A Kaizen Writing Tool for Even the Most Dyslexic Writers

by Aileen

Dyslexic SpellingBeing a dyslexic writer certainly has its challenges! As far back as I can remember no one could easily read what I wrote, and I had a hell of time reading what other
people wrote.

Back in grade school dyslexia wasn’t something my teachers knew much about. I clearly remember the humiliation when my third grade teacher, Mrs. White, rang the bell and announced to the class, “I need everyone’s attention.  Apparently we have a very unique student in this class, Aileen says she lives in a horse.”  The class broke out in laughter as she continued to read my paper out loud with all of it’s contextual errors, and completely wrong words.

From then on I was given names ranging from dumb, to moron, to alien… That was the one I despised the most, alien! When she gave me back my paper, there was red writing with huge letters stating the obvious…  “SPELLING!!!”

It wasn’t until I was 23 that I learned I was dyslexic, thanks to my Ballet teacher who told me to get tested. Unfortunately many children and adults go through life without ever knowing they’re dyslexic and never knowing there are techniques that can help them. That’s why the estimated number of people with dyslexia varies between 5% – 20% of the population. It’s easy to assume someone is just a poor speller, or isn’t great with comprehension, but when the signs are present, it’s good to be tested and learn how to move through the challenges dyslexia presents.

Here are some helpful websites where you can learn more about dyslexia (good both for children and adults). It really is liberating to learn how to learn…  Some of us just learn a little differently.

Symptoms of dyslexia

Information about testing for dyslexia

The International Dyslexia Association (IDA)

National Institute of Neurological Disorders local locations

Despite my numerous embarrassing dyslexic moments, I somehow managed to really enjoy writing. I just really disliked the idea of others reading what I wrote.

I would write little stories and poems in the back of my notebooks and in my text books year after year. Eventually I graduated to writing in journals, and one day G convinced me to start a blog and Kaizen Vision was born…  of course all my writing fears came along with it.

Since that time, I’ve explored many tools to help with my spelling and contextual errors, in the hopes of  finding a real solution. 

Good Writing Tools

1. Spell Check – As you might have noticed, spell check is a good tool for finding spelling errors but it’s not so great for finding words out of context such as “living in a horse”, instead of “house”. Reading out loud isn’t that great either, since my dyslexic brain tends to see what I intended to write rather than what is actually on the page.

2. Text to Speech – Text to speech software such as  Dragon Naturally Speaking Software is good for reading out loud the exact words on the page. It allows my ears to pick up incorrect wording or contextual errors. The issue occurs when a word sounds correct, but it’s actually the wrong word such as weather vs. whether and of course to my eyes they often look the same.

3. Speech Recognition – Speech recognition software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, is supposed to be good tool for transcribing a person’s speech onto a page but I’ve been trying to get it to work for the last year, but it just doesn’t seem to get my voice and far too many words are wrong when I try to use it.  I’m sure it’s me and not Dragon, since I’ve heard others rave about Dragon’s speech recognition, but for me, it’s still quite a challenge.

Living in the spirit of personal kaizen means I’m never done trying to improve and I don’t give up easily, so, in my seemingly endless pursuit of having less embarrassing moments of incorrect wording, I made an wonderful discovery!

A true gem for writers everywhere!

It has truly calmed my writer fears of wrong words.

Ready?

Here it is…

An Image of Ghotit Software

GhotitThis phenomenal software was created by a dyslexic for dyslexics. He created this software knowing that dyslexics see words and letters differently, and therefore he wrote the program to “think” and “see” with a dyslexic vision.

You run it like you would run spell check in your Microsoft Word document. Just start at the top of the text and press the Ghotit icon. It takes one sentence at a time and highlights words that are common errors and ones that don’t seem right such as “she travels the word” (world). You can press the speaker icon and it will sound it out. It will also give you a drop down menu with possible words and the option to hear the suggested words. Unlike traditional spell check, it catches most words out of context.

Typically I run spell check and then I run Ghotit, becuase  it’s fun seeing what spell check missed.But, you can go about the process however way you wish.

Here is a link to the Ghotit website where you can test it out.

And to any non-dyslexic writers out there who need another layer of proofreading to check for their own contextual errors, Ghotit doesn’t discriminate!

What are some your favorite writing tools? Please do share!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela Artemis/Powered by Intuition March 1, 2011

Aileen,
What a marvelous tool your shared today! I’m glad you didn’t give up on writing. What a loss that would be for all of us.
Angela Artemis/Powered by Intuition´s last [type] ..Alex Blackwell- Making Kindness Contagious

Reply

Aileen March 1, 2011

Thank you Angela :) It really is such a brilliant tool. I can see it being helpful non dyslexic too – as an extra spellcheck measure

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Belinda March 1, 2011

Aileen, I’m appalled that Mrs. White didn’t have the basic sense to refrain from entertaining the class at your expense. It’s bad enough that children have to endure taunts from mean-spirited peers who, understandably, are still learning what it means to be good human beings. Mrs. White may have been qualified intellectually to teach but clearly, her EQ was at the remedial level and in desperate need of a little tutoring.

Having gotten that off my chest, brava to you for having conquered your writing fears!

Reply

Aileen March 1, 2011

Hi Belinda. it really is pretty amazing how people can make such incredibly bad decisions, like humiliating a child for the comedy factor. One of the best things about life is how we can wash the slate clean and not hang on to those awful moments.

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Farnoosh March 1, 2011

Aileen, my darling, I told Andy about this at dinner and we both of us couldn’t believe it. Seriously? I know this would be the mode operandi in a place like Iranian schools where shame and blame are the tools teachers use – oh and fear too. But that’s Iran! Not the US. So sorry you had to go through this, my dear friend, and so glad you found a tool to make your life easier.
Farnoosh´s last [type] ..Life Lessons eBook- A Gift from 108 Bloggers

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Cristina | Positively Beauty March 2, 2011

I agree with Farnoosh. My primary school teacher was kind of old – and old school – and she would sometimes do this, but no teacher should ever ridicule a child in that way…
I’m sorry you had to go though that. I’ve always been good at school and teachers generally liked me, but I hated when other children were picked on.
Good that you didn’t give up on writing!!
Cristina | Positively Beauty´s last [type] ..Wordless Tuesday- sharing beauty with you

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Aileen March 3, 2011

Hi Cristina, I have extra levels of empathy when I see children and adults being picked on. I still have hope that one day all people will be more evolved and this type of thing won’t exist (I can hope, right)?

Reply

Aileen March 3, 2011

It often surprises me what some teachers and people think “work” – I know some teachers feel humiliation is a way to motivate a lazy student – fortunately it’s not so common. There are always better ways to “motivate” people. I am thrilled to have found Ghotit though, beyond thrilled!!

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Leah McClellan March 1, 2011

Aileen, Wonderful that you found such a great tool! I’m glad for you.

I agree with Belinda about the insensitivity–to say the least–of the teacher you mentioned. I had a few of those, and whether they tried to publicly humiliate me or other kids, I always thought how awful or childish it was of them.

I would love to know what a word looks like to someone with dyslexia. I wonder because I have some quirks with my reading and writing, too, though I doubt it’s related to dyslexia though I’ve joked about it. I’ve had to work hard on editing and proofreading over the years! Reading too sometimes–when I’m tired, especially. I’ll have to check out your links :)

Good for you!
Leah McClellan´s last [type] ..Peaceful Isn’t Boring- 27 Definitions of Peace

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Aileen March 1, 2011

Leah, you have offered amazing gems for Proofreading. Your e-book is incredible!
One of the many interesting things about dyslexia is the varying degrees of it. Some have it mild and other more severe.

In general words look a bit scrambled and we have to slow down and sound them out. Often times it’s a word we “know” but we just can’t seem to recognize it until we stop and sound it out or look at it longer. More often we ignore it and keep reading to get the over all gist of the text.
There are actually patterns and some combinations of letters are more prone to appear inverted. Also words can appear to be fuzzy or move around a bit – even though we know it’s an inanimate object. It tends be challenging to read one line without dropping down to another line of text and not realizing it. We tend to invert the letters in the middle of a word and get stumped when reading a word.

I hope the links are helpful :)

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Leah McClellan March 2, 2011

Very interesting, Aileen. I read through a few of your links, and there are only a couple symptoms that fit me. I’m sure I’m not dyslexic–but a few times I’ve been really stressed for quite awhile, or tired, and reading has been challenging. Not like you describe here, except for scrambled words and sounding words out (I have to slow down big time)….hmmm. There are actually many words I don’t really know how to spell until I write it and see if it looks right lol (shh don’t tell anybody :)

Thanks about the ebook–that really is the result of years and years of training myself. But I’ve always been able to read well, so not really the same challenge as dyslexia. Thanks much for describing it! The brain fascinates me.
Leah McClellan´s last [type] ..Peaceful Isn’t Boring- 27 Definitions of Peace

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vicki May 6, 2011

i am so glad you didn’t allow that one, misguided and miserable, teacher to keep you from what is clearly a tremendous talent, aileen. thank you for being an inspiration in my day! vicki :) ps keep writing, please – i want to read more… :)

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Aileen May 10, 2011

:) Thank you Vicki

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Shon February 14, 2014

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