Thursday 11 October 2012

Typing Dragons, Paperless Books and Coloured Paper a Dyslexics Tool Kit

Celebrating - National Dyslexia Awareness Week 2012

Typing Dragons, Paperless Books and Coloured Paper

a Dyslexics Tool Kit

I'm a technophobic - or at least I hate the idea of new things – ‘I’ll never own a DVD –What’s wrong with Videos!’  And well, now I have over 600 and no videos in site.  Same thing happened with Blue-rays, CD’s, Mobile Phones, the list goes on. However despite my reservations about new technologies I have to acknowledge that technology is actually a huge and liberating part of my life.

I write and well if I had to write in hand or even type it on a manual typewriter – I couldn’t. Why? Well if I hand write anything the likelihood of anyone being able to decipher the story from between the spelling errors, bad grammar and appalling handwriting is very low (even I can’t read my own writing.)  Even a type writer would not be much help as you can’t go back and edit. So I write on the pc, and then edit and edit some more – and some more, and repeat the process until the manuscript is in a version of English that other people have a fighting chance of reading.

This got me thinking about technologies that enable people with dyslexia to meet their potentials, so here are a few things that help me and other dyslexics I know…

Typing Dragons - Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Although I love the idea of writers dictating their stories as a dragon types it in to the PC, the reality is not quite that exciting but nevertheless a great tool. Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a PC program that allows you to talk, and it will then type out what you dictate in a word processing program. In the earlier editions you had to ‘Train your Dragon’ to understand your voice, but I’ve been assured by friends who use it that the newer versions need no training – that you simply choose from a list of local dialects and then you’re good to go. My friends that use this in the work place say it helps them keep on top of reports and stop the backlog from piling up.

There is also now TEXT HELP software specifically designed for educational market.  There is a completion for students to win a copy of text help running this week, to see more press here.

Paperless Books - Kindles and E-readers

I have to say that due to my nature I’m not a great fan, but one of my friends dyslexic daughter finds that it enables her to read. The Kindle/e-readers have features where you can change the font, font size to one of your own choosing that is easier for you to read. You can also change the background colour to which ever colour makes grounds the words, again making it easier to read. Another plus is that while reading on a kindle/e-reader no one can see what you’re reading or how quickly you’re reading it stopping dyslexic children and teenagers being embraced and teased.

Coloured Paper

As an artist/painter there is nothing I find more intimidating than a pristine white empty gallery. As a writer there noting more daunting than pristine white paper. White – so perfect – so full of expectation. White – so happy to allow the letter to dance merrily over it so you have no chance of reading or writing them down in the proper order to spell anything correctly. There is a simple solution - adapted by Roald Dahl and adopted by many dyslexics – Coloured paper. Roald Dahl used yellow (as do I or cream) anther friend uses lilac.  It’s cheaper than the other technologies but can be a real help – as it get you less panicked before you begin and helps ground letters and words.

Thanks for reading and if you have any tips or tricks that help you combat your dyslexia please share them…


  1. I simply wouldn't have passed my degree or become a teacher without technology. The thought of giving someone a piece of my actual handwriting fills me with such dread!

    On the internet I've started using Google Chrome as my browser because it automatically checks spelling for me (although American English, not sure if I can change the settings or not). I got so sick of 'literary'people (most of whom didn't actually know me as such)making rude comments when I'd made a mistake that I simply couldn't see.

    I am so grateful to have been born in this technological era, it has opened so many doors to me.

    1. Hi George,

      Yes technology helped me pass my degree, I was lucky enough to get a computer from the LEA - but I'm not sure they do that now. I find the whole spelling grammar police quite frustrating but now I just laugh about and give friends who make 'Those' comments red brio's for Christmas!

  2. I have always find that reading a book (paper, or anything really)upside down helps my dyslexia in a moment of panic. As some of you know I run a crit group in Glasgow, and occasionally someone will come in at the last minute with a print out of their work. Instead of panicking, I say, "Hey, what's that over there?" and then quickly turn the page upside down and read it that way. Obviously it's always better to read on the computer as you can change the background colour, but in a jam upside down works- not sure why. And if you are wanting to read a book with more ease in public just switch the outer cover to right side up and no one will know the book in side is not right side up too ;)

  3. Hmm, no edit feature. Maybe I should've turned the screen upside down before replying ;)

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      Not tried reading upside down but I'll give it a go. I read back to front quite a lot - the about of times I pull a glass shop door because I've read the sign the other side that says pull!


  4. If you need an accurate and fast manuscript typing services than Best Typing Services is the service for you. Despite living in the digital age there are plenty of writers and researchers who still operate by writing longhand instead of manuscript typing on their own.