Dyslexia

Can You Make and Run a Website If You're Dyslexic?

I was diagnosed with dyslexia in my first year of high school, which basically means that I cannot write or spell, even some of the most basic words. That, however, hasn't stopped me from starting my own website where I write (or is that type) advice and how-to guides on tech related products.

Yes, this entire website was made by somebody who has a very severe form of dyslexia that prevents me from writing or spelling words in any normal situation.

How have I managed to create a website I hear you ask? Well, thankfully modern technology is amazing and one product that has made a total difference to my life is speech recognition software, which basically allows me to talk into a microphone, and interprets my voice into words which appear on my computer screen.

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that affects reading, writing and spelling, though thankfully creativity and intelligence isn't affected. My dyslexia particularly affects my writing and spelling, which is practically non-existent in a pen and paper situation. My reading, however, is actually very good, if not excellent, though I doubt I would be able to read an entire paragraph of a new book at a normal pace without stumbling over a few words.

Dyslexia for me is like a total mental block when it comes to spelling, and no matter how hard I tried to learn words, they just never stick, even some of the simplest 3 letter words. Dyslexia can also be very embarrassing, not just through school, but when you become an adult and get your very first job. There's been plenty of occasions where I've been asked to write certain things down only for me to turn around and say, umm, sorry I can't do that.

Just like most people with a condition or disability, I've never given in and allowed it to defeat me. From an early age, I've always been creative and found ways around the difficulties of dyslexia, but it was really when I got my very first desktop computer nearly 15 years ago that allowed me to explore my limits.

With a computer, I could at least attempt to type things down, something I could never do at school. Though sending an email to friends or family, was a difficult task, it was doable with a lot of help from a spelling book.

However, it was speech recognition software that totally change things for me. In particular, Dragon Naturally Speaking. Normally it would have taken me at least 30 minutes just to write a basic email with the help of a spelling book. With speech recognition software, I could write a lengthy email in less than 10 minutes.

Speech recognition software isn't quite as easy to use as it sounds. Don't expect to install the software on your PC and start talking to your computer and watch the words appear on your screen. You'll need a decent quality microphone and you have to train the programme to recognise your voice, which can take days if not weeks.

Then there's the problem of dyslexia. Because writing even basic messages was completely foreign to me, it took a long time to understand how to properly write messages or even articles for this website. When I first started using speech recognition software, most of my time was spent on forums making small talk.

In all honesty it's taken me at least 5 or 6 years of practice until I reached the level I am today. By no means am I a perfect writer, and I'm constantly learning and improving. But considering I've gone from barely being able to write a simple email message to writing 2000 plus word articles it's something I never imagined doing in my lifetime.

So, yes, with modern technology, there is hope for those with dyslexia. It isn't easy using speech recognition software and you will have to self teach yourself over a period of many months if not years, but stick with it and you'll be writing lengthy articles in next to no time.