoy the fact you think differently, come up with crazy and zany ways to remember things, use patterns to help you, use your whole body to help you. If you ask me for a phone number, code, or any string of numbers that I use often, watch my hands often I will act out typing the numbers in, or tap them in a rhythm. If I read you out a number I don’t know well I break it down into groups of 2, often covering up the other numbers so I can’t switch them around. Ask me anything to do with left or right and I will look at my hands trying to work out which one makes an L (note this is not the best way to teach a dyslexic child which way is which, it took me years to work which of the Ls was backwards and which was forwards and even sometimes now I struggle to tell).
But most of all, have fun and enjoy being you!
What helps you over come things that you struggle with? What is it you try to improve yourself?
On a side note I do love that the word blog comes up with a red squiggly line underneath it on here. A website designed for blogging has it spell checker think that its spelt wrong.