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Overcoming Dyslexia Part 2

AWARENESS: Campaigners from dyslexia charity Xtraordinary People with dyslexic schoolchildren in Parliament Square

TO READ part 1 of this piece, scroll to the bottom of this article and click on the link.

Part 2:

This assessment involves a wide range of tests that enable the professional to build a detailed profile of the individual’s strengths and weaknesses. It usually last anything from one to three hours depending on how easy or difficult the person undergoing the assessment finds the activities. Often there will be a combination of picture, word and number puzzles, to test a person’s oral language, phonological skills, spelling, writing and decoding ability as well as reading fluency and comprehension. This type of assessment can provide a diagnosis of dyslexia.

When the assessment is completed, recommendations for support are then produced by the professional conducting the assessment, these are then included in a comprehensive report which will include how
best to support an individual, highlighting teaching strategies, exam access recommendations or reasonable workplace adjustments.

With that being said, there are also a range of online tools and resources available that provide a simple diagnosis based on indicators or characteristics of dyslexia. The assessment will usually be in a checklist template which participants will answer 'yes' or 'no' to. Here, questions will relate to some of the common behaviours associated with dyslexia and at the end of the test they may be given a percentage that demonstrates how mild or severe their diagnosis is.

RESOLUTE: Sir Richard Branson is dyslexic

Living with dyslexia

People who are dyslexic often have great skills in other areas, making them strong visual, creative and problem-solving individuals who often go on to become entrepreneurs, inventors, architects, engineers, artists, actors or musicians.

Those who are dyslexic often have a better sense of spatial awareness, which enhances their ability to manipulate 3D objects in their mind, allowing them to alter and create perceptions. They are highly curious individuals with a lively imagination and are known for seeing the bigger picture - often described as holistic - in comparison to getting lost in the details.

They also have the tendency to not follow the crowd and are capable of seeing things differently to others. They have ability to see how things connect to form complex systems and to identify similarities among multiple things. These skills are likely to be beneficial in fields such as science and mathematics where visual representation is key.

Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and Richard Branson were all dyslexic; it is thought that their better sense of strategic and creative thinking provided them with a real business advantage.

CONTEMPORARY GENIUS: The late Steve Jobs was dyslexic

Coping with your learning difference

Although living with dyslexia can be challenging, there are many different tactics you can use to get through everyday life. Here is a list of five you can start with.

1. Believe in yourself and your abilities

You are good enough for anything and everything you want to achieve. You have a learning difference which makes you special. Sure, it may take you a little longer to grasp concepts or read material, but do things are your own pace. The only similarity between you and the people at work or in class is that you share the same space, be it a room or office. There are so many things that make you different and that’s how it is meant to be. You are the best version of yourself so start and continue to perfect that.

2. Learn your strengths

People with dyslexia are usually more creative, out-of-the-box thinkers and excel in visual and creative arts. If these are your strengths use this to your ability. Gain experience or work in industries that use a lot of the strengths you already have. For example, industries such as science, research, marketing, sales, design, photography, athletics, music, engineering or mechanics. Often those who are dyslexic will excel in areas that are practical - don’t torment yourself by doing something that you do not enjoy.

3. Use technology

If you find reading challenging, watch videos, or listen to audio books to bring your learning to life. There are various apps or software programmes you can access online or in store to make your learning more manageable and enjoyable. Although the school system is heavily 'read and write', there are changes being made to the curriculum to make learning more appealing to students. We all have a different way of learning so make your teachers or employers aware if you don't find PowerPoint presentations stimulating. They should be able to take the feedback on board and include more interactive ways of delivering information to you in the future, or signpost you to a site or service that you can use.

4. Make planning a habit

Plan, organise and prepare what you need for your day or week in advance. As a dyslexic person you might find it hard to separate and prioritise the things you do, so you might end up leaving everything until the last minute or simply not doing them at all. Try to avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed and under pressure by making lists of actions and allocating time frames for them. When you have a clear deadline your work load become a lot easier to manage. Start with the things that you find hardest, so that you are left with the things you enjoy and can potentially do with ease.

5. Talk to family and friends

Be honest with the people close to you and I’m sure they’ll be willing to help and support you. Ask them to proof read your work or for help to organise your ideas. Whether it’s writing an academic assignment or planning a birthday party for your parents, it’s always good to have a second pair of eyes and hands to help you, especially when the small details are things you usually find difficult.

To read part 1 of this piece, click here.

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