There are some fantastic support resources available for students with dyslexia; support that is likely to be equally useful to students without dyslexia. World Dyslexia Awareness Week 2018 is taking place from October 1st - 7th and this year's theme being #21stCenturyDyslexia.
In support of World Dyslexia Awareness Week we’ve pulled together some apps, advice and support we think is most valuable to students with dyslexia. Ten percent of the population are dyslexic; four percent severely so, according to the British Dyslexia Association. That is around one in every 10 people and estimated to be approximately six million people in the UK.
Like other learning differences such as dyspraxia and dyscalculia, dyslexia is linked with brain wiring, it does not affect intelligence. Dyslexia causes a change in abilities with learning, reading and writing. But, we believe dyslexia should not be the reason to stop anyone from going to university.
Dyslexia's known characteristics
Dyslexia has been linked to some exceptional positive characteristics including advanced creativity, great problem-solving skills, a lively imagination and a holistic approach to projects, all fantastically employable skills. There are many great leaders too who speak openly about their dyslexia and are brilliant role models for us all, these include Richard Branson, Stephen Spielberg and Bill Gates, all people who embraced their skills and have made fundamental impacts within their industries.
It is important to emphasise that every student's needs will be unique to them and no two students with dyslexia will require the same initial support, it's good to try a range of apps and see which ones work for each individual.
It's certainly understandable that on top of the anxiety we all experience from new environments that students with dyslexia would be apprehensive about putting themselves in a new academic environment. But, this really needn't be a barrier for furthering education.
Three popular apps for Dyslexia
- Microsoft to do: Still in it's early-days on this but it appears to be potentially very powerful. It can be used as a simple to-do list with items added and ticked off when complete, but it will also integrate with Outlook to recognise when you write something like “I’ll get that to you Thursday” and will ask you if you would like this added to your list for completion on Thursday. It also reports to intelligently suggest priorities
- Study ambiance: This app is available on Android only but has a selection of background noise tracks ranging from the crackle of a fireplace to the sound of light rain. There are six tracks available o ffline and many more online ranging from ‘thunderstorm’ to ‘library’. You can listen to the tracks on their own or combine each of them with a choice of piano, guitar, music box or Alpha waves. Alternatively you can try Noisili, a free online alternative.
- Office Lens: This free app from Microsoft turns your phone into a ‘smart’ scanner correcting perspective in a capture so as to crop a picture to fill the screen; this is useful for handwritten notes but also captures of information from whiteboards for example. You are then able to save as a picture, as a pdf, save to online storage (OneDrive) or into the free notetaking OneNote. The iOS version is also able to access the Immersive Reader feature of the Microsoft Learning Tools and will therefore read out text in close to realtime.
Don't forget that students with dyslexia may be eligible for the Disabled Student Allowances (DSA) these are grants to help meet the extra course costs students face because of a disability. DSAs are paid on top of the standard student finance package, or on their own. You don't have to pay DSAs back and they're not counted as income when working out whether you get benefits or Tax Credits. You can see if you’re eligible for DSA’s with our free HE support checker.
AbilityNet can help
Whether you are a student, student adviser, parent or guardian we can help: