Assistive technology can help people with dyslexia

About 15% of the UK population has a learning disorder known as dyslexia. A person suffering from this disorder finds it difficult to process language, causing spelling and reading to be a major problem. The disorder first makes an appearance in childhood and is a lifelong disability.

Dyslexia is not curable, and as result, people who have it may feel inadequate over time due to the name-calling that can occur at school. However, early intervention can help those with dyslexia cope better with their disability.

Amy Firth of Lewisham said that she was six years old when she received a dyslexia diagnosis. She did not take part in certain mainstream classes at school and attended Special Educational Needs classes. Other children at school used to tease her and call her names, which affected her self-esteem and self-worth.

However, Amy was able to perform in traditional schools and even went on to earn a university degree with the help of assistive technologies that made it easier for her to learn.

As part of Dyslexia Awareness Week, there will be a focus on assistive technologies that can help children and adults with the disorder.

Sharon Hodgson MP, Shadow Minister for Public Health and Chairwoman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dyslexia and Other Specific Learning Difficulties, has long been a supporter of assistive technologies, as she has a child who is severely dyslexic.

She said that she is aware of the difference that assistive technology can make in helping children with dyslexia learn in school. A dictaphone to record lessons in the classroom and software such as Dragon, which transforms speech into text and vice versa, can help these children display their true potential in the classroom.

Ignacio Estrada, Director for Grants Administration at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, pointed out that if a child with dyslexia is unable to learn alongside their peers, then teachers should adapt their instructional methods with assistive technology.

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