As you may of guessed already I suffer from Dyslexia (I don’t think you need to be a rocket scientist to of worked that out) and because it’s been hard for me throughout life as it was not noticed till I was quite old I’m finding myself watching my son like a hawk to see if he is showing signs of being dyslexic.
My son (Zack) is a bit over 3 years old now and I keep watching and asking him questions in case he is dyslexic so I can catch it as soon as possible, of course with him being so young I’m being stupid but I would hate for him to suffer as I have / did / still do.
I don’t have any issues if my son is dyslexic as I would of course make sure he got the help he needed but perhaps I’m jumping the gun a little as we ‘study’ together from time to time as I would love for him to have a head start just in case.
So I was wondering what is a good age to really start and push study / education to a child? I’m picking as many of the fun topics I can with Zack. As a young boy he’s of course interested in Thomas the tank Engine which of course is a steam train. Picking up that he’s perhaps a little too obsessed with this we took it just that little bit further and bought a book which explains (in a simple way) how a steam engine actually works.
So by reading this to him and explaining how the water heats up, produces steam which drives the pistons Zack now knows all this and it’s committed to his memory.
I’ve also started on our solar system, this may sound a bit over the top but I’m starting simple. You can see from the picture I printed out a picture of the planets (and the sun) and put them on the wall so he can go and look at them all the time. I picked the solar system because he showed an interest in this as I’ve been working on it for some of my OU modules (I didn’t pick the solar system at random).
Some people seem a little surprised at the work as it’s no doubt something you would not really expect a 3 year old to be learning but thus far everything is going very well. I never tell him we are going to study it’s always Zack who starts talking about the trains / planets and hopefully in a couple more weeks he will know the full order of the planets and we can move on to something else he finds interesting.
I don’t believe I’m pushing him but I am explaining everything to him on a level he should probably not really understand but i think this is due to the overcompensating I’m doing as I’m worried he will be dyslexic.
So over the past few months I’ve been trying to do a OU degree in Natural Science but it’s getting to that point where I’m ready to stop trying. Like many things trying to learn for a dyslexic is hard at the best of time but trying to do this without having a tutor at the other end of the room talking to you is becoming difficult.
It seem that for my dyslexia I need that human contact in order to learn (or to at least to ask those questions where I can’t find the answer myself). As the course is progressing and the work becomes more difficult just reading the work, doing questions and tasks is not working that well for me.
When I was stuck on balancing chemical equations I ended up turning to Youtube and watching a small clip which worked very well for me. After watching the video I ‘got it’ however there is not a Youtube for all the problems which means I’ll have to use another method for a walk around.
I do of course have a tutor who I can e-mail but, as you may know it can be difficult to get a ‘point’ across so it will take a few e-mails to get the answers I’m looking for. I could also phone her but I’ve not really had much of a chance because of the real world but it’s getting to that point where I may have to make time or my work is going to suffer.
So what is next… Well if I want to carry on doing the course I will as always have to come up with a workaround! It seems that if you are dyslexic you generally have to come up with different methods to combat the short falls and this will be something you will have to do all the time.
It’s been a while since I last posted which is mainly down to being very busy!
I’m still doing my Natural Science degree with the good old OU but I also started a course (10 week course) with Sunderland College. The course is ‘An introduction to forensic science’ which does tie in a little to the degree but not as much as I thought. It does mean though that because I’m doing this I tend to have double home work each week which, as you may guess is becoming difficult to try and get everything done in the correct amount of time!
The OU course is slowly coming along but regardless of how much time I’m putting in I keep falling behind. It’s not just the reading aspect that slows me down it’s also the learning part. I’ve been finding that just reading some text, answering some questions on said text does not mean I’m learning.
I’ve started having to contact my tutor a little more often to try and help which is starting to help a bit more. The problem I’ve been facing is that I sometimes just ‘don’t get’ what the book is saying and without having a tutor sitting there whom I could ask I was starting to struggle. As the book is of course fixed I’ve been finding it easier to ask my tutor for her view / explanation of what the book is saying. This is allowing me to have 2 points of view on the subject which is helping to fully understand what is actually happening.
For me, getting two points of view on a subject allows me to put together what it all means and to hopefully fully understand what I was reading to begin with. Also, as a side note, I’m asking real people that know / teach what I’m learning rather than seeking out the information online. The main reason is the information you will come across online (yes even Wikipedia) is incorrect so I would be learning incorrect information at times which of course would lead me to having the wrong understanding on a subject.
In a nut shell: if you are studying a subject and you just can’t ‘get it’ – ask someone who knows and if that does not work… ask again and ask them to explain it differently!
I’ve been doing a course at the OU (Open University) now for a couple of months and it’s a introduction to Science which will hopefully lead on to a science degree. The course (being a introduction) has not been too difficult at the moment but I did run in to problems due to being dyslexic.
As it’s part of the OU I don’t have any lectures so I’m never actually talking to a teacher about the work. This didn’t cause to many problems until I got to chemical equations.
I’ve never had a problem with maths as such but I can’t remember doing any chemical equations so when I started on these I began to struggle. I had read, re-read and read again the chapters about chemical equations but I just could not figure it out. I went back to the OU site and looked about for further help.
On the OU site we have some forums which are specific to our course. I soon noticed I was not the only one struggling and there was a few posts explaining about how to tackle / solve chemical equations and more specifically how to balance the equations.
Again though I thought I had ‘cracked’ it but it turns out I had not. As a few days passed I did start to worry but I came across a post from the teacher in charge of this module and he had linked to some other sites explaining how to balance chemical equations. Reading them didn’t help but there was also a link to a YouTube clip.
I watched the clip which was or course someone talking about the equations and how to balance them and after I had finished I could do them.
What I noticed was in order to learn the new maths I actually needed someone to ‘talk’ and explain how to solve the problem rather than trying to read this from a book. It of course makes sense because of the fact I don’t process words when reading the ‘normal’ way.
I would not recommend just going right to YouTube to try and learn something new unless you know it’s correct in the first instance, as the link was from a lecturer from the course I presumed / guessed he had already watched the video and decided it was correct and worth linking to.
If anyone is interested in how to balance chemical equations then clip below is what I watched and what helpped me understand this.
As many people now work on computers whether it is for work, study or just for fun you will have to type and spell which as we know by now is not the best thing in the world for a Dyslexic person to do.
There is are various types of software which you can by these days though which can help, one of which is Dragon Naturally Speaking which is a voice recognition program. The whole idea is once setup, you can just talk in to a microphone and the software translates your voice / words in to text and types this out for you. This means (if it works correctly) that is does not matter if you can or cannot spell the word as the computer will know how to.
So the question is, will this work?
Rather than typing this I am sitting here talking to the microphone whilst I am talking I am watching the words appear as I say them, this means that no matter which word I want to display I don’t have to worry about spelling for example ‘environment’ ‘laryngitis’
the software is not perfect as it will sometimes write the incorrect word. The software is capable of learning your voice which will allow for less mistakes to be made so at time you will be sent back and simply talk to your computer whilst it types everything you say.
Although I have been talking and software is doing a very good job I still have to go back every now and then and correct the errors that sometimes appear however it is saving me a lot of time and of course I do not have to worry about my spelling errors.
I think if you want to use the software to its full potential it will take time to get used to talking rather than typing I am also finding that trying to construct sentences is a lot slower than typing as I have two think of the words or sentence and when I am speaking am trying to talk as clearly as possible so that a few mistakes are made.
I would guess that using the software more often it would become a lot more natural but like everything it just takes time.
If you read the above you can see there are still some mistakes (I didn’t fully edit the text to be ‘perfect’), I did have to change a few words, one of which being ‘word’ which when I kept saying this it kept writing ‘mood’ for some reason.
Although not perfect the software will / can save you a lot of time as while you are talking you simply watch the text appear as you go and if you spot a mistake, stop talking, correct said mistake and carry on.
Over the years I’ve managed to over come many areas of my my inability to read, write and spell but I’ve always either had help or I’ve managed to find a sensible (perhaps even clever) solution. Even starting this entry in the blog caused some problems.
I know there is ‘effect’ and ‘affect’ – they sound the same but I know they need to be used in different contexts. The first thing I did was Google the words to see if I could work out the difference. Although there are many pages I still don’t actually know whether ‘effected’ was the correct version to use. Reading the pages they started to talk about verbs and nouns and to this day I still do not fully understand this.
Growing up not knowing whether I was / wasn’t dyslexic meant I had to find a work around for a lot of things other wise I would basically get embarrassed and generally feel low if people noticed the errors.
Filling in forms was a common fun area I had to deal with. General forms which require your name and address were easy enough as those would be committed to memory ergo I would not have to actually spell the word(s) I would just have to recall them from memory and write them down.
If a form actually asked for information not committed to memory I would of course struggle.
If for example I wanted to write: “I’m very competent when using a Personal Computer”
I would actually write: “I’m very good at using a PC”
Of course the above was not something I think I ever wrote but it gives you an idea of how I would work around not being able to spell. We are lucky enough that within the English language a specific sentence can normally be written in a variety of ways which would allow me to use the work around to still write what I wanted to say, it would just not be as eloquent as I would of liked.
Of course this is just 1 example of how a person with dyslexia may work around a specific problem. I’m lucky enough that I’ve not had a problem taking / constructing sentences (I’m quite articulate when talking) my main problem is trying to express what I want to say written down.
Hi and welcome to my first post on dyslexia diary.
Dyslexia Diary is my own real world account of what it’s like to be a 30 (ish) year old man who has Dyslexia and the challenges I face almost everyday at home and at work and the ways I’ve learned to get around my problems.
Although being dyslexic can mean a variety of things my symptoms are reading, writing and spelling. From an early age I struggled to read at school and of course my spelling and writing ability fell behind quite quickly. Throughout school my family tried to pressure the school to accept I was dyslexic but after a meeting with a education psychologist who deemed me to not be dyslexic I ended up going all the way through school being classed as ‘thick’.
To clarify the above, when I visited the educational psychologist at the age of 12 (or at least sometime around then) he decided I was not dyslexic due to being able to write my name ‘joined up.
Needless to say that my GCSE grades were rather bad and I only managed 1 grade C which was in Maths.
From this point in life I didn’t really know where to go or what to do. I did end up going to college and I started doing a BTEC First Diploma in Information Technology. It was at this point that I noticed I was not actually ‘thick’ as I excelled very quickly in this course and managed to get quite a few distinctions along the way.
Once I finished the first diploma I progressed to the National Diploma again in Information Technology. Throughout my 3 years at college I never had help with the dyslexic issues yet I still managed to pass everything with quite good grades.
Fast forward a few years to the age of 23 where the story continues. It was at this age I reached another turning point which lead me back to college to study a HND in Computers. Being a lot older and the fact Dyslexia was a little more ‘main stream’ I ended up going to see a second educational psychologist who conducted similar tests to see if I was Dyslexic.
The test lasted a bit over an hour (if memory serves right) and at the end I was told:
You have a reading age of a 15 / 16 year old boy. Your spelling is also around this age, perhaps a little bit lower though.
On hearing this I actually had quite a mix of emotions, the first was relief the second was anger.
I was quite pleased that I was labelled dyslexic as for me it was proof that I was not actually thick I just struggled with the usual dyslexic problems. The anger was because the first “psychologist” was wrong and the fact the school didn’t listen to my Mother and classed me as thick.
When I look back now though I have to be slightly impressed that if I had a reading age of a 15/16 year old when I was actually 23 years old how low was my level when I was in school and college and with that in mind, how did I ever managed to pass the IT courses so well.