Dyslexia is a learning disability characterized by difficulties with reading and writing composition, as well as high levels of creativity and ‘big picture’ thinking. Coping with dyslexia can be challenging, but it is possible. With the right attitude, strategies, tools, and support you can not only cope with dyslexia, but have a successful and productive life.
The exact causes of dyslexia are still not clear, but anatomical and brain imagery studies show differences in the way the brain of a dyslexic person develops and functions. Moreover, most people with dyslexia have been found to have problems with identifying the separate speech sounds within a word and learning how letters represent those sounds, a key factor in their reading difficulties.
Dyslexia is not due to lack of intelligence or desire to learn; dyslexics can successfully learn if the appropriate teaching methods are put in place.
Dyslexics have many strengths: oral skills, comprehension, good visual spatial awareness/artistic abilities. More and more dyslexic children could become talented and gifted members of our schools if we worked not only with their specific areas of difficulty, but also their specific areas of strengths from an early age. To do this we have to let go of outmoded viewpoints that a dyslexic child must first fail, in order to be identified.
Coping with Dyslexia
Use a calendar to organize your events, deadlines and outings. One of the best ways for people with dyslexia to get organized is to simply use a calendar. It could be a large wall calendar, a pocket journal, or an app, using a calendar helps you remember important deadlines and dates as well as use your time efficiently. Don’t just mark the date something is due, also mark the date you need to start, as well as any checkpoints in-between.
Plan your day and schedule your activities using lists, reminders, Dictaphones etc. Planning your day with lists can help you use your time more efficiently. Making lists helps you be more organized and reduces the number of things you have to remember, which can free your mind to focus on tasks that require more concentrated attention.
Prioritize your tasks so that you can make the best use of your time. Think about which tasks are urgent, important, or unavoidable as well as which tasks will be time-intensive for you. Make lists of things you need to do, remember, keep with you, pick up, etc. Remember to refer to your lists throughout the day.
Believe in yourself first, then use your other support systems like your family and friends. You need to know that you are not slow or unintelligent. You are gifted, creative, and think outside the box. Figure out what your strengths are and use them. Whether it’s your sense of humor, optimism, or artistic mind, draw on these things whenever you are feeling frustrated.
Make use of technological devices and softwares. There are a number of different assistive devices and technology designed specifically to make life easier for people with dyslexia. Making use of them allows you to be more independent.
- Smartphones and tablets are great for their calendar functions, reminders, alarms, and more.
- Use online spell-checkers when writing.
- Try Audiobooks, text-to-speech programs and apps, or scanners that read text aloud from hard copy materials.
Go to a professional. Speech therapists, reading specialists, and other educational and speech professionals have specific skills and training to address dyslexia. There are also a number of online forums, support groups, and programs to assist people coping with dyslexia. Don’t be ashamed to use these valuable resources.
Consulting with others in this area can also introduce you to more effective strategies for coping with dyslexia
Watch The Big Picture when you get frustrated. This movie highlights uplifting stories from dyslexics who’ve gone on to greatness like Sir Richard Branson and Charles Schwab.
Get Essentials of Dyslexia Assessment and Intervention by Nancy Mather and Barbara J. Wendling, which is an absolute must have resource for the bookshelves of dyslexics. It’s an in-depth look at the gift of dyslexia with a wealth of effective, well-researched treatment options for you or your child.