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October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

I’ve updated this from last year’s post:

Surprisingly, 15-20% of the population has a language-based learning disability and over 65% of those are deficits in reading. Often, these go undiagnosed, written off as “s/he doesn’t like to read”. If this sounds familiar to you, maybe before you became a writer you struggled with adopting the love of reading, check out the International Dyslexia Association’s Dyslexia Awareness Month in October.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a condition that affects people of all ages, male and female equally, and causes them to mix up letters and words they read making what for most is a joy-filled act challenging and frustrating.

“Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, that result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia often experience difficulties with both oral and written language skills. … It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed… ”

— the International Dyslexia Foundation

There is no cure for dyslexia. Individuals with this condition must instead develop coping strategies that help them work around their condition. In education, it is not uncommon to accommodate dyslexic students with special devices, additional time, varied format approaches (such as audio or video), and others. Most prominent educational testing centers (like SAT, ACT, PARC, and SBACC) make these available for most of their tests.

Resources

For individual needs such as casual reading, personal research, or anything else that requires significant amounts of reading, there is help. The IDA recommends accommodations such as:

  • variable work and test-taking settings (such as small groups, reduced distractions, and alternative furniture arrangements)
  • assistive technology (such as a calculator, text-to-speech tools, and electronic dictionaries)

Here are some of the most popular online websites, downloadable tools, and hardware that many find useful in countering the effects of dyslexia on reading:

Beeline Reader

Requires installation; available as an app or extension

Beeline Reader helps to guide readers’ eyes from the end of one line of text to the beginning of the next using a colored gradient. It is available in sixty languages.

BrowsAloud

Software

BrowsAloud software adds speech, reading, and translation facility to websites for people with not only dyslexia but other mild visual impairments. Many sites now offer this on their webpages. To see if the site you’re interested in offers it, check for the BrowsAloud logo in the corner. You’ll see it on this page in the lower right.

ChromeSpeak

Free apps/extensions

At the time of this publication, Chrome offered twelve apps and extensions for reading-challenged users. These include text-to-speech, translations, webpage readers, and more.

HumanWare

Hardwareblind computer user reading

HumanWare offers assistive technology for people who are blind or have low vision. The products include a wide range of innovative products like the BrailleNote Touch (the first Google-certified braille tablet), iOS compatible Brailliant braille displays, digital audiobook players, desktop and portable vision/reading systems, and mobile electronic handheld magnifiers.

JAWS

Software

Fee-based JAWS is one of the most popular screen readers for computer users whose vision loss prevents them from seeing screen content or navigating with a mouse. JAWS provides speech and braille output for PC-based documents in Microsoft Office, Google Docs, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Edge, and more. 

Natural reader

Web-based tool or software

Natural Reader is a text-to-speech tool that works on most document types — PDF, Word, Docs, EPub, and more. All you do is paste text into the dialogue box and the site reads it to you. There are free and fee versions, depending upon how much text you wish to be read and what additional features you’d like. For example, users can convert text to audio files, making them available anywhere.

Open Dyslexic

Free Chrome extension

Open Dyslexic is an open source font that improves readability for students with dyslexia. It actually changes the font on pages and reformats words for easier reading. Here’s what the font looks like:

Open-Dyslexic is an open sourced font created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia.

Read & Writedyslexia computer user

Chrome Extension

This free-to-teachers extension will read passages aloud to users. It also includes a dictionary, allows users to create voice notes, and can simplify and summarize text.

Snap n Read

Toolbar

Once the Snap n Read toolbar is installed onto your Chrome browser, the user selects text on a website or a document and clicks the speaker icon on the toolbar.

***

If you have dyslexia, there are tools that will facilitate reading and learning. Check out these I’ve mentioned but also do a browser search to see what else is available for your specific condition. If you have a favorite that works well in your classroom, please add it in the comment section of this post to share with others.

@DyslexiaIDA

@TextHelp

@HumanWare

@FreedomSci

@OpenDyslexic


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Winter 2022.

72 thoughts on “October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

  1. Thank you, I have dyslexia it wasn’t diagnosed until university when a fabulous professor who had confronted me about not checking my work properly was amazed when I showed the forty edits I’d done, he asked me to read one of the sentences out to him I couldn’t spot an issue and straight away he referred me, it has made things so much easier now with programs like grammarly and the coloured sheets and just using a stabilo in music scores which can merge on a complicated score. I’m grateful for the links you provided.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My husband has struggled all his life with dyslexia — he’s mechanically blessed so it hasn’t been too much of a hindrance — but what has been a game changer is the amount of audiobooks available from the library. He “reads” a couple books a week now!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I know a few authors and bloggers who are dyslexic. One blogger I followed has a Ph.D. but she said she is dyslexic. I was not aware of any students who are dyslexic though. Hopefully, it was not because we overlooked them. I just did a quick search, to my surprise, many famous people such as Albert Einstein. “As a young boy, Einstein had great difficulty with word retrieval and did not start speaking until the age of three. He also struggled to grasp foreign languages which led a teacher to predict that “nothing good” would come of him.”
    Your list of resources is excellent, Jacqui! I hope the issue gets more attention and students will get diagnosed early.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d just like to add that helping the child discover something(s) they both are good (it comes easy to them and is not so stressful) at and like to do, and making sure they have plenty of time to engage in those activities is a nice counterbalance to something they struggle with. As someone with learning differences myself, I think it’s important for the kid to have an arena where they feel comfortable in and which they feel they are good at. Like art, for example, cooking, crafts, video games…or even something simple, and also supporting the child by making sure they know they have skills and talents in other areas. (Hope this makes sense…I’m a little tired today.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My older brother has a severe case of dyslexia. He also has other handicaps. He can read a little but most times we have to read things for him. He has a sharp mind and understands all you tell him. He just can’t read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Jacqui
    The German author and Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann once said he became an author because he had quite some difficulties to write. He used to write every morning for hours and usually finnished with four to five pages perfectly written.
    Have a happy weekend
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I learned how dyslexia influences learning in the workplace. I at first gave copies of business books to my team but experienced dismal results. Then I adopted summarizing the essential points to bring the entire team up to an enhanced level of knowledge and skills. I ferreted out a book’s key message and loaded my notes into PowerPoint slides, preparing me to lead and coach during team meetings. A bit time intensive, but the process gave the team and me the win-win we needed to complete our critical projects. A few employees rewarded my coping efforts by adopting the practice and paying it forward to their teams.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: October is Dyslexia Awareness Month — WordDreams – All About Writing and more

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