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!
As my day job is online, making sites selling products and such like I’m always on various sites, one of which is Yahoo Answers. I’ve noticed more and more that they are many people from all over the world asking whether or not they are dyslexic based on a few symptoms they describe.
Over time I’ve been answering some of the questions but my answers always boil down to one sentence.
If you think you are dyslexic you are best off getting tested for dyslexia by an educational psychologist
People will ask all the usual questions about how they miss read words or swap letters about (the usual dyslexia symptoms) but if you want to know for sure you need to get tested.
It’s easy for me to look at how people are suffering and think to myself “Yes those are signs of dyslexia perhaps you are dyslexic” but without a real test just knowing/thinking you are dyslexic will not be enough to help you through life. Once you have been confirmed as dyslexic you will find many new door open and plenty of extra help can and will be provided.
As I’m confirmed as dyslexic it means that I will have extra time to complete tests / exams, not just in education but also in things like the driving theory test. These extra time limits and the extra help are the things which are going to make the difference.
I’m currently doing a OU (Open University) course in Science and when I signed up I of course registered as Dyslexic. Since I’ve done this I’ve already had 2 phone calls to talk about my needs and I’ve now had all the course work sent to me on CD in the form of audio books. I have not actually proved to the OU I’m dyslexic yet as this is not a degree but once I start the degree I will have to send over the confirmation in order to keep on getting help.
So if you are not sure whether you are or are not dyslexic remember that although people can offer advice you are best off being tested in order to know for sure.
Having and being dyslexic can be very stressful at times and it’s hard for me not to get a little annoyed. Although I never mean to be nasty it becomes quite frustrating when trying to spell or read and that in turn leads to anger, not at others (although I will take it out on my wife) but more at myself.
I know I’m intelligent and able to read and write but even reading out loud for my son causes me to become agitated as I struggle with reading for him. It may just be me but I would guess many people with dyslexia will come across this more often than they would like to admit.
I’m starting a science degree (OU) and I’ve already came across problems which is none too surprising. Although I’ve been able to read the work thus far I’ve already managed to misread a question. The question which was a maths based one was I thought, easy to read. I did all the working out which was fine, asked my wife to check it and she came to the same answers to but then when she read the question she pointed out I had completely misread it and although the answer was correct based on my assumptions the answer was wrong for the question.
It’s sometimes the little things that lead me to snap at the people trying to help. I often have to ask the wife for help in spelling something. She will start to spell the word but at a ‘normal’ speed but it’s at a speed that I cannot keep up with. This means I always snap at her for going too fast.
I snap mainly as it’s frustrating to me that I can’t keep up when I believe I should be able to. Luckily she does understand and will spell the word again after which I normally say sorry!
It’s not just the people close to you who you will snap at as I’ve managed to do it to the professional trying to help me as well. I would say that in a way I felt justified to questioning their teaching methods but of course I did go over the top.
For an example I remember when doing my HND in Computing I was offered some extra help which I decided to take (not a easy choice as I don’t like admitting I have a problem). On our first meeting I sat down with a middle aged lady and we started to discuss my needs / problem areas after which she produced 26 blocks with the letters of the alphabet wrote on them.
You have to remember at this point I did not feel comfortable even talking about being dyslexic!
So she continued on talking and picked up a block with the letter A on it and proceeded to say
This is the letter A – it’s the first letter of the alphabet and is pronounced ‘a’
Needless to say this really annoyed me and I let her know my feelings on this. I started to explain that I was not thick and after studying a BTEC first diploma in IT, BTEC National Diploma in IT and that I was on the second year of my HND how on earth did she think I had managed to get this far without knowing what the first letter of the alphabet was and how to pronounce this.
At the time I guess the whole idea of being dyslexic had not really sunk in as it were and she basically made me feel really dumb which is why I started ‘having a go’. It was of course wrong the way I went on and I have no real excuse for it but she should of also approached things in a different way. She could of started by asking if I know the alphabet! This would of still started to get my temperature up but I don’t think I would of went off on one.. as much anyway!
It’s always been hard to accept help or to take criticism (no doubt the same for 90% of people) but I guess growing up with dyslexia, being told you were thick for all of your school life it does put you on edge.
As time has gone on though I started to just accept it, at 33 years old I can now just talk about it openly but it’s taken a long time to get to this point for me. Having a 2 year old son helps as he will of course keep on wanting stories read to him and of course help with school work. This and a understanding wife has helped me on my own personal journey to just ‘get over it’ and accept help if/when I need it.