How the Workplace Can Adjust for Individuals with Dyslexia

dyslexia in the workplace

We are on day four of Dyslexia Awareness Week in conjunction with the British Dyslexic Association (BDA)!

There have been some really inspiring stories, such as teenager Jack Harley-Walsh who, after being faced many obstacles with his dyslexia, has started his dream course at university. It’s great to see so many uplifting experiences being shared, as these stories are a reminder that with the right support and equipment, individuals with the condition can adapt well to the classroom and the workplace.

Helping Each Person Adjust

Since the 2010 equality act, it’s the law to ensure that employees with dyslexia are not discriminated against and that workplaces are able to provide reasonable changes to ensure they offer a dyslexic-friendly environment. It’s important to note that when making changes in the workplace that each individual is assessed so their severity levels can be determined.

There are many solutions that can benefit employees with dyslexia in the workplace such as:

  • Installing a dyslexic friendly font onto the individual’s computer, as it enhances readability
  • Providing digital recording devices that can help with the individual’s note-taking skills, such as Sonoscent Audio Notetaker
  • Mind mapping software, which offers the individual a framework for thinking, fleshing out ideas and constructing presentations
  • Text to speech software that allows web pages, word documents and PDFs be read aloud to the employee
  • Ensuring that any documentation for meetings is given to the individual beforehand, so they can have time to process and prepare
  • Visual stress software, such as ClaroView, which amongst many things allows the user to change the screen colour and offers a screen ruler for tracking

dyslexia in the workplaceIf you have dyslexia, it can also help if you discuss it with your work colleagues (if you want to, of course), as some people may not fully understand the condition. By doing this, it helps your colleagues with how they can support you so you can master every task.

Even better, iansyst run dyslexia awareness sessions for the workplace, which will place your colleagues into the shoes of someone who has the condition and really get to understand the everyday challenges of dyslexia.

At iansyst, we are continually offering new software and solutions that can help with dyslexia, whether in the workplace or classroom. We provide assistive technology that can offer reading, writing and spelling support, plus a range of hardware such as scanning pens, digital recorders and headsets that can increase productivity.

If you have any questions about our assistive technology or training sessions, please ring on 01223 420 101.

How Can Teachers Support Dyslexic Students?

dyslexia support

To continue our support for the British Dyslexic Association’s (BDA) Dyslexia Awareness Week, we want to look at how teachers can help their students who are affected by the condition.  When it comes to diagnosing dyslexia, teachers can be critical to this process as they are more likely to spot early signs of dyslexia in children.

Since there are 1.2 million children in the UK who have dyslexia, it’s integral that teachers have the knowledge to support students who are affected and help them develop coping strategies, so they can reach their full potential.

Offering Dyslexia Support

Dyslexia affects each person differently, so it’s important that teachers use a range of different methods to help with each student’s performance.

dyslexic support When planning a lesson, take into account that each exercise contains instructions that are straight to the point and omits any unnecessary detail and words.  Keep to simple, clear sentences and make sure the layout is straight forward so it’s easier for the student to follow.

By inserting diagrams and images into your exercises, this makes it easier for students to understand the instructions, especially if they don’t know every word. Again, spacing out instructions and making sure the text is broken up can help relieve eye strain and increase readability.

Try and insert different background colours and fonts, which can give weight to the text and ensure that it’s visually easier for the student to digest. At iansyst, we offer a selection of products that helps relieve visual stress, such as colour overlays that aids with the student’s reading fluency and duration.

It’s also important to look out for areas where students with dyslexia thrive. Understandably, dyslexia can affect self-esteem and is sometimes thought of as being a disadvantage in the workplace and classroom, so it’s especially important to encourage their strengths. It has been observed that children with dyslexia are creative, have strong reasoning and problem solving skills and are great team players.

If you wish to learn more on how you can help your students who are affected by the condition, we have a range of assistive technology that offers dyslexia support such as our text-to-speech software such as ClaroRead and our Texthelp Read and Write.

For more information on our products, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team on 01223 420101.

 

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.

#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

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.

Latest Assistive Technology July 2016

Latest Assistive Technology: Updates to Sonocent Recorder App

Assistive technology is a broad term to describe assistive, adaptive and rehabilitative software, hardware and apps to support people with disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and much more. Each month, we take a look at the latest assistive technology that has been released and sum this up in a bite size blog on dyslexic.com. We are very excited about this month’s latest assistive technology as the new Dyscalculia Screener launches, as well as updates released for the Sonocent Recorder app.

 

Latest Assistive Technology Software, Hardware and Apps

 

This summer, iansyst and Loughborough University will be launching a new and refreshed version of the Dyscalculia Screener. It was originally launched in the early 2000’s and was the first web-based screener for dyscalculia. The screener has been designed to screen both large groups and individuals who are struggling with maths. It features a series of mathematical questions that have been developed through extensive research. The screening process generally takes less than an hour to complete and gives an indication as to whether the individual is ‘at risk’ of dyscalculia.

Image of the Dyscalculia Screener logo

The Dyscalculia Screener is launching in summer 2016 and can be purchased as a single or multi-user licence. It will be available to purchase after the launch by following this link to the Dyscalculia Screener website >> www.dyscalculia-screener.co.uk

 

Latest Assistive Technology: Updates to Sonocent Recorder AppSonocent Recorder is a smart note-taking app which has been designed for use with Sonocent Audio Notetaker. The app was originally launched back in 2014 and allows you to create comprehensive recordings of lessons, meetings or interviews on your smartphone or tablet. It is primarily designed to support those with dyslexia, however the productivity benefits of the app means that it can be beneficial to anyone in a meeting environment. This month we have seen some exciting new features added to the app.  Existing users of Sonocent Recorder will receive a notification about the updates from their mobile device. If you are not a current user, Sonocent Recorder is free to download on the App Store or Google Play.

New features include noise cancellation on audio, the ability to add your own coloured keys for audio highlighting, ‘glance mode’ to record and highlight discreetly, and the ability to browse and upload photos to your file even when not recording. The app also includes an in-app upgrade which allows you to listen back to full recordings and add colour highlighting audio chunks and sections on review.

 

Texthelp Read&Write is a popular piece of literacy support software which helps those with dyslexia with reading and writing. Read&Write is a simple and easy-to-use toolbar which provides speech feedback, phonetic spellchecking and many other literacy support tools.  The software has recently moved to a new version (version 11.5) which contains brand new features which have fully optimised the software to benefit the user even further.

Read & Write Gold 11.5 has had a redesign of the product logo and toolbar icons which makes the software much easier to navigate. The Vocabulary feature has been introduced to create word lists associated with particular words, for example, volcano, lava and erupt. Other features have been enhanced within the software. The phonetic spell checker now includes the use of collocation and the word prediction tool includes over 150 topic word banks.

Read&Write literacy support software can be downloaded by following this link to Texthelp Read&Write products.

 

Please comment below to let us know what latest assistive technology products you are excited about this month.

Dyslexia, Moving Letters, and a Local Chip Shop!

Image of a local chip shop demonstrating dyslexia and moving letters

Thank you to Martin who sent this photo in to dyslexic.com of his local ‘chippy’ – he begged the question as to whether this is a dyslexics worst nightmare or a dream come true. Would a simple play on words like changing ‘Fish and Chips’ to ‘Chish and Fips’ help someone with dyslexia tackle the problems of moving letters?

Image of a local chip shop demonstrating dyslexia and moving letters

Symptoms of Dyslexia

It is estimated that 1 in 10 people of all ages, races, backgrounds and abilities are dyslexic. Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty which tends to affect reading and writing, spelling, expressing ideas, organisation, time management and more. You can find out more about dyslexia in a previous blog post on dyslexic.com as part of Dyslexia Awareness Week: What is Dyslexia and where can I find support?

 

Moving Letters

As part of the reading difficulties associated with dyslexia, many people may experience visual stress. This can include seeing letters which move or look like they are back to front, causing issues with letters such as ‘d’, ‘p’ or ‘q. In some cases, visual stress can cause significant problems with reading.

Earlier this year, Victor Widell developed an online simulation using code to demonstrate what a dyslexic reader may experience. Take a look by following this link to see what it may be like to read with dyslexia. It’s important to note that not every person with dyslexia will experience this difficulty and some people may not find that letters move at all when they read.

 

What Assistive Technology Can Help With Moving Letters?

Colour plays a major part when looking to reduce the effects of visual stress. Using coloured paper such as Irlen Pukka Pads or applying Irlen Coloured Overlays over printed text often help dyslexics with visual stress. The choice of text colour used on a white background can also affect visual stress. On Dyslexic.com, we have advanced accessibility options which allow you to change both the text and background colour on our website to one that helps you with reading. (To access this, please follow the ‘Accessibility’ link at the top of the page)

 

Do you think the name of this chip shop would help you read the shop sign? Or would it make it more difficult. It’s all down to your individual preferences so there is no right or wrong answer – please comment below to let us know what you think.