5 Great Tech Hacks for Dyslexia

millions of people are affected by dyslexiaAs well as experiencing difficulty with reading and word comprehension, being dyslexic can mean a person finds it more difficult to organise things and process information. October is Dyslexia Awarness Month, so we talked to David Hunnisett, chief technical officer at Elidir Health, who is dyslexic, about the tech tricks he uses for a smoother work and personal life.

1. Apple Keyboard shortcuts

I use Apple's OSX operating system and the keyboard shortcuts listed here are so useful for me as some who's dyslexic. It's taken a little while to learn them, but it makes everything so much quicker and helps me focus when I don't have to keep diverting my attention to menus etc., Click here for keyboard shortcuts you can use with Youtube, Firefox, Microsoft and more. 

2. Mindnode: formulating ideas and written work

If I have to do something big, like writing my thesis, I use Mindnode - a mindmapping app to plan each chapter. This means I can jot down my thoughts, ideas, links etc., in any order they come to me and the software rearranges them so they make more sense, and then I can start to see how to make my work flow.

3. Emacs and LaTex for creating documents

I find using LaTex to create presentations and documents more logical than standard word processing applications. LaTeX is a document preparation system that doesn't use the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) system. It's useful because it allows me to focus on words and structure separately, rather than being distracted by how a document looks visually. To edit text files during my job I use a text editor called Emacs, It is extensible and customisable, so functionality can be easily adapted and added to.

4. Audacity for checking document structure

After I've written the structure of something, I say it into a recording in Audacity, which I have on my desktop, and play it back. It allows me to fiddle with play speed and listen more slowly if I need to.

5. OSX/ iOS reminder and Siri for my shopping list

I use Reminders (OSX / ios) to keep up-to-date lists that I share with my wife. The location based notifications are very, very handy. I select stuff of our lists and tick it off as I go along and it disappears from the screen. To me it's much easier than seeing a written list with loads of crossings out. I can then select items we regularly need each time and insert them again, rather than re-writing. The location based reminders mean my phone knows when I've arrived in a certain place and it reminds me verbally what I was meant to do. It's made me much more organised. Ie, I might set it so it reminds me as I walk through my front door that I need to read the gas meter.

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