DyslexicProfessional.com - Dyslexia at work

Technology that can help

For many dyslexics, finding the right assistive technology can be a revelation… the author included.  However, the enormous changes that have taken place within mobile technology have transformed what is possible.  This page will set-out a catalogue of assistive technology ideas for dyslexics spanning desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone and other technologies.

The role of assistive technology

Assistive technologies come in all sizes and shapes – from the spell checker built in to Microsoft Word on to more specialist tools like speech to text software.  Some run on computers, some on mobile devices, some are hardware specific (e.g. only on Macs) some require additional hardware others are not IT related (e.g. coloured overlays for reading).

One thing I have learned, both from my own experience and from working with many dyslexics, is that we all have different needs and use technologies in different ways. Equally, as our careers progress, our needs change needs change.  The issues faced by a new graduate entering a profession are unlikely to be the same as someone at a more advanced stage, managing a profit and loss account or a team of other professionals.  It also needs to be remembered that technology changes over time – so new options become available and old options can fade in their usefulness.

The bottom line is that each of us, often with help, needs to find our own set of tools, techniques and approaches.

I’ve provisionally set out some headings that I think probably cover most of the technologies.  This is not going to be an exhaustive treatment but I will try to highlight as many viable options as I can.

Writing and note taking

For many dyslexics writing can be a challenge in terms of ordering ideas, physically documenting them, keeping focused on the theme we are writing about, getting all the words down in the right order, not over-editing and leaving trailing off sentences etc.  Oh yes… and spelling.

Note taking can offer additional challenges – the need to listen, engage in conversation, order ideas and write at the same time can offer particular difficulties for some.  This can be made worse if the stress of being watched whilst writing is added – writing on a white board in front of colleagues or clients for example.

Technologies covered will include:

  • Speech to text software
  • Mobile dictation solutions
  • Specific solutions for numbers
  • Spell checking and proof reading solutions
  • Note taking solutions
  • Presentation technologies

Details of each of these will be added over forthcoming weeks.

Reading and accessing learning

Reading documents and digesting information offers a range of challenges.

Technologies covered will include:

  • Text to speech solutions
  • Spoken word books and other resources
  • Mobile solutions

Details of each of these will be added over forthcoming weeks.

Organising contacts, time and logistics

For many, organising diaries, planning, being in the right place at the right time, coping with changing diaries and many other aspects of personal organisation can be challenging for dyslexics.  This is one of the most complex areas due to the interrelationship with of all the involved technologies.

Technologies covered will include:

  • Corporate calendar and contact management solutions
  • Web based calendar and contact solutions
  • Planning
  • Mobile solutions
  • Utilities that help synchronise or manage contacts
  • Solutions for travel logistics

Details of each of these will be added over forthcoming weeks.

Organising ideas including mind maps

Whether to take notes, marshal ideas before writing a document, take notes or simply to capture and shape an idea, dyslexics often benefit from tools that streamline the capture and organising of ideas.

Technologies covered will include:

  • Mind mapping solutions
  • Role of mobile technology
  • Other technologies for capturing and ordering ideas

Details of each of these will be added over forthcoming weeks.

Presenting and communicating ideas

There are a range of different technologies and approaches possible

Technologies covered will include:

  • Popular presentation solutions
  • Alternative presentation technologies
  • Role of add-ins and other solutions

Details of each of these will be added over forthcoming weeks.

Managing tasks, activity, colabouration and communications

Task management means very different things to different people.  Equally, our needs at different stages in our careers.

Technologies covered will include:

  • Solutions integrating task management with calendar
  • Stand-alone task management solutions
  • Collaboration and social enterprise tools
  • Role of mobile technology

Details of each of these will be added over forthcoming weeks.

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