As an adult learner, I face many challenges. One of these is dyslexia. Finding out that you have a learning disability can be devastating but there are several different ways to defeat the dyslexia dilemma.
The first thing you have to do is accept that you have a disability and understand that this is not a weakness but a difference in learning. I do not see myself as being disabled. I think that we all have differences and acceptance of these differences in an educational setting is very important.
Setting learning goals is helpful. When you set your learning goals, remember that this new journey may take longer for you than other students. Be kind to yourself and be willing not to accept defeat but to move on and set new goals.
Seeking out assistive technology can be a daunting task, not every program works for every person. Many companies are willing to send out demo DVDs, so that you can try out a program before purchasing one. Using a lap top is helpful in that wherever you are, you will have access to the programs that you need. There are also speech to text programs, where you speak into the computer and it will actually write the paper using your words. Using a gadget called a Franklin is not only useful but fun too. After typing a word into this hand held technology, it will not only pronounce the word verbally but also will display the meaning of the word. For those of us who struggle with spelling, this is a wonderful tool.
Asking for help can be scary sometimes, but it’s the first step to your success. Many of us are lucky to be able to work with a tutor who can help set goals, celebrate successes and show us ways to work independently.
Being a self advocate is something I have had to learn very quickly. I realize that in some circumstances, I have to actually educate someone before I can access the resources I require for my learning. Struggling with my course load is hard enough, but I now find myself spending a lot of time explaining why I may need to have certain programs and why I need extra help sometimes. Through my experiences, I am now working with other students who are discovering their own differences. I am encouraging them to seek funding and I give them tutorials on using the assistive technology. It can be intimidating especially to someone who is just learning to use the computer.
It’s hard some days but I have some important goals to reach. I want to be a role model to my children and I have something not only to prove to myself, but to the world, that dyslexia can be defeated.