Help! Any Dyslexic Writers out there?

I will be doing a presentation called "Writing with Dyslexia-An Unfair Advantage?" at a Sci-Fi Convention in Eastern Washington State, U.S. in February, 2014. I doubt many of you can attend but I would love some feedback. I want to encourage others to not be afraid to write. I am only mildly dyslexic (I could always read...just slow) and I want to know what to tell a severe dyslexic. Any tricks you've learned to get around the disadvantages? What advantages have you found to being a visual thinker?

By the way, I wrote a post on my blog about writing with dyslexia. scablander.blogspot.com/sea... Feel free to leave a comment on any advice you have for dyslexic writers. If you can't get on (many have complained BlogSpot won't let them leave comments, let me know if I can copy and paste the reply you leave here onto my blog.

I gave up writing for twenty years because I couldn't do those things writers were suppose to do (spell perfectly, experts in grammar, prolific readers, outline, create characters using their friends and family.) A few years ago, I decided to record the "movies in my head" anyway. In my research I am shocked to find not everyone has a vivid imagination like mine...unless you are another dyslexic. We are right brained, and that is where your imagination is! I want to encourage any dyslexic with worlds in their head not to be afraid to write. There are other Agatha Christies, Jules Vernes and W.B. Yeats out there (all dyslexics) I don't want the world to lose!

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  • Hi, I have been Dyslexic for 59 years. In 6th grade before computers my language teacher came back from the US with a new method. Learn the sound Alphabet, the Alphabet, the letter, write the letter speak the letter and link it to music nodes. As I have plaid Classic music for 18 years that worked for me. It took me 2 times the work my twin sister put into education. However I got a Mater and a MBA. The writing with sound helps and some parents that understand this handicap. But on Windows 95 I programmed my own solution using HP page scanners and the reading and writing went up by a factor 4. Sincerely Flemming

  • Thank you, Flemming! I have heard music is connected to the right side of your brain so that does make sense. I write best when I am listening to instrumental music, but I figured that was just getting me in the mood.

    Would you mind if I copied your reply onto my blog in the comments to help other dyslexics? scablander.blogspot.com/sea...

    If you say no, I will understand. Or you can leave a comment directly, although many complain they have a hard time leaving comments on BlogSpot.

  • You are welcome to use my response.

  • I would teach any youngster to type ASAP. I use an AlphaSmart in the classroom and if the child can type, then these are very useful because they speed everything up, the typing is legible and they take away the problem of spelling. I am not affiliated to this product in any way. I have been using it for years (I am a teacher) and it works. I like mind mapping too. I have a very basic Squidoo page offering parents with dyslexic children advice about helping with school work. squidoo.com/dyslexia-in-chi...

  • Yeah, I write much faster with a keyboard. No stopping to remember which direction the letter goes when you are tired. I have a little netbook--small screen, no guts, but lots of battery time (about six hours.) At three pounds and 10.5 inches it's small enough to carry in a large purse, and I do. I have a photo of it on my blog with the paint rubbed off the keys. scablander.blogspot.com/sea...

    For anyone "eavesdropping" I found this review of the AlphaSmart by an adult Sci-Fi writer. larrydsmith.com/review_asma... It can't get on the internet or play music like my netbook (both useful when writing for me but maybe a distraction for others.) The upsides are the AlphaSmart runs on 2 AA batteries for 500 hours and is far more durable than my baby and looks like it costs less! This is an excellent idea!

    Do you mind if I put your comments on my blog? I looked at your squidoo page and some of those posts would also be helpful for adults writers.

  • Feel Free to put my comment on your blog. The best thing about an AlphaSmart is that it is very robust - a child in school could easily drop and damage an expensive laptop, AlphaSmarts tend to bounce back. Also it has no distractions, no internet or games - all it does is writes. That is priceless in a classroom - the last thing teachers need is someone online when they're trying to get kids to focus.

  • I'm 25, most certainly dyslexic lol, and people think I'm not when reading my writing. For me, it was years of forcing myself to write and eventually my long term memory kicked in. I can't describe how I remember things, I visualise the general look of the word like a landscape this tells me if the word is long or short. I over exaggerate how the words SPELLING sounds.

    It also makes me want to say, content over spelling is key. Schools put soooooo much emphasis on boring stuff they forget creativity. That's how I got noticed as dyslexic at 11 because my spelling was terrible but the content was more advanced than some adults.

  • Thank you, Amanda. I agree. Spelling and content should be treated separately. A kid shouldn't have marks taken off his science or history paper because of spelling. If the schools are that hung up on spelling they should put it down as a separate grade. Why discourage a budding scientist into thinking they are stupid? He might wind up flipping burgers and we will all be the poorer.

    Do you mind if I put your comment on my blog? scablander.blogspot.com/sea... I should have put that on my initial post here, but I wasn't expecting any feedback and there seems to be a stress on anonymity on this site. I'm not ashamed to say I'm dyslexic. I just recently found out and it's kind of comforting to know I'm not stupid.

  • You are so right Amanda - my writing kicked in when I was older too. I was determined to get to uni - and I made it, so i do think that the long term memory eventually kicks in. Also, teachers do not have the right skills when it comes to assessing their kid's progress. They focus on the wrong things , like spelling, and this undermines many children, but especially dyslexics. Creativity is struggling under this system. I always tell my kids that Content is King.

  • I am heavy dyslexic, writing and talking has been hugely effected due to my dyslexia. I write how I would say the sentence its a unique and odd style of writing. The problem is I know what I want to say (verbal or writing) in my head I know how I would like it sound BUT when I come to writing or speaking the words get lost in translation from my head to my mouth/eye/fingers. Luckily someone as Dyslexia Action is able to translate my work to what I want it to sound like. I have taken GCSE English three time and got a D now I am getting assistance I am looking at a B grade.

    I also have a good imagination, I will create "music videos" in my head, if I am listening to a piece of music and there's no music video I will create on in my head, or if someone is speaking to me I will try and paint a picture in my head as I see things in pictures.

    I am now 28 I didn't get diagnosed with Dyslexia until Feb this year. I've had that many barriers and chains shackle me down because of my dyslexia luckily now they are being broken.

  • I drive my husband crazy who says I talk backwards. I write like I talk, too and so have to go back and edit like crazy. Even so I don't catch them all (that's what editors and proofreaders are for.) Dyslexic don't think linearly, which can be an asset in some things, a hindrance in writing.

    I am only mildly dyslexic so I was able to hide my weaknesses from everyone--except me. It was a relief to find out my brain is just wired differently rather than defective. I'm glad you found out you weren't really "dumb" either and are now getting the help you need.

    By the way, you might go over to YouTube and search for "Dyslexic Advantage." They put on a "Conference on Dyslexia and Talent" and uploaded all their famous speakers. Here is a wrap up:

    Oh and you aren't a "heavy dyslexic"...you are an "exquisite dyslexic." (watch the video)

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