An assessment not only diagnoses the difficulty but also gives a great deal of information about an individual’s learning profile. Once you have been assessed you should ask your parents to explain the results to you and go through your difficulties as well as your strengths. The aim is to help you understand in more detail why certain tasks may be more difficult for you. This information can be used to develop a support plan, and will enable teachers to identify appropriate teaching strategies which are tailored to your individual needs.
Dyslexia is a life-long condition. It does not go away. However, with the right supports and aids, an individual can learn to manage their dyslexia and become an independent self-sufficient learner and worker.
Research and practice shows us that multi-sensory methods of learning are beneficial for everyone. This means using many sensory channels when learning information such as:
- auditory (listening)
- visual (seeing, using diagrams, colour)
- kinaesthetic (touch, movement, action)
The more channels used the more effective the learning will be, so try to incorporate as many senses as you can when you learn new concepts or study for tests.
Technology has been a great help to people with dyslexia. There is a wide range of technological aids available which can also help people to manage their dyslexia independently. It will help you to learn more about using technology as much as possible. See our Technology Section for more information.
Some students may have difficulty in making out the meaning of complicated texts. They may have to re-read passages several times. If you are unsure about what a word or sentence means – Do ask for help and direction from your teacher, parent or friend.
Ask that reading lists given by teachers show you the most important texts to be read. Always know your purpose in reading a text – what are you trying to find out. Make notes as you read – re-write things in your own words or put question marks where you are unsure. Then read through it a second time, adding to your notes or looking up unfamiliar words. Reading the text aloud can sometimes help comprehension. If the type is very small, make it bigger.
Try to do your reading early in the day when your concentration and energy levels are better. Try to read at a table rather than in bed or lying down. At second level make use of the revision guides, e.g. “Less Stress More Success”, “Rapid Revision”, “Revise Wise” – they are a simple version of each subject requiring less reading. Screen reading software, e.g. TextHelp or ClaroRead can also be useful, or there are many free and/or inbuilt text to speech readers, e.g. Natural Reader. These programmes will read any material on the computer screen aloud, e.g. an essay, an internet page, a chapter of an eBook.
If spelling difficulties remain, develop strategies to manage them. Ask others to proof-read documents, or use text to speech to listen back to your work – you may hear errors that you don’t see in your writing. Use a spell checker on the computer or a free editing tool like Grammarly. Keep a list of important new words to learn. Ask that examiners be informed about and considerate of your spelling difficulties. Some students may qualify for a spelling and grammar waiver in exams.
In a number of courses spelling might be critical to success such as medical or paramedical courses where the correct spelling of drugs or conditions is essential, or teaching where a teacher is expected to be able to spell correctly in front of the class. In these cases it will be necessary to develop strategies to ensure spelling accuracy. Think about ways that work for you to remember spellings – such as making a mnemonic or a rhyme. Try to focus on the most common and most important words you need to learn to spell. No one can spell everything accurately!
Some people find it difficult to remember information over time. Strategies which might help include:
- Good note-taking skills so that notes are clear and understandable. Making short notes in class and then adding to them afterwards while the information is still fresh in your mind, rather than only looking at them a month later before a test.
- Learning the notes – some students feel that once the notes are written and filed the work is done. Notes must be learnt. This can be done by reading them aloud or writing them out again. Mnemonics may help.
- If you have a good visual memory, mind maps and other visual organisers can be a useful strategy to learn.
- Regular revision is essential. A topic needs to be revised on a frequent basis. A plan could entail learning the material on the night of the lecture, a weekly revision of new material learnt and a monthly revision of the month’s work. Each time you revise it will take a shorter time.
- Make sure you understand what you are learning as this makes it much easier to memorise. Linking new information to things that you already know also helps you to understand it and remember it.
Asking for Help
It may be helpful for you to ask for help in your school. The Asking for Help Form may assist you in doing this.