Dyslexia Tools And Resources For Adults

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Editorial Team

Dyslexia is not a disease that can be cured. It needs to be worked around and managed. In many cases, dyslexia remains undiagnosed because people choose to give up on their academic endeavors instead of getting assessed for special learning needs.

The good news is that there is no need to hide behind excuses or run from the real cause of the inability to write or read. Acts like the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and IDEA Act of 1997[1] recognize the inability to learn through reading and writing as a ‘learning disability’ and mandate providing individualized education programs (IEPs) and tools and resources to dyslexic adults to extract better participation from them.

Dyslexia and the intellect of a person have no connection. Visionaries and innovators like Einstein, Walt Disney, Leonardo Da Vinci, and several other names walked the face of the Earth and ruled their areas of work despite being dyslexic. You may be having the next Picasso in your own house and may not know ways of helping him or her due to a lack of knowledge about tools and resources available for managing dyslexia. So, we bring you here a complete account of several supports available for your creative genius.

Tools and resources for dyslexia: Working the way around deficiency

Thanks to technological marvels, people suffering from learning deficiencies can adopt assistive tools and continue with their work, learning as well and entertainment objectives. Everyone wants to participate, demonstrate the skills they possess, and get recognized. If there are supports available to replace the absence of basic skills, it can bring positive changes to a person’s attitude, demeanor as well and confidence level[2].

Audiobooks for books, speech-to-text for writing, concept mapping tools for organization of thoughts, etc. are nothing but supplements that dyslexics can employ and be at par with peers. Here is the list of available resources and easily wieldable tools curated for your convenience.

Important resources to be aware of

1. Books

If you struggle with words in the book, there are specialized books available with dyslexia-friendly fonts. These are storybooks with pictures and special fonts designed to help an adult brush up on reading skills. The basic outcomes of these books are better vocabulary and reading comprehension.

Some of these may help build phonetic skills as well. Books for dyslexic adults such as Creative Successful Dyslexics, The Bigger Picture Book of Amazing Dyslexics and the Jobs They Do, and others can be an eye-opener for people who think low of themselves due to dyslexia. A sense of belonging to the community is sure to make them determined to employ their strengths in constructive ways.

2. Audiobooks

Does decoding words seem a problem? No Worries! You can switch to audiobooks to get hold of any topic you yearn to explore. The audiobooks are available on almost all topics and are found to be effective in improving listening comprehension. Learning gaps caused due to dyslexia can be bridged with audiobooks. Major sources of audiobooks are:

  • Libraries: RNIB, public libraries where a section is dedicated to audiobooks, Calibre Audio library in the UK, and similar ones.
  • ebooks: Ebooks are adorned with speech-to-text technology; also, changes in the background, text highlighters, etc. serve to the reading comfort. Amazon Kindle App and Blio are state-of-the-art electronic reader supports that can help dyslexics become voracious readers and fill themselves up with desired information and knowledge.

3. Reading Programs

Education research has yielded a few noticeable reading programs that profoundly impact the learning curve of dyslexics[3]. The multisensory element of these reading programs offers creative ways to learn reading and overcome lexical difficulties.

Various approaches form the premise of these programs, such as the Orton-Gillingham approach, Barton approach, Herman method, etc. Reading programs focus on parameters[4] like lexical quality hypothesis, semantic processing, and word synthesis augmented by the ease of establishing a reference to events to bring fluency in reading abilities. A few commendable reading programs are:

  • Wilson Reading Program: A multisensory reading support that employs audio, visual, and tactile learning to improve reading and writing skills.
  • The Davis Program: It is based on a self-assessment approach. Learners identify their strong areas and capitalize on those further to work around weaknesses and improve reading skills
  • Barton Reading Program: A more structured approach to the Orton-Gillingham method, this evidence-based reading program spells excellence and is impactful enough to seed literacy fluency in adults.

4. Computer programs and apps

Natural language processing technology has yielded several programs and apps for dyslexic adults, which they can use to facilitate reading and writing. The basic aim is to empower dyslexics with communication support that can substitute the skill conspicuously missing and enable fluid expression of thoughts, or information intake. A few interesting dyslexia apps for adults are:

  • Speechify: This text-to-speech app reads out any written text in the form of PDFs, documents, books, etc. to the reader on the phone. AI-engineered voices and multiple language options smoothen comprehension and develop ease of understanding. You can download this app here.
  • Evernote: A sophisticated app designed to take notes for dyslexic students. Image-to-text feature allows taking images of the passage using the camera, then the text is extracted and notes are prepared for the user. Daily life activities become easier to perform with this app for managing dyslexia. Find this app here.

Apps for dyslexia have the potential to become the voice and vision for the people affected with reading disabilities. With little intervention or help, the users can accustom themselves to the app features and integrate them into their usual functioning style.

5. Dyslexia forums

It is essential to feel normal about the way you are and find like-minded individuals to share thoughts. Dyslexia forums help these special people to break their psychological barriers and exchange information. Forums have their specific motives that allow joiners to concentrate on the issues they feel passionate about. Some of the interesting forums that are powerful resources of information about new developments for dyslexics are:

  • Dyslexia Daily Forum: Sign in and choose the forum head that interests you. With active participation, you can create your own repertoire of trending news, emerging developments, etc. Also, you can share your thoughts on any topic related to dyslexia. Explore the forum link here.
  • Dyslexia Shop: The topics created here cover general queries, home learning, teachers’ information, parents’ guides, useful articles and links, etc. You can also create your own topic and set the ball to roll. Here is the forum link.
  • Digital Spy Dyslexia in Adults Forum: It is a wholesome platform for people who are dyslexics or deal with the ones in various capacities. You can find here experiences, and stories that give a slice of the life of a reading-disabled person and the relationship dynamics emerging on a daily basis. You can reach the forum here.

Tools to make life a bit easier

Apart from resources, technological interventions that are wearable, portable, and easy to integrate with the workspace are available too. According to a study[5] by Mete, tools offer self-learning support, minimize errors at work, help in time management and space organization, and promote independence in learning and doing various tasks. With better support and training, and normalization of technology use, the dyslexics can participate in daily life activities with enhanced responsibility and authority.[6]

A few tools trending among the dyslexic adult learners and workers are:

  1. Electronic Flashcards: These read out the letters displayed on the card or explain the picture. These can promote hassle-free ingraining of the concept being studied.
  2. Speech-to-text technology: It is accessible through apps and allows dyslexics to sound out their thoughts for others to receive and decode. Thus, they can voice out their answers instead of writing in academics or giving instructions to others at work easily.
  3. Graph paper and lined writing books: Writing the text in a comprehensive manner proves challenging for people struggling with language-learning difficulties. These simple enablers can help streamline the work and allow doing it in a presentable manner.
  4. Reader pens: The reader pen scans the text, sounds it out to the reader on demand, and also provides storage for keeping scanned text for future reference. One of the finest examples is C-Pen which is designed to enable independent reading and writing.
  5. Text highlighters: There are colored reading overlays designed to boost the fixing of gaze while reading. Thus, the reading difficulties are mitigated appreciably and dyslexics can achieve their learning objectives or enjoy the books of their choice with little to no intervention.

The road ahead

Dyslexia tools and resources have opened a world of possibilities for people with language skill deficiencies. The work is in full swing as the ways around budget issues, accessibility, and affordability need further exploration. Research and more innovative solutions are sure to further enhance the portability of assistive tools. With such positive enhancement, the world is surely going to see more creations and innovations developed by people who are dyslexic but are born with amazing levels of imagination and exceptional creativity.

References:

  1. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (2023, September 28). Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. https://sites.ed.gov/idea/
  2. Teachers’ perceptions of assistive technology use for students with disabilities, Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, Reham Alghamdi (2021) 
  3. Relative Effectiveness of Reading Intervention Programs for Adults with Low Literacy. J Res Educ Eff. 2011;4(2):118-13, Sabatini JP, Shore J, Holtzman S, Scarborough HS.
  4. Taylor & Francis Group. (n.d.). Reading ability: lexical quality to comprehension. Taylor & Francis. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10888430701530730?src=recsys
  5. Mete, Sinem & Altınışık, Zeynep. (2016). Dyslexia and Technological Support for Learners with Dyslexia.
  6. How using assistive technology for cognitive impairments improves the participation and self-determination of young adults with intellectual developmental disabilities. J Intellect Disabil. 2021 Jun;25(2):168-182. Söderström S, Østby M, Bakken H, Ellingsen KE.

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