Dear Young Dyslexic,

Number 3: Technology, technology, technology. Technology levels the playing field for dyslexics. However, not all technology works for everyone. You have to use trial and error to decide which accommodations are most effective in your learning. For example, if you have an auditory processing problem recorded books may just be frustrating for you. However, here are some accommodations that are usually helpful for dyslexics:

Recorded books. Allied Learning is an excellent source for digitally recorded books and magazines. You can download them from the Internet and with the right software you can listen to them at accelerated speeds. I recommend that you listen to a book and read it simultaneously. This seems to greatly increase comprehension and help students learn to speed listen. You develop speed listening skills by starting at a speed that is comfortable for you and slowly increasing the speed. Research is demonstrating that this process will actually improve your regular reading fluency.

Speech-to-text programs. The Dragon Company has a number of programs that work very well. These are great for e-mails and short messages. In composing themes and term papers, it is important to outline your ideas first. Then dictate them with the objective of just getting all of your ideas down on paper. Finally, editing your work is much easier once it is on the screen. Be sure to use grammar and spell checks.

Screen readers. Screen readers read the highlighted text on your computer out loud to you. Again, you can read and listen at the same time. There are many free programs for PCs; and Macs have a screen reader built into their operating system. Anything on the screen you can easily listen to by pushing two keys.

Smart phones. I am convinced that my smart phone is the frontal lobe that God forgot to give me. In other words, it helps me organize myself. In the note app, I have a memory file, which is a list of anything I need to remember - people’s names, addresses, websites, and anything I’m likely to forget. I also use a to-do list program. The calendar is critical and it syncs with my computer at the office. It also allows me to set alarms. Similarly, I have an alarm app that I can set to remind me about appointments or calls I have to make. Unlike a paper planner, smart phones can queue you when you have to remember something.

Be well and make a bit of noise,

Dr. Michael Ryan




Dr. Michael Ryan