As a young child, I always knew I was different. I couldn’t pronounce certain words, couldn’t spell and I never understood what I was reading. Despite, having a private English tutor my Dyslexia was undiagnosed, until I went to college. Although, the teachers picked up on it my parents did not have the money to pay for a test. Dyslexia can be daunting and can go undiagnosed for a long-time impacting your confidence and mental health. This post is to help you or a loved one deal with suspected or diagnosed Dyslexia. I hope, some of these tips will also help you even if you’ve stumbled across my blog and are not Dyslexic.
1.The Power of Colour
Colour does not help all Dyslexic people and even if successful each Dyslexia person may have their preferences. However, a cheap tool – is the use of highlighters. I find yellow and blue help emphasise text. Furthermore, tinted overlays can reduce visual stress but may not be allowed in exams. One way around this, if purchasing tinted glasses but this test is not typically funded by DSA.
It can be appealing to start all your assignments at once, but the secret behind a Dyslexia student with high grades is planning. A great tool is mind mapping software like Imindmap. Dragon is useful to write up your work for you to help you plan your time and assistive technology to turn text to speech.
3. Get all your ideas out first
If you’re Dyslexic, it is likely you are creative. I find that getting my ideas out and referencing my work at a later date (whilst, saving them) helps me concentrate for longer. By working this way you do not spend your time reading the entire book/ journal articles. Also, if there is a flaw in your idea you will soon identify it and can change it or adjust your argument.
4. Record Lectures
If your University record lectures, utilise them – to help you remember content. Alternatively, you can buy a recorder for as little as £20 from Argos or Curries.
5. Apply for DSA
Once you’re diagnosed with Dyslexia, you can apply for Disability Study Allowance and you should be entitled to a Dyslexia tutor. I have to admit, I have found mine more for exam preparation than assignments. However, it is still free useful advice you can access.
6. Reverse Sentences
A very useful tip I found was that reversing your sentences can’t no only help reduce word count but make your sentences more fluid. Of course, your writing style will depend on the type of course you are on but I find this works for Business related courses.
7. Use a Successful Structure Again and Learn from your Failures
If you scored highly on a reflective assignment or a report use the structure for a structure in the same format. If you not score so well, try and ask a friend who scored higher than you and identify the differences. If you are an introvert don’t worry. Try and get extra feedback or someone else understand your feedback for the future.
8. Write with the Word count in mind
Many people will recommend that you should write your work and then cut it down your draft later. I find this just doesn’t work for me and causes stress and anxiety. If this sounds familiar try breaking down the assignment and the weighting of marks and allocate a rough word count for each section and try sticking to it. By doing this, I find that I am continuously proof reading my work and I am not cutting out unnecessary information impulsively.
9. Start by Reading the Grading Grid
I have achieved many A and A*s at University in my modules which I think is heavily attributed to breaking down the grading grid and what is expected of you for assignments. This may not always be possible so try and look for hidden clues in a brief.
10. Hire a Part-time Tutor
Hiring a tutor can help you in times when you are really struggling. I know all too well hiring a tutor can be expensive. In the U.K a good website to look on it Tutorful (previously known as Tutora) because you do not need to pay a fee to receive the tutors detail and can pay on a credit card if you need to. You also can have a free practice lesson. When I am really struggling I pay a PHD student a rate of £25 per hour.
The benefits of getting another student to tutor you is they have recently been in education, and if they are fortunate to be at your educational institution they will understand how your tutors mark.
11. Get to Know your Lecturers
Taking 5 minutes to get to know your lectures can go a really long way. By them liking you, they will make time for you and let you book short 1-1 appointments to answer any questions you may have. As their time is precious, the best thing to do is write a list of questions to show you have prepared.
12. Start a Blog
You may be reading this with one raised eyebrow – and I don’t blame you. When blogging was a requirement for a University module I went in Morgan meltdown mode. Not MORE writing and reading. However, I have found that by writing a blog I use a different style of writing which makes it not as a daunting task when assignments arrive.
13. Use Dyslexia as a Strength
It can be hard to get past the first stage of interviews for placements when you must overcome psychometric tests. A still a massive barrier for me – what I have learnt is a big thing I was missing was asking for reasonable adjustments. When I hopefully get invited to some interviews and pass a couple I plan to use Dyslexia as a strength. After all you are able to think out of the box, you overcome challenges on a daily basis like being resilient.
14. Remain Positive
Having a positive attitude won’t be able to make reading and writing y easier but will show you are committed person to your studies/ working and that you are trying to succeed.
Do you want more information about Dyslexia?
You can contact The British Dyslexia Association confident helpline 0333 405 4567.
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Are you Dyslexic or support someone who is? Do you have any good study tips? – If so, why not share them below?
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Lots of Love