Our Top 5 Posts on Dyslexia

Photo by Fab Lentz on Unsplash

For this week’s post, we went back into the blog archives to find our content on dyslexia that has proved most useful to our readers. We’d like to share these articles here as the ones that, going by popularity and response in the comments, resonate the most with our audience. Thank you for reading!

1. Searching for words: what to call dyslexia

This post provoked some interesting discussion in the comments section. We asked readers what they thought of referring to dyslexia as a learning disability vs. a learning difference.

This question was brought up in response to a comment left by a reader on one of our Facebook posts. We looked at how different dyslexics identify with different terms and what is the reasoning behind the labels. One of our most popular articles ever. Read more.

Continue reading Our Top 5 Posts on Dyslexia

Dyslexia: After the Diagnosis

dybuster guide after dyslexia diagnosis
Looking for guidance? Check out these resources for what to do after a dyslexia diagnosis.

If you or your child have just been diagnosed with dyslexia, the first question you might ask is: “So now what?”

We’ve put together a list of online resources that can help guide you through the post-diagnosis phase. Ready? Let’s start the journey:

Quick overview

If you need some quick guidance on what to expect and what steps to take, have a look this resource from UnderstoodMy Child Was Just Diagnosed With Dyslexia. Now What?

The article takes the reader through ten steps on what do after a child has been diagnosed with dyslexia. From exploring therapies to liaising with schools to how to talk to the child herself, the article provides concrete tips on these and more issues.

Continue reading Dyslexia: After the Diagnosis

Dybuster Colour Game – Using Colours to Map Letters to Sounds

Multi-sensory learning helps students approach a subject like spelling or maths through the use of different senses. When playing the Colour Game in Orthograph, Dybuster’s software for children with dyslexia, students associate letters with colours and also with sound. This activates new learning channels in the brain and helps children to map spoken sound to written letters, something that is difficult for dyslexics.

The video below shows the game in action and provides a voice-over guide. You can test the game yourself for free by visiting the Orthograph Trial page. No download is necessary; you can access the program in your browser.

Reading Anxiety and the Fear of Letters

Plenty of dyslexics can empathise with reading anxiety, or a phobia related to reading. This anxiety is marked by a student’s avoidance of reading, feelings of dread when asked to read, and a general disbelief in her or his own ability to read.

Though dyscalculia is less well-known than dyslexia, there are significantly more articles and research available on math anxiety as compared to reading anxiety (see our article on math anxiety). A quick Google search for math anxiety will turn up plenty of hits, while the results for a similar search for reading anxiety veer off into anxiety conditions in general. (Scroll down to read more.)

Symptoms of math and reading anxiety.
Symptoms of math and reading anxiety.

Different factors could effect the onset of reading anxiety. As children are expected to attain literacy skills at ever younger ages and ever earlier points in their educational careers, pressure on both students and teachers mounts. A child who is developmentally simply not ready to read may be made to feel inadequate when he or she cannot meet reading requirements that would pose no problem in another year’s time.

There is also no doubt that learning disabilities such as dyslexia can result in a child having a fear of reading and of letters, especially if there is a lack of diagnosis and intervention. How sad that children come to associate books with fear and shame, instead of exploration, imagination, and learning.

For more resources on dyslexia, including intervention possibilities, have a browse through our blog and feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments.

What Age Groups can Benefit from Orthograph?

This is a question we get from time to time here at Dybuster: can older students and adults benefit from using Orthograph? Or is the software just meant for younger children?

Most of the user studies examining the results of using Orthograph were done with children. The first study involved eighty children between the ages of nine and eleven. The next user study was again conducted with children, forty of whom were dyslexic and twenty-seven of whom were control subjects who were not dyslexic. Both studies showed conclusive results that the software helped dyslexic children improve their reading and writing skills by activating new channels for learning in the brain.

To test the software’s benefits for adults, another study was conducted at the University of Zurich with adult dyslexics as the test participants. The study found the following results:

  • Participants made significantly fewer mistakes after three months of using the software
  • After a four month break the improvements were still measurable
  • Adults with a higher rate of mistakes at the beginning benefited most from the software

Those are pretty encouraging results! There haven’t yet been any research studies involving Orthograph and older students (teenagers and high school students). However some of the schools that include Orthograph in their curriculum have also used the software with students up through the age of eighteen. These schools have seen improvement in these students’ reading and spelling skills.

So we do think that dyslexics in all age groups can benefit from using Orthograph. Seeing children and adults alike make progress in reading and spelling through using our software is what inspires us here at Dybuster.

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Dybuster Schools: Visiting Students Where They Learn

Swiss schools where Dybuster software is used.
Map of Swiss schools where Dybuster software is used.

Since its founding in 2007, Dybuster has had the privilege of working with over 1000 schools and more than 35,000 children (discuss: dyslexia and dyscalculia is produced by Dybuster International). In May 2015 we went to visit a couple of the schools that use our software made to help children with dyslexia and dyscalculia. Getting to meet some of these children was the best part of our school visits!

Though Dybuster software is used around the world, the programs were initially developed in Switzerland at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. So our learning games for both dyslexia and dyscalculia really took off first in Switzerland before spreading to other countries like the U.S. and Canada.

The first stop on our road trip was Uttwil, a tiny town in the canton of Thurgau. The school is also small: only 160 students in the first six grades. Our software has been part of their curriculum since 2011. The village is right on the shores of Lake Bodensee and a lovely place to visit. After first consulting with the school´s special education teacher, our CEO Christian Voegeli spent some time in the classroom.

Dybuster CEO Christian Voegeli gets feedback from a young learning software user.
Dybuster CEO Christian Voegeli gets feedback from a young learning software user.

Speaking with teachers is an important part of our school visits. Learning software does not replace traditional learning but is meant to enhance and support instruction from a teacher. By meeting with teachers in their classrooms we can find out what they need and how better to suit their requirements.

Mirjam Rutidhauser, classroom teacher at school in Uttwil.
Mirjam Rutidhauser, classroom teacher at the elementary school in Uttwil.

Next stop on the trip was Nidererurnen, another small town, this one nestled in the beautiful mountains of canton Glarus. Here we visited another elementary school and talked to the kids about the programs. They were obviously happy to see us:

Student at elementary school in Niederurnen
Student at elementary school in Niederurnen

These visits were a highlight of the end of the school year for us. In the midst of rolling out new features such as the Orthograph Module Editor and the Dybuster Cockpit, it was great to take some time and meet with the people the software is actually for: children and their teachers. Many thanks to the students and teachers who shared their school day with us!

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