Dyslexia and Assistive Technology from a Students Viewpoint
Dyslexia is a condition that impacts at least 10-15% of the population. If you, your family or close friends haven’t been touched by someone with dyslexia it may be easy to underestimate how widespread it is.
Dyslexia impacts people in different ways. So, symptoms might not look the same from one person to another. Primarily dyslexia affects skills involved in the accurate understanding, reading, spelling and writing of words.
We caught up with Sophie, a university student, to find out about her experience with dyslexia and how assistive technology is helping her during her studies.
What university do you go to, and what do you study?
My name is Sophie, and I am currently in my first year of Primary Teaching at the University of Roehampton. I love my course; it is incredibly rewarding, and I have learned so much already.
When were you diagnosed with dyslexia?
I was diagnosed with dyslexia not long after starting university. At first, I had mixed feelings about being diagnosed considerably later than others. However, as I began to recognise my strengths and learn more about the support I could receive, I accepted my unique abilities and focused on creating a toolkit to allow me to achieve my goals.
What’s it like to have dyslexia?
I often describe dyslexia as my creative lens to the world. My ‘out of the box’ thinking is a strength. On the days where my concentration is poor, and I cannot seem to get the words out, I have learned to look at this with a flexible mindset and find a way of working with what I can do rather than with what I can’t.
How has dyslexia affected you in your academic studies?
With my studies in mind, I find that it takes me considerably longer to complete reading and writing tasks. I often get apprehensive when I see a lot of text on a page and have developed a range of problem-solving skills that help me tackle the challenges I face.
How did you find out about assistive technology?
To start with I did not know much about assistive technology. I came across some information on the internet when I was looking for support after struggling with managing my academic workload and I was rapidly losing belief in myself. Talking to someone who completely understood dyslexia opened doors of opportunities which helped my mindset and gave me the courage to push forward.
How does assistive technology help your studies?
Assistive technology has opened a positive pathway for me to work through the challenges I have by acknowledging my strengths and learning to accept the support as a stepping stone to success.
What features of assistive technology help you the most?
There are many benefits to assistive technology, and I am so grateful to have it. The toolbar is user-friendly and has been an asset to my academic progress. I can use the screen overlay to adjust the page to a colour that helps me to read with ease and enables me to study for longer. The screen mask allows me to follow the reading with a tinted screen around the text I am focusing on which prevents me from losing track of what I am reading. The option to have the text read to me has made reading expectations manageable and I complete them on time and at my pace. The text extractor tool is great for consolidating the key points from reading and I can convert it to an audio file if I want to listen again.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Having Dyslexia is not something that should hold anyone back. If you find yourself feeling stuck in the daily struggle, I encourage you to look into assistive technology – you will not regret it!
Find Out More
If you would like to learn more about supporting your students with dyslexia-friendly assistive software, please feel free to contact our team for more information or book a demonstration of our toolbar.