After school, our world relies on excellent IT skills, fast typing and clear, concise articulation of ideas. Why are we still expecting struggling school children to present their work in a 19th-century format????

Being able to write with a pen and paper is a skill that is often incredibly difficult for people with dyslexia. There are so many processes involved that sap energy and working memory, leaving very little ‘brain space’ for the content.

Being able to type rather than write is a transformational skill that all people with dyslexia need to master. In my opinion, people with dyslexia should move to a laptop as soon as they can – the earlier, the better. It needs to become their ‘normal way of working’ at school, particularly in the big writing subjects like English and history and especially in exams!

For those who are eligible for a reader and a scribe being on a laptop means independence. Voice-activated text can read everything to you and enables you to proofread your work. Dictation software allows you to get your ideas down and then edit them in your own time, or speak in a word impossible to spell!

Laptops help with:

  1. A weak working memory
  2. Slow or indecipherable writing
  3. Poor planning or sequencing (you can bang down your thoughts and edit them later)
  4. When it is challenging to start writing (use a skeleton framework and fill in the information as it pops into your head)
  5. Spelling – Aaah… wonderful spell check. Plus, there is lots of evidence to prove that word - muscle memory helps spelling become automatic
  6. Reading back your work, in the same format as a book, this reinforces learning too
  7. Developing vocabulary (using synonyms or thesaurus builds vocabulary)
  8. Word retrieval – if you can’t find the right word you want to use put a simple one down, highlight it, and edit it later
  9. Reading upright, for many people with dyslexia, this a lot easier than reading flat

Good Programmes Are:

  1. Microsoft Word – using Learning Tools
  2. I think Microsoft OneNote with Immersive Reader and Learning Tools is a fantastic programme for younger children
  3. Apple accessibility – voice dictation and voice-activated text
  4. Open Dyslexia Font – set as your default font
  5. Read, Write Inc. Gold
  6. Claro Software
  7. Dragon Dictate

Excellent Typing Programmes for Dyslexics:

  1. TypingClub
  2. KAZ Type (specifically designed for dyslexic learners)
  3. Nessy Fingers Touch Typing

…but practise is essential – the more your children use their laptop and typing skills, the faster and more natural it will become their usual way of working.

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