What is dyslexia?

Just what is dyslexia? Here we give a brief overview of dyslexia as well as more academic definitions.

Dyslexia is a neurological education condition which affects an estimated 10% of the UK population. It is likely to be present at birth and to be life-long in its effects. Dyslexia is not affected or caused by intelligence and there is no cure but individuals can overcome it. Individuals with dyslexia will be affected differently but tend to have difficulties in some of the following areas:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Spelling
  • Sequencing
  • Rapid naming
  • Working memory
  • Expressing thoughts
  • Differentiating left from right
  • Orientation
  • Short term memory
  • Time management
  • Organisation

It is important to remember that many children and adults with dyslexia have strengths and talents that can be used to compensate for these difficulties. The British Dyslexia Association lists possible strengths as including:

  • Innovative thinkers
  • Excellent trouble shooters
  • Intuitive problem solving
  • Creative in many ways
  • Lateral thinkers.

Our website, dyslexic.com features a wide range of technological solutions that use these strengths to help overcome the difficulties associated with dyslexia. We offer a range of articles to help you find out more about the software and hardware tools that are available from introductory overviews to in-depth product reviews and comparisons.

Defining Dyslexia

In 2009 Sir Jim Rose’s Report on ‘Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties’ gave the following description of dyslexia.

The description of dyslexia adopted in the report is as follows:

‘Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling.

Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.

Dyslexia occurs across the range of intellectual abilities.

It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points.

Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia.

A good indication of the severity and persistence of dyslexic difficulties can be gained by examining how the individual responds or has responded to well-founded intervention.’

The British Dyslexia Association (B.D.A.) adds to the Rose Reports definition

In addition to these characteristics, the B.D.A. acknowledges the visual and auditory processing difficulties that some individuals with dyslexia can experience, and points out that dyslexic readers can show a combination of abilities and difficulties that affect the learning process.  Some also have strengths in other areas, such as design, problem solving, creative skills, interactive skills and oral skills.

Understanding the definition

The definition states that dyslexia is not due to the individual’s ability to learn and develop these skills. It is to do with the way people process information and how that affects their ability to learn. This processing difficulty can be due to a number of reasons, but it is this which causes problems with acquiring literacy skills. Most dyslexic students have been identified to have one or more of the following deficiencies in the sub-skills that are required to acquire and use adequate literacy skills:

A marked inefficiency in the working or short-term memory system

This means that a dyslexic student may have problems with the amount of information that can be held and processed in the real-time, conscious memory.

Inadequate phonological processing abilities causing problems with connecting the letter patterns with the associated sounds

This is usually due to problems with the speed with which auditory information can be processed and with accessing the memory of audio sounds to relate them to the letter pattern.

Difficulties with automaticity

This can cause problems with getting things in the right order or sequencing and may also show itself as clumsiness caused by the brain sending the wrong signals to parts of the body in the wrong order.

A range of problems connected with visual processing to do with the speed with which visual information can be processed and with accessing the memory of visual patterns

Some people use the term “visual dyslexia” to mean what we call Visual Stress.

So, dyslexia can be summarised as having problems with processing visual or auditory information; withholding that information in working memory and with kinaesthetic awareness, co-ordination and automaticity. These can affect academic progress across a variety of subjects. Their impact can be mitigated by correct teaching, strategy development and the use of information technology.

Because of these difficulties with specifically defining dyslexia, the term Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) is frequently used in the education community. SpLD refers to a difficulty that is specific to a particular area, or that affects a particular process (as distinct from a general learning difficulty, which affects the learning of many different skills). SpLD includes other learning related disabilities such as:

Dysphasia, speech and language delay and/or deficit. Dyspraxia, motor and co-ordination difficulties. Dyscalculia, difficulty with mathematical concepts, calculations and interpreting mathematical symbols. Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity (ADD/ADHD), Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and Tourette’s Syndrome.

Within the UK the term SpLD is also defined under the term SEND which doesn’t just encompass dyslexia this looks at all Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) within the education system.

Assessment and Screening

Diagnosis of dyslexia can be very difficult due to the complex nature of the condition and the co-occurring impacts of other conditions within dyslexia. We can look at different steps to identify through either screening or assessment to determine the condition. Screening or checklists are used as early identifiers of dyslexia. These cannot be used as a definitive identification but can be used to identify specific traits within the condition to help understand the ability of the individual and give indications of weakness. A full diagnostic assessment can only be carried out by a specialist dyslexia teacher which holds an AMBDA qualification (Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association) and/or an APC (Assessment Practising Certificate) or an Educational Psychologist with HCPC registration who can use a battery of assessments to ascertain and diagnose dyslexia.

Win With Dyslexia Webinar

Introducing

Win With Dyslexia 

Join us for a Free Live Webinar hosted by iansyst

Wednesday 17th May 2017 11:00 – 12:00

  • A New e-learning Platform
  • Video based training and skills development specifically designed for those with Dyslexia
  • Full suite of complimentary resources

Demonstration and Q&A with Ms. Nicola James, Chartered Occ. Psych. and CEO of Lexxic Ltd.

Reserve your FREE Space Now!

#WinWithDyslexia E-Learning Courses Launch

Elearning Courses for Dyslexics

Elearning Courses for Dyslexics

We’re pleased to announce a new suite of e-learning courses, designed for dyslexics and available on dyslexic.com.

The new courses focus on teaching strategies for dyslexics and on developing skillsets with the aim of helping users to achieve goals in work, education and at home. Developed by Lexxic experts, these courses offer a training resource with a new level of support and expanded topics.

The courses follow a new approach, introducing the stories of dyslexic people in everyday situations as they take you on a journey of skillset development.

Read more about our e-learning courses here: www.dyslexic.com/product-category/training/

Win with Dyslexia Competition #WinWithDyslexia

In celebration of the launch of these fantastic e-learning courses, we’re running a #WinWithDyslexia competition with some amazing prizes up for grabs!

The winner with the best story will receive a swanky iPad as well as access to the new e-learning courses. We will also be choosing 3 too-close-to-call runners-up stories and they’ll also get access to the iLexxic courses.

We’re asking dyslexics to share with us their inspirational stories of overcoming challenges. Nicola James, Founder of Lexxic, shared her personal story with us as an example:

“My name is Nicola James. My story and the story of Lexxic begins a few years ago with me struggling to deal with the challenges of my own dyslexia. My dyslexia was picked up quite late. I was already at college and I was questioning very much my abilities, doubting myself and feeling uncertain about the future.

My diagnosis was a turning point. It meant I could understand better the difficulties I’d been experiencing and it meant I could get the support I really needed. I didn’t realise at the time but it set my life on a different course. The support I received was so helpful to me in my work and studies. I decided to dedicate my career to helping other people like myself so that they could also overcome their difficulties and have successful careers and more fulfilling lives.

I gained my qualifications in psychology and I set up my own company for this purpose. We began by doing assessments and offering support for people with conditions like dyslexia. And now, a few years on we’re growing and thriving and we’re launching iLexxic, an exciting new online training resource.”

If you’ve got a motivational story that you’d like to share with others, let us know in the form on our competition page. We’re not looking for an essay, simply 200 words outlining your story. We recommend thinking about your journey and letting us know:

• The challenges
• How you faced difficulties or doubts
• Your successes and new possibilities

Enter online here: 

www.dyslexic.com/competition

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology (APPGAT) launch

Launching APPGAT

Assistive Technology Policy Group

This week, we were invited to enjoy the sublime Speaker’s House in the Palace of Westminster for the celebration of The All Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology (APPGAT) launch.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology has been set up to disseminate knowledge, generate debate and facilitate engagement on assistive technology amongst Members of both Houses of Parliament.

 

 

Guests were welcomed by the current Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow MP at this important event. Bercow discussed his major review of services for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and his report (The Bercow Report), published in 2008. The newest review (Bercow: Ten Years On) is being researched by I CAN and the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists (RCSLT).

Speeches

Seema Malhotra MP, the nominated Chair for the APPGAT continued the welcome and highlighted the opportunities to the UK economy as a result of new disability employment, discussing the need to close the employment gap and create greater access in society as well as in the workplace.

There was an aspirational video, showcasing the benefits of assistive technology and a speech by Hannah Rose, a young assistive technology user, who highlighted the life changing importance of assistive technologies.

Lord Holmes of Richmond MBE, Britain’s celebrated Paralympic swimmer, followed on to discuss the empowering nature of assistive technologies in his journey through life. There are millions of similar examples of how assistive tech is transformational, he continued, not as a solution but as an enabler alongside everything else.

Leonard Cheshire spoke next and reflected on the extraordinary attitudinal changes to disability over the last 25 years and highlighted that there still remains a significant and unnecessary employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people.

The APPG AT will occupy an important space in the dialogue about employment and disability policy, more so now given the rapid pace of technological change. The first workstream for the APPG AT will be focused around addressing the disability employment gap. This is not only good for individuals but for the workforce as a whole.

Finally Becky Foreman, the UK Corporate Affairs Director for Microsoft (event sponsors) concluded the talks with a short speech on Microsoft’s mission to empower every human being and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.

What next?

Find out what happens at The All Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology via its website and on Twitter (@AT_APPG) – follow the hash tag  .

ClaroRead 7.1 Released

ClaroRead 7.1 Released on Dyslexic.com

This week, Claro Software are pushing out a minor update to their text-to-speech software, ClaroRead. It is a point update with some simple improvements to make servicing the software easier, to extend speech, and make a lot of small technical improvements.

ClaroRead Version 7.1

What is included in the update?

The update to version 7.1 includes a range of new features and technical changes to ClaroRead. A scan-from-screen tool has been integrated into ClaroRead Standard. This was a feature that was previously limited to Plus and Pro, and allows you to scan an inaccessible part of a webpage or document and paste the text into another application. The text can then be read aloud by pressing the play button on the toolbar. This feature can be quickly launched using the key combination Ctrl + Shift + S. The update also allows you to install up to eighty additional voices covering 30 languages via the Claro Voice Setup program.

A wide range of technical changes and fixes have been made in this update. Details of this can be found on the Version 7.1 Release Notes web page.

How do I update my current version of ClaroRead?

To update to version 7.1, you will need to login at ClaroRead Cloud. From there you will be able to update your software to the new version.

For any more information about the minor update that has been released, please comment below.

Accessible editions of ‘Cursed Child’ published for dyslexic and blind readers

Harry Potter Dyslexia Edition

We’re really excited to let you know that the RNIB have added ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two’ to the RNIB Library in both Braille and Giant Print. It’s a great milestone for people with sight loss as it will allow them to read the latest Harry Potter story at that same time as everyone else. RNIB have also announced that they will be releasing a Talking Book version very soon. You can find out more about the accessible editions of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two’ by following this link to the RNIB website.

Accessible edition of Cursed Child for dyslexia and sight loss

Another publisher has also announced that they will be publishing a dyslexia-friendly edition of the book in September. This will be published using specialist fonts and paper based on research from the British Dyslexia Association and University of South Wales.

To find out more about ordering your accessible copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two’, please follow this link to read the full story on The Bookseller.

Latest Assistive Technology Products: August 2016

Screenshot from CapturaTalk iOS

As we come closer to August, we here at dyslexic.com wanted to take a look at the latest assistive technology products which have been released this month. New additions for August updates to Spellex Dictation Gold and Ghotit Real Writer & Reader software. This month’s blog is a good one as we will take a look at the newest technology which will be available for teachers and students to use in the new school term.

As always, we encourage you to sign up to our newsletter to ensure you don’t miss next month’s item. Please follow this link to sign up to the dyslexic.com newsletter. Plus, when you sign up you will receive a 10% off coupon code to use on dyslexic.com!

 

Latest Assistive Technology Software

 

·        Ghotit Real Writer & Reader

This month, Ghotit released a brand new version of Ghotit Real Writer & Reader which has some new and exciting features that have been added in. The software includes patented technology to help people with dyslexia and dysgraphia to overcome many of the common issues faced whilst writing text. New features include the integration of a context-sensitive and phonetic spell checker, speech feedback, reading assistance with dual highlighting and a screenshot reader to read aloud any text from images and inaccessible documents.

Assistive Technology to cope with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia

·        Spellex Dictation Gold

This month, Spellex released an update to their vocabulary software, Spellex Dictation Gold. The software works with speech recognition programs such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking or Microsoft, and provides specialised vocabularies for subjects such as medicine, law, veterinary medicine and bioscientific/engineering. Please contact us by emailing ecommerce@dyslexic.com if you would like to upgrade your software to the latest version.

New features include an enhanced dictionary and spellchecker which features complex terminology. This allows you to dictate your ideas without errors or disruption. It has also integrated the ‘Spellex Suite’ which gives quick definitions for over 550,000 words, human voice word pronunciations and a handy thesaurus to help improve writing. The final new feature added to Spellex Dictation Gold is the inclusion of DysLex™ font, a dyslexia friendly font, which helps to reduce jumbling letters and eases frustration when reading.

 

Latest Assistive Technology Apps

 

·Screenshot from CapturaTalk iOS        CapturaTalk

This month, iansyst have released a brand new update to the literacy support and accessibility app, CapturaTalk. This update has integrated lots of new and improved features. For current users of CapturaTalk, your app will automatically update via the App Store. If you are not a current user, you can download CapturaTalk by following this link to the App Store or Google Play.

CapturaTalk is an app for iOS and Android devices which allows you to transform your smartphone or tablet into a truly accessible device and access content independently in a way that suits you. It’s a great app for those with dyslexia or visual impairments as it includes features such as text-to-speech technology, optical character recognition technology and personalisation features such as tinted overlays.

 

·        Windows 10

Windows have also released an impressive accessibility update this month to celebrate Windows 10 reaching its 1st Birthday. The update aims to make Windows 10 more accessible to support the 1 billion+ disabled users across the globe. Improvements have been made to the screen reading feature, apps such as Cortana and Microsoft Edge have been made more accessible, and tools have been introduced to make accessibility easier for developers. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is scheduled to be rolled out to users on 2nd August. Please follow this link to find out more about the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

Ghotit Version 5 Software to Support Dyslexia

Ghotit Real Writer and Reader 5

This month, we have launched Ghotit Real Writer & Reader 5 on dyslexic.com – a brand new version of the reading and writing software which supports individuals with dyslexia, dysgraphia and other learning disabilities. If you would like to find out more about the software and how it could help you, please comment on our blog below!

 

What is Ghotit Real Writer and Reader?

Ghotit LogoGhotit Real Writer and Reader is assistive technology software that helps people overcome many of the common issues that are faced whilst writing text. It includes patented technology which provides the most appropriate corrections for spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes by looking at the intended meaning of the piece of text.

 

What new features does version 5 bring?

The brand new version of Ghotit Real Writer and Reader brings a wealth of new features to help those with dyslexia to read and write:

  • Quick-spell word prediction with instant correction
  • Context-sensitive and phonetic spell checker to correct words such as ‘notest’ to ‘noticed’
  • Advanced grammar and punctuation corrector
  • Effective proof-reader
  • Speech feedback
  • Integrated English dictionary which supports US, UK, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and South African English
  • Reading assistance with dual highlighting
  • Screenshot reader to read aloud any text on the screen to read text from images, locked PDF files and inaccessible documents
  • Word banks for word prediction based on different topics
  • Integration with all text editing applications
  • Standalone “Dyslexia Text Editor”

 

How does the software support dyslexic people?

The software is a great tool for those with dyslexia as it tackles many of the common problems that they may face whilst writing. This includes difficulties with reading, writing, spelling, proofing and accessing documents in different formats.

 

You can purchase the new software online by following this link to Ghotit Real Writer and Reader 5 on dyslexic.com.

Jelly Bean Twist Switch

Switches offer an alternative way of controlling a computer. The Jelly Bean Twist offers a 65mm activation surface with tactile and auditory feedback and interchangeable red, yellow, green and blue switch tops. The Jelly Bean Twist offers the original Jelly Bean’s 6.35 cm (2.5-inch) activation surface with tactile and auditory feedback, but with a twist. Your style can change, so should your switch. Now, you can change the colour of your switch top based on visibility, mood, style, or even social setting. It’s all up to your own style, tastes, or specific vision.

The Jelly Bean Twist switches come with switch tops included.

jellybtwist-1_jbt500

 

Who uses switches?

People who find it difficult to access the keyboard and the mouse can use a single switch or a combination of switches instead. Switches can help people with a variety of different physical disabilities, from mild conditions like RSI to complete paralysis. They are also suitable for people with severe learning difficulties as they are a simple, understandable method of accessing a computer.

All AbleNet switches are designed to provide tactile and audible feedback to the user, activate no matter where they are pressed, they are also equipped with a 2m cord using 3.5mm monoplug which is all supplied with a life time warranty.  The diameter for each switch is 6.35cm and the pressure needed to activate the switch is 56.7g making it easy for a child or adult to use.

Follow this link to find out more about the Jelly Bean Twist Switch.

 

Monster 2 Keyboard

Monster 2 Keyboard

What Is Monster 2 Keyboard?

The Monster 2 Keyboard is ideal for young children and is the perfect entry into computing. Made in 2011 at a Weight of 1.0000g this device features large, oversized keys grouped in different colours, which helps alleviate the eye strain associated with using a computer keyboard. There is also a high-visibility model, with large black legends against a bright yellow background, and a high-contrast model with large black legends on a high-contrast white background.

Monster 2 Keyboard

Who can Monster 2 Keyboard help?

The Monster 2 Keyboard from Accuratus is designed specifically for children who are just starting to use computers and keyboards and it aims to help assist learning, with having an easy to remember colour-coordination system. With large key caps the Accuratus Monster 2 is also ideal for users who suffer from MS (Multiple sclerosis) and Parkinson’s disease. The Keyboard is also spill resistant which makes is perfect for people that find they are prone to the occasional spill. Plug and Play technology means that you can simply start typing straight away without any difficult and time consuming installation process.

 

Different features of the product.

There are many different features of the Monster 2 Keyboard, for example the USB interface, Large 1 inch square keys at 24mm. The device has two port USB 2.0 in the rear, a detachable wrist pad for comfortable typing and is the same size as a normal conventional keyboard. Within the design itself the Monster 2 Keyboard has spill holes in the base of the keyboard so that any small spillages can escape without any damage to key keyboard itself. The dimensions of this product are 465 x 180 x 27mm (L x W x H) being a starter keyboard it is rather light (770g) and has a cable length of 1.5M.

 

Find out more by following this link to the Monster 2 Keyboard on Dyslexic.com.