Dyslexia affects about four out of ten people, one out of ten severely. It affects three times as many boys as it does girls. It is often referred to as a hidden disability, due to the fact that there can often be no obvious, outward manifestations of the problem. Sometimes the most overt symptoms are behavioral, as the individual struggles to deal with what can be an intensely frustrating condition. A condition that is more often than not inadequately or inappropriately handled in learning institutions, the workplace and the broader society in general. Even at home. The fact that so many dyslexia-sufferers are successful in whatever they do is arguably - at least in part - the result of good, old-fashioned true grit.
1 Born of Biology
Dyslexia is not the result of brain damage, laziness or delinquency, as was often (mistakenly) believed in the not too distant past. Rather, it is born of biology, and is often hereditary. Scientists suspect a single - yet to be isolated gene - is to blame, which results in unusual wiring of the brain. A contributing factor may be lipid metabolic abnormalities. Lipids are the fatty substances that insulate neurons - much like the way electrical cable is insulated with a plastic material - and keep them firing effectively. The net result of the above is that dyslexics process written language differently from people without the disability.
2 Brain Areas
Recent studies show less activity in an area of the brain called the angular gyrus in dyslexics than in those without. The AG is the part of the brain believed to decode the mass of symbols, letters and words we encounter each day into language. Dyslexics probably compensate by using other areas of the brain, for example the area associated with spoken language towards the front of the brain, hence the tendency to mouth words when reading. Another fascinating anomaly is the fact that girls process written language with both sides of their brains, whereas boys only use the left side. Which of course potentially can have very serious consequences in the case of brain trauma.
3 The Genius Within
Paradoxically, dyslexics often have excellent intelligence and can be gifted in some ways. Perhaps the most famous example of this is Albert Einstein. There are countless other examples, from all walks of life and include such world-famous and historically important illuminaries as as World War II icon Sir Winston Churchill, heart-throb actor Keanu Reeves and super-entrepreneur Richard Branson. So, in a very real sense dyslexia can be considered a mixed blessing - presenting the sufferer with tremendous challenges but often with the brainpower and personality to soar above them.
4 'A' for Attitude
Emotional and social obstacles confronting dyslexia-sufferers can often be overwhelming and result in, at best, a retiring, reclusive personality and at worst, varying degrees and forms of delinquent behavior. Private as well as institutional attitudes are changing, but there is still a long way to go. This fact is underscored by such unfortunate statistics as a disproportionately large dyslexic prison population. Dyslexia-sufferers need and deserve all the people and technical support they can get. Spark-Space is well placed to take the lead in addressing the latter.
5 Spark-Space to the Rescue
Spark-Space is an exceptionally innovative new product from U.K.-based workplace dyslexia training company Right to Write. Essentially it is a highly visual, highly interactive word processor that intuitively accommodates the more random, explosive way dyslexics process and produce information. Users are able to brainstorm and capture ideas at speed by using the program's unique mind-mapping mode. Once this 'creative flood' has been captured, the structure and content of the document can be worked on at leisure and manipulated in a myriad of ways. Each idea box has an accompanying text window for building the text body.
For users who prefer an even more graphic approach, there is a substantial clipart library to replace the idea boxes with images, whether sourced directly from the library or imported from the web.
Spark-Space bridges the gap between spatial thinking and sequential output.
Spark-Space ... for the genius in you!