Not abel to let your idias flow? By Edward Horne British Dyslexia Association (BDA) This article was published in the BDA's official magazine, January 2010. Reproduced with the kind permission of the BDA.
Do you lose the flow of what you’re writing because you’re not sure about spelling? Being dyslexic, Neil Cottrell always had trouble letting his ideas flow while typing essays or reports because he constantly worried about his spelling. He would always be half focussing on the content of his work and half on how to spell it. This left him with muddled sentences, disjointed ideas and spelling that never improved. Neil has come up with a fantastic new product, for people with dyslexia, that helps solve this problem.
Neil came up with Global AutoCorrect to deal with these issues. With the software he has created users can write freely without having to think about spelling. This allows them to concentrate solely on what they are saying. Global AutoCorrect corrects spelling whilst you write and stores your common errors so you can work on problematic words in your own time. The program works behind the scenes so never distracts you from your work, or as Neil puts it: ‘sits between your computer and your keyboard.’
Global AutoCorrect allows the user’s ideas to flow when writing by automatically correcting spelling as they type, in any program. What makes it stand out from similar products is that it also acts as a learning device by listing the user’s most common errors, so they can be worked on over time.
Neil understands the difficulties dyslexics have when writing and how it can affect progress in almost all areas of their life. The philosophy of his company is to tackle complicated problems affecting the lives of dyslexic people by thinking outside the box and coming up with innovative solutions.
Neil Cottrell is the director of LexAble, a company that develops assistive software for people with dyslexia. The ideas that led to the formation of LexAble and Global AutoCorrect didn’t just spring into Neil’s mind one day, the concept had been turning around in his head since as early as primary school.
Neil, who is only 21, has achieved great things in life and has a promising career ahead of him despite having dyslexia which is inspiring for anyone, with or without the difficulty. He has some tips for people experiencing similar difficulties to those he faced:
From a young age Neil struggled with writing and throughout primary school he relied on the help of his parents, teachers and school friends. Neil tried AutoCorrect software but, although it helped, it took him a long time to add all of his spelling mistakes, only worked in certain programs and didn’t improve his spelling.
1. Develop your own personal coping strategies. I first created Global AutoCorrect because I couldn’t let my ideas flow. But a strategy doesn’t have to be that radical to make a huge difference. For example, just making sure you note down everything you think of or need to remember – it’s very simple but it really helps me.
2. Be open about your dyslexia. This can be really difficult, but it makes things so much easier in the long run. Even at university, when I was comfortable with my dyslexia, I sometimes didn’t manage it. I still don’t like asking people to read things to me or tell me how to spell a word. But ask with confidence and 99% of the time they’ll do it without question.
Global AutoCorrect is now available from: • www.LexAble.com (free trial available) • LexAble on 0800 458 1922 • Disabled Students’ Allowance • Access to Work
3. Define yourself by your strengths. This can be something to do with your dyslexia or something completely separate. Dyslexic minds often think in different ways and see new perspectives, and that really benefits any team. Or maybe you’re good at art, sport, or a subject at school. Your strengths are what make you you.
Visit www.LexAble.com for more information on Neil’s company and Global AutoCorrect.