Pros and cons of dyslexia

14th September 2001 at 01:00
DYSLEXIC Andrew Richbell, 30, says his disability gives him an advantage in understanding the problems his pupils have with reading. But he admits it creates difficulties, in and out of the classroom.

"I talk to the children at the beginning of the year about what dyslexia is and what they need to do to help me with it," says Mr Richbell, a teacher at Stourfield junior, Bournemouth. "They know if they distract me when I'm reading a story I will lose my place and they will not enjoy the story.

"When we do the half-yearly spelling tests, I find them almost impossible to mark. Paperwork takes an incredibly long time; it takes me three times as long to read anything as most people."

But these difficulties have been eased through the co-operation of colleagues and being allowed to use his own laptop computer.

"I don't mark my spelling tests, one of my year group colleagues does that and I mark the science tests," he says.

"Some people are very badly dyslexic and can't read what they're typing. My problem is more with the speed and accuracy of reading. I can cope better with a screen because I can scroll up and keep what I'm reading at the top of the screen. I'm a year leader and have to keep all our planning neatly written up. I type reports on the laptop and I can use it in class to project words up on to a slide screen."

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