How can typing help people with dyslexia?
For many people who struggle with dyslexia, the world is an incredibly complicated place. The systems in place in much of modern society simply make each potential obstacle even more challenging. From the very beginning of our lives, we are all faced with exams, interviews and papers. These are challenging for most, but even more so for those who have been diagnosed with dyslexia.
These areas of life can be severely affected by the way in which an individual processes information.
Many have found touch typing to be a useful tool which can help those with dyslexia conquer challenges associated with their condition. In order to understand this, we must first understand what dyslexia is.
What is Dyslexia?
Perhaps the most important thing to point out when discussing dyslexia is that it isn’t a sign of laziness, low intelligence, poor eyesight, or anything like that. It’s a very common condition which alters the way in which a brain processes language, both spoken and written. One of the primary factors of the condition is a difficulty reading, leading to it sometimes being referred to as a “reading disability” or “reading disorder”, but it also impacts an individual’s proficiency in spelling, writing and even speaking.
Importantly, people with dyslexia are fully capable of understanding complex ideas, and should not have their potential limited due to a lack of understanding of their capabilities. Sometimes a person simply needs a little more time to process the information, or a different way of processing the information – for example listening to an audiobook rather than reading.
If your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia, this is not something they will outgrow. Dyslexia is a lifelong condition. However, this does not mean that they don’t have the potential for happiness and success. There is a great range of tools and teaching strategies that can be used to help your child. In fact, there are many adults with dyslexia who enjoy successful careers in science, business and the arts, some even enjoy fame and fortune. Consider the likes of Steven Spielberg, Richard Branson, Whoopi Goldberg, Tim Tebow and Charles Schwab. Even the popular children’s book series ‘Captain Underpants’ was written by a dyslexic writer, Dav Pilkey.
Symptoms of Dyslexia
If you are unsure if your child has dyslexia or not, it can be difficult to know what you should do. Try reading the warning signs below. If your child has a number of these issues, it may be a good idea to get an evaluation.
Warning Signs in Preschool or Playschool
- Difficulty with recognising the letters of the alphabet;
- Combining sounds to make words is difficult;
- Learning new words is challenging;
- Struggle with sequences such as days of the week or counting;
- Difficulty rhyming;
- Having a smaller vocabulary than other children in their age group;
- Difficulty with pronunciation, or switching the first letters of words;
- Struggling to match sounds with letters.
Warning Signs in Middle School or Primary School
- Struggling with spelling and reading;
- Having trouble with remembering numbers and facts;
- Difficulty with learning grammar;
- Becoming overly reliant on memorisation;
- Confusion over the pronunciation of unfamiliar words;
- Struggling with word problems in maths;
- Having trouble with learning new skills;
- Struggling to hold a pencil;
- Confusing the order of letters.
Warning Signs in High School or Secondary School
- Struggling with reading out loud;
- Difficulty understanding idioms and jokes;
- Having trouble with summarising stories;
- Struggling to learn foreign languages;
- Struggling with time management;
- Lower reading age.
How can touch typing help people with dyslexia?
For many young students who struggle with dyslexia, touch typing has proved useful when it comes to improving other skills such as spelling, memory, vocabulary and reading. As a general rule, students who have learned touch typing at an early age performed better in tests which involved these skills, regardless of whether or not they have dyslexia.
Importantly, typing provides students with dyslexia with an alternative way to learn. The muscle memory involved in touch typing turns spelling into little more than a series of patterns on the keyboard, which makes mistakes in transposing or spelling words much less common.
Handwriting often proves particularly difficult in students with dyslexia. Mistakes made in handwritten texts are much more difficult to correct, so papers tend to end up covered in eraser marks and crossed-out words, the students struggling without the aid of spellcheck. Whether or not a student has dyslexia, touch typing is generally a much faster, more efficient and simpler way of completing their work.
In addition to this, touch typing has been shown to improve handwriting in students with dyslexia, as typing allows the student to have more freedom to experiment with writing styles. Learning touch typing will not simply allow your child to replace one skill with another, but to improve on both skills at the same time.
Owing to thought processes which are specific to brains with dyslexia, those who have this condition tend to find it easier to capture their thoughts on a computer screen or paper first, before restructuring and formatting the information at a later time.
From helping students with dyslexia to communicate effectively with their parents, teachers and peers, to helping them to compete on the world stage in later life, the benefits associated with teaching your child to touch type truly are endless. This is one skill your child won’t want to miss.