Greater Manchester Dyslexia Workshop

Last week we were part of a very exciting workshop in Manchester, hosted by Roger Broadbent from the Dyslexia Institute UK. The workshop was full of exciting ideas on how to help people who struggle with dyslexia in the Greater Manchester area and beyond. Dybuster was invited to the event to talk about our software Calcularis, software aimed at challenging the difficulties that come with dyscalculia and mathematical anxieties. We spoke about the lesser-known learning difficulty dyscalculia, the problems that come with it in everyday life and how Calcularis can be used to help overcome it.

The Workshop started with an inspiring talk from Christina, a nurse consultant, who despite struggling with reading and writing all her life, only being diagnosed with dyslexia back in 2011, has managed to gain a PhD. She raised the key points that there is an essential need for early screening of dyslexia and that the cost of a full test is too high for most families to afford.

We were then put into groups at our tables and were asked to create a mind map of ideas on how the NHS might set the example for neurodiversity in the workplace and how they could make hospitals more accessible to those with learning difficulties. It was really exciting to participate and hear what is currently happening and what improvements could be made in these spaces, such as the simple and cost affective Communication and Information Passport.

Claro Software gave a very quick and impressive talk on their applications, which there are a lot to cover but I will recommend one free application demonstrated on the day called Claro ScanPen. This App enables you to quickly take a photo of some text you’re finding hard to read, then the application processes the images and reads you back the text instantly!

Bob from Lexable showed the power of their Global AutoCorrect software that incredibly could understand phonetic spellings of words and correct them, which of course is of great use for those writing with dyslexia.

Then Matchware showed us their mind-mapping program MindView, which offered an easy to understand way of creating mind maps to help manage and organise whatever it is you or your company is working on.

We then got back into our groups and started mind-mapping (perhaps we should of used MindView) ideas on how to help the older generations that are discovering late in life that they have a learning difficulty such as dyslexia or dyscalculia. This was a complicated task but the general consensus was that there should be free screening perhaps from the GP or the NHS to provide support to those that are maybe not yet aware that they need it. There was even a mention of inter generational co-housing where younger people can find a peer to live with and they can provided mutual support for each other.

To finish of the workshop we had a surprise talk from Greater Manchester’s MEP Julie Ward she explained her position and how she will keep fighting for support in learning difficulties until the very last day of her post in the European Parliament.