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Can help: Scotland, UK, Byzantine, or Bible questions. Need: dyslexia help

Scotland UK Byzantium Bible dyslexia

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#1 Dayspring

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 03:25 AM

Here in the UK we have a show called "Mastermind" in which people choose their "expert" category about which the host can ask them anything, and then a general knowledge round. One of my dinner party questions is asking people what their Mastermind category would be. (Mine would be the life and work of Michael Crawford, but that's niche enough not to be helpful to a lot of writers ;)

 

Anyway, I'm American but have lived in Scotland for 10 years, so can answer questions from both an inside and outside perspective. I'm a Byzantine history buff and have read the Bible through several times.

 

My current WIP has a brainy but severely dyslexic MC and I need some info on coping and compensating strategies, what sort of work he'd be able to do, and how dyslexia changes someone's perspective.

 

This 'expert' thing is a great idea for a board topic :)



#2 Lanette Kauten

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 09:47 AM

Many dyslexics are fast thinkers, but they also forget things fast as their minds go onto the next thought. For this reason, when they're writing, they shouldn't concentrate on getting pesky things, like spelling, correct. Proof reading can be done after they get their thoughts on paper. Some dyslexics do well on computers because of the muscle memory of learning the QWERTY keyboard. Typically, dyslexics are tactile learners; therefore they think better when they're moving or touching something. Many also have good eye-hand coordination. They also have better than average spacial awareness and make wonderful artists, drafters, architects, etc. For example, my dyslexic daughter has aspirations of being a medical illustrator. Right now, she's 16, but we've talked about strategies she can employ when she goes to college, and one of those is to tape record all her lectures because even though she learns well by taking notes since she's tactile, her dyslexia slows down her writing and sometimes making it completely illegible. I'm trying to get her to proof read by reading out loud, but she doesn't like to do that and instead relies on the computer spell check. A lot of times, dyslexics will have other people proof their work and those with difficulty reading, listen to books on tape or have people read to them.



#3 Jemi

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 08:11 PM

Lanette's given you a lot of great stuff. I've taught a few students with true dyslexia (it's not very common from what I've seen). I try to get these students to access technology as soon as possible - to use a speech to text program like Dragon Naturally Speaking or Dragon Dictate on an iPod or iPad (not as complex but also doesn't require training like the full program). Premier Tools also has a talking word processor that can read your typing back to you and offer you suggestions as you type of the word you're looking for. It also reads other documents to you (and the voices are getting better). It's not super speedy, but it can help. I've also had dyslexic students use a handheld voice recorder to record their thoughts and 'hand in' their work that way.

 

I've found many of these kids develop very strong auditory memories - they can recite back conversations, books and lessons. Written tasks are annoying for them and reading can be painful at times. Books on tapes are really helpful too.

 

I'd agree with Lanette again on the tactile part. Most of the dyslexic kids I've taught are very tactile and learn best when manipulating the objects they're discussing - so a job where the character is 'doing' would work. A lot of these kids have liked music and art too.

 

Hope that helps! :)



#4 evilenna

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 06:15 PM

I'm mildly dyslexic, but maybe some of this insight might help. I spelled my name backwards till about third or fourth grade. I cannot tell the difference between (b and d) or (6 or 9) unless I look at them multiple times and really concentrate. When speaking my words can come out in an awkward order. So words get jumbled up in my head and I really suck at poker. Let me know if you have any other questions.

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#5 Thrash

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:32 PM

I work at a private school for those with reading and learning disabilities, and I teach a few dyslexic students.  The strategy really depends on the age of the student.

Kids and young teenagers: the focus is on identifying syllables and is reinforced either by "scooping" (drawing a little scoop under each individual syllable) or by "tapping" (touching finger to thumb, then middle finger, etc counting out each syllable)  the goal of each method is to get them to slow down.  Dyslexics often try to read too fast, and touching the page can help slow down the eye.  If your MC was trained to deal with it as a kid, he/she might still trace little scoops with a finger or tap while reading. Adults: adults who have never had dyslexic reading training are difficult, and sometimes have been faking the ability to read for so long that it's necessary to start over and teach good habits. This includes starting with the alphabet, which makes many adults impatient and embarrassed. 

 

While handwriting is often illegible, they are often excellent artists and good at other tasks requiring fine dexterity.  When we get an adult who may be dyslexic, we test by having them copy a drawing as well as writing out a few original sentences.  If both the drawing and the writing are worse than average, we start them on a program for fine motor skills, not dyslexia. Adult Dyslexics often go to great lengths to avoid handwriting anything longer than their name. Sometimes they are so out of practice they have difficulty holding a pen correctly.  This can go unnoticed for a long time though, because often they can type and operate computers well. 



#6 Dayspring

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 03:15 AM

Thank you all for your input! A few questions.

 

Do dyslexics compensate for difficulty reading with a good memory, or system of organizing their thoughts?

 

My MC is a rich boy whose family paid for him to have a series of 'tutors' in high school and college, who would basically read aloud or summarize information for him and take dictation. He never learned to read or write well, but had an amazing memory and, partly due to family connections, ended up a lawyer. He's quick-thinking, into fashion and is a talented visual artist. Also, part of the plot turns on his family not realizing that, while dyslexic, he is NOT discalculaic.

 

Is any of that problematic?



#7 Lanette Kauten

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 10:09 AM

The only issue I'm having, and it's not a huge one, is why didn't his parents pay for real tutors? With specialized training, dyslexics can learn to read even though they're usually slower than the average reader. Not every dyslexic has dyscalculia, in fact, many are very good at geometry and trig.



#8 Thrash

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 11:40 AM

I'm with Lanette. Hiring someone from my school is expensive, but not totally out of range of middle class, but we're trained on how to teach students with dyslexia.  More common, A LOT more common is a student who has learned ways of faking it, so that he misses being diagnosed. 



#9 T.J.

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 09:42 AM

It also depends on the type of dyslexia. My dyslexia is markedly different to my daughter's, my son's, my sister's, my aunt's ... all different forms. All have different needs to find a way around them.


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#10 mwsinclair

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 11:14 AM

Fascinating thread.



#11 Tom Preece

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 03:51 PM

To get help the disability would need to be diagnosed and accepted by the dyslexic.  My former brother in law was the twin brother of my ex wife.  She was quite academically accomplished; her brother struggled with his disability but would not admit it because in male pride he could not acknowledge that he could not compete with her in academic achievements. 







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