DyslexicProfessional.com - Dyslexia at work

Mindmaps are the answer… what’s the question?

From within about an hour of installing a mind-mapping application on my laptop, I was a convert… possibly even an evangelist.

Far above all of the “assistive technology” available for dyslexics, this has so far been the one that has impacted my everyday life the most. To be honest, you don’t need to be dyslexic to get a benefit from this but if you are then please keep reading.

Why do I need mind-maps?

There are a few things you need to know:

  1. First, I am lucky enough to have a number of positive impacts of dyslexia. One of those is that once I have acquired new information I can process it very rapidly and often have multiple thoughts at once. That often means that I can solve the most complex problems faster than others.
  2. Second, I have a problem writing and thinking at the same time. I believe it is to do with short-term memory. However, the bottom line is that I keep forgetting where I am in the overall flow of the thing that I am writing. As a result, my writing meanders and needs to be edited (by me) again and again until it finally expresses what I mean.
  3. Thirdly, I see patterns in things – often before others. I use that to form and then set out compelling arguments and explanations that become very clear to readers.
  4. Finally, I have a fairly precise use of language and so – whilst not finding it easy to write – am a fierce critic of my own work. So that means the editing can take a very long time.

How do they help?

So how does mind-mapping help? I think I usually go through four stages:

  • Capture ideas: Rapidly capture the multiple ideas in whatever order they arrive in my head (or are suggested by others).
  • Establish structure: Iteratively review the information that I have captured, spot possible patterns and major themes, move elements of the mind-map around and categorise information.
  • Assemble detail: Some of the ideas initially captured will turn out to be elements of the detail that supports the overall argument and others will be discarded. With a mind map that is a very simple process.
  • Finalise detailed text: Now that the structure is in place along with a skeleton of facts I am able to turn the document into prose.
  • Export and format: The mind mapping tool that I use exports to almost every other package that I use – Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Project, Email etc.

As a result, I use mind maps for everything, reports, meeting planning, writing complex emails etc.

In my view they are a brilliant tool – dyslexic or not. Clearly, you will have to make up your own mind as all of us have a different experience of dyslexia.

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6 Comments

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  1. 19 July 2012    

    Any mind mapping software you recommend?

    • David John David John
      19 July 2012    

      Personally I use MindGenius (www.mindgenius.com) both on my laptop and iPad. The iPad app is currently free as well… which is nice!

      • Nur Nur
        26 October 2012    

        Hi Ben,I would love to arrange a demo of your new pocudrt for my mother and her blind support group. How can I do that? I understand that you have created a multi-use/ multi-function device that is marketable to the sighted, low vision, dyslexic, blind, techogeeks, or just lazy (I put myself in that last category). I have combined a scanner, PC with OCR and text to speech in an attempt to make a useful tool but my target audience (blind elderly mother) is capable of finding the on button and go button and that is about it. I have watched the video and read the manual for the E-Reader and fear that, although the portable capture station and one button capture are a step in the right direction, the play function and menu setting are too close together, complicated and prone to erroneous button pushes. The menu display will be completely invisible to her. In spite of my worries stated above I am really excited about your pocudrt and hope to see it work.

    • 25 October 2012    

      Mr. Foss, I want you to know how very impressed I am with your efortfs and the team at Intel with the creation of the Intel Reader.I am a working mom and advocate for dyslexia as I have twin boys (9), both diagnosed in 2008. I left a job of 11 years in healthcare as the Director of Children’s Miracle Network for Wichita, KS to start a new position at the Fundamental Leaning Center also in Wichita. The Center is committed to all children reading all children succeeding.We are a educational non-profit focused on children with learning disabilities associated with reading, writing, and spelling including dyslexia.In 2010 we would like to begin to inform parents, families, and children that come to our Center the ability to learn to use assistive technology like the Intel Reader. I am in the process of writing grants right now to find funding to purchase two readers to use as models at our Center.If possible, could Intel provide me a CD of the movie created for the Intel Reader on your website? I need to place it in the hands of reviewers in the easiest way I know how.We also are looking at creating an educational forum for our community on Stewarding the Health of our Children’s Education and would love to talk with you about hosting a lecture.If this is something you would be willing to discuss I would love to talk with you about this possibility.Thanks so much for your creativeness in building a better tomorrow for children like my boys.All the best,Melissa Kirkwood

  2. 17 July 2013    

    I think a visualized display can be better then just a straightforward text, if stuff are defined in pictures one can easily be familiar with these.

  3. […] many references to Tony Buzan of mind mapping fame. This is familiar ground as mind mapping is a tool of choice for many dyslexics as a way to organise thoughts. Buzan’s remarks that schools focus on pouring information in […]

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