As we know dyslexic people find organisational skills difficult. Organising your thoughts, time and your studying can be very challenging. We can use technology to support ourselves so that we are more organised and can overcome some of the difficulties many dyslexic people face.
As a lover of technology I have found many ways of supporting the way I organise myself. I will go into a bit of detail within this blog on things that I and others have used and have found very useful to support us.
Time and time management are two very important things when it comes to organising yourself. A number of people that I know and I probably agree with this is that time is different at different times of the day. Sometimes the morning appears shorter than the afternoon. When I’m concentrating it is generally very difficult for me as a dyslexic to understand the concept of time.
There is a very simple way of supporting time management when looking at planning and organising your time I use my iPhone and particularly the calendar app. Then going to a bit more detail. I need to see my calendar and my schedule constantly, I need to be able to see it on my iPad, iPhone, tablet and my laptop when I’m in a hotel or when I’m working. What technology is out there to help me? So I viewed my iPad/iPhone and the calendar and behind this is a cloud-based service. What I mean by this is that the information is actually stored in the cloud. Services such as iCloud which has your email but more importantly your calendar which is shared across your Apple and PC devices. I also use Microsoft exchange which is typically used in business environments which is again a cloud service sharing email calendar and other functionalities including tasks. There are many of these services that can be used such as Outlook.com, Google mail and Office 365 the business version. All of these services enable you to place into your calendar events/appointments and they all have reminders and notifications which enables you to plan and see your schedule and it will also act as a reminder to do things. Some days I will put all the jobs I need to do in my calendar at different times of the day as it then keeps reminding me to do things, this can be very beneficial for planning your day. The other beneficial thing about the cloud services is that they can be shared with others. My partner and I share a personal calendar which allows us both to see what things we are doing and have planned for the future it also is a good reminder to me for important things we do together normally hospital appointments or people’s birthdays. As some of the services are free try using them all on multiple devices. One of the benefits I have found with my Apple watch is having notifications appear on that because of the tactic feedback this gives me a kinaesthetic sense which is always good in a multisensory environment the dyslexic people.
A number of dyslexic people have problems with spelling and handwriting. So organising your thoughts and getting from your head onto paper can be very difficult. Dictation software such as Dragon, Siri, Google and Cortaner can be very beneficial. For this blog and majority of my blogs I will use Dragon Naturally Speaking to dictate either through the microphone or my voice recorder and then transcribe it later, the main benefit of this software is that it gives you time to think and takes away all of the stress and pain of having to spell, handwrite and then type and it enables you so that your thoughts and ideas can flow before you get them down onto paper.
Another piece of software that I use for planning and again organising my thoughts is Mind Mapping. I particularly use Mindview because I find it works well for me, I feel from a typing point of view it is very easy to add more branches when your ideas grow and you can manipulate them I’ve also found it very beneficial when it comes to things like reports getting the key information down e.g. your headings either by typing or by dictation then adding the content within the branches in a text box this enables you to build up a big picture of what your trying to demonstrate. I found this very beneficial a couple of years ago when I had a meeting with some external people, as a dyslexic I’d had a bit of a bad day and couldn’t really think about what to tell them so I literally dictated six headings and produced about half a paragraph for each of them along with the financial reports the comments and feedback was good and that it was very professional and looked very well thought out, as they worked within the dyslexia field I did tell them what had happened and what technology I had used to help me and they still thought it was very good and I had used it well used and that it would be very beneficial for themselves.
A colleague of mine found that Wunder List is very useful, this again is a cloud-based service along with apps for all operating systems which is based across platforms and is basically a to to-do list, you type what you want to remember and just create a list, you can create multiple lists but then also add things like reminders and timers, you can also invite people so that it then becomes a bit more of a collaborative platform along with a personal to-do list.
There are a number of bits of hardware that I found very useful. One of them is my Livescribe Pen. So yes I have told you that my handwriting I not very good neither is my spelling. Currently I haven’t found a tablet device which I feel comfortable writing on, well that isn’t hundred percent true I do like the new Surface Pen for the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book but that is next on my wish list of course! The Livescribe Pen is a bit standard but the benefits of it are that it has a voice recorder built-in along with a camera that records and tracks your handwriting which enables you to save your handwritten notes to the cloud or onto its own software (depending on the pen you have) along with pinpointing the specific audio at the time you’ve written a note. I’ve used this in the past for doing to-do lists as I can draw out my own structure, it can be difficult when I need to go back and I haven’t recorded my to-do lists but it allows me to have my speech on paper as well as in the cloud where I can put later.
Another hardware device that I found quite useful is the C-Pen Reader now this is a beneficial device for the concept of reading text in a book or worksheet which is what I predominantly use it for. One of the functions within it is scan to file now I found this very useful especially when you are reading the document you have got in front of you, say you have a copy of the document on the computer and you have also printed a copy and you need to make notes and comments on specific areas,yes you can go and highlight with your mouse or if you need some structure within your discussion points using the scan to file function allows you to highlight areas and grow a concept which isn’t the same as the original document as you can connect this computer you can manipulate this and grow document. This is brilliant for study and revision.
I’ve discussed many devices within this blog which I spoke about in my webinar on May 2016, please check it out as I talk about many concepts of using technology to support people with specific learning difficulties like dyslex