New primary school tests discriminate against dyslexic pupils, say teachers

“For many years, I have encouraged children to develop their vocabulary in their writing, urging them to be creative and ambitious with their word choices. Now this ambition must be curbed as teachers will be encouraging their pupils to use only words they can spell correctly … Those children with SEND [special education needs and disabilities] who have flair, creativity and write with a strong authorial voice will be deemed as not ready for secondary. This seems discriminatory…In the old system, the majority of marks were about composition. That’s just vanished. Now we are having to tell kids to forget about ambitious vocabulary, because it’s all about accuracy. So use ‘bad’ instead of ‘disastrous’, because you can spell it.”

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The Dyslexic PhD Experience

“Academia, whether in the sciences or the humanities, revolves around reading and writing. As good as I am with math, at the end of the day I need to read enough to enter academic conversations and write my own contributions. When an entire profession is centered around the two activities I naturally struggle with the most, it is very easy to think that I just don’t belong.

Yet, this fear of disclosing my dyslexia has also helped me become resilient in the face of uncertainty and rejection. Most importantly, it has given me the opportunity to find new and creative ways to close the gap between what I am capable of doing and what I am expected to do.

With the help of accessibility tools such as text-to-speech and dictation, I have been able to successfully take all my classes and complete my research projects. As time goes by, I have been able to find workarounds to almost all of the challenges that I have faced. For instance, recording myself talking in order to learn new information.”

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Video Games May Sharpen Focusing Skills in Kids With Dyslexia – MedicineNet

“In the study, one group of 10 dyslexic kids played a Wii video game called Rayman Raving Rabbids for 12 hours over several days while another group played a video game that didn’t focus on action.

The kids who played the action game improved their reading speed by as much or more than a dyslexic child normally would in an intense reading program, Facoetti said. The video games may train the brain to pay more close attention and focus on things, Facoetti said.”

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American Wordspeller

Below is some information that was sent to me about a phonetic dictionary called American Wordspeller:

American Wordspeller Android App Screen Shot

“The suggestion of a tearful 13 year old, brilliant dyslexic girl encouraged the development of the first, one-of-a-kind dyslexia dictionary, “Gabby’s Wordspeller & Phonetic Dictionary”. Now in its 8th year, this unique dictionary has been transformed into Apps and Books entitled, “American Wordspeller”.

This handy resource tool, written by Gabby’s mother, Diane Frank, is used in over 800 school districts and 20 countries for those who struggle with spelling. Not only does it generate the correct spelling for you no matter how misspelled the word is, but will also provide the definition, spelled out suffixes and prefixes as well as cross reference your word if it is spelled or sounds similar to another word such as ‘petal’, ‘pedal’ or ‘peddle’.

A usability study, performed by Dr. Luz Rello et al at Carnegie Melon University mentioned the App, ‘American Wordspeller & Phonetic Dictionary’ as an “…easily accessible mobile application for People with Dyslexia” in 2012.

Find your word by the way it sounds! Designed by and for genius dyslexics!”

Below is a demo of how to use this dictionary.

Have you used American Wordspeller? What do you think of it?

–Rita W. El-Haddad

How does dyslexia affect the workplace and what support is available?

“Despite words to the contrary elsewhere, it is unlikely that the case will lead to a sudden flood of discrimination claims from dyslexic employees.  However, concerned employers should consider seeking legal advice about their duties and the reasonable adjustments that they should be providing.  It’s always prudent to periodically deliver training for management teams about equal opportunities, and specific dyslexia awareness training for colleagues of dyslexic employees ought to be provided.

As with any employment law issue, prevention is always better than cure. Taking constructive steps to provide a positive working environment for all employees – regardless of their abilities – will not only prevent the obvious risk of legal trouble, it can also improve productivity, morale and a sense of community.  In the long run, this is worth much more than the cost of reasonable adjustments.”

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