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Dyslexia and Driving: Overcoming the Obstacles

Dyslexia can affect you in many areas of your life, and driving an automobile is one of them. Learning to drive and passing your driving test has never been harder, with so many people on the roads now and both the theory and practical driving tests getting harder to pass. Being dyslexic means that you could find it even harder to learn to drive, and dyslexia can present problems for people even after they have passed their driving test. On the other hand, some dyslexics actually find it easy to drive, so understanding the disadvantages and advantages will put you in the best possible position to hit the road and stay safe!

Passing the Test

Possibly the hardest part about becoming a licensed driver is passing the test. The theory test is often difficult for dyslexics, but help is at hand for those that struggle with the written test. Test centers will arrange for special circumstances if you inform them you are dyslexic, from offering you more time to complete the test, to conducting an oral test instead of a written test. You will have to present the test center with evidence of you suffering from dyslexia if you want special arrangements to be made, and do not be afraid to use the Americans with Disabilities Act to aid your request for extra help.

When learning to actually drive a car, make sure you instructor knows you are dyslexic and talk to him or her about how you can best learn to drive. Getting your left and rights correct can often present a problem, and using visual signs is a great way of overcoming this barrier. If this is a problem for you, ask you instructor to switch left and right for points of reference, like ‘your side’ and ‘my side,’ or ‘writing hand’ and ‘watch hand.’ It doesn’t matter exactly what is said, as long as it makes sense to you and you can remember it. If you feel your instructor is not helping you to learn, moving too fast, or simply not considering your specific needs enough, then look for another instructor.

Driving with Dyslexia

Once you have passed the test and have your license, your driving experience is about to begin. Driving by yourself may be daunting at first, but be confident and practice as much as you can. You will have to react quickly to situations, and process a lot of information at the same time, which can be a problem for dyslexics. Take it slow, relax, and remember not to panic. The more you drive the more comfortable you will feel while driving a car.

There all sorts of different problems that dyslexia sufferers have to deal with that can affect their ability to drive. Problems with perception, reading, and controlling attention can be an issue, but recognizing these problems and working around them is the key to success.

Plus Points

While driving with dyslexia does present some problems, there are many cases where dyslexics make better driver than non-dyslexics. For instance, some dyslexics benefit from enhanced eye hand coordination, are much better at practical tasks, more creative, and have quicker problem solving skills. Dyslexia effects everybody in different ways, and each individual with dyslexia needs to look closely at how the condition affects them and then focus on the strengths they possess, not the weaknesses.

On Vacation

If you are considering driving while on vacation, then there are few things you should consider. Streets can be much busier, with both more cars and more pedestrians, so you need to keep alert. If you hire a vehicle, getting used to a different car may take a little while, especially if you have driven the same car since you passed your test. You also have to read up on the traffic rules and regulations if you are visiting a different country, and whether it is safe for foreigners to drive there. There is no reason not to recommend driving in Europe because the roads are well-maintained, fairly safe, and well signposted, however you need to learn the differences in the driving system once there or you could run into problems. For instance, distances on road signs are given in kilometers, not miles, as are sign that display speed limits. You need to remember this or you may end up being pulled over by the police for speeding.

There is absolutely no reason why being dyslexic should stop you from being able to drive. You may need to put a lot of work into it, but it really is worth the effort, and the sense of achievement you will feel will make up for the times you felt it was impossible. is the federal government website for comprehensive information on disability programs and services in communities nationwide. The site links to more than 14,000 resources from federal, state and local government agencies; academic institutions; and nonprofit organizations. You can find answers to questions about everything from Social Security benefits to employment to affordable and accessible housing.

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Dyslexia Association Identifies Dyslexia Warning Signs, Facts And Myths As Part Of “National Dyslexia Awareness Month”

Dyslexia Association Identifies Dyslexia Warning Signs, Facts And Myths As Part Of “National Dyslexia Awareness Month”
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What do business moguls and , entertainers Cher and , famed designer Tommy Hilfiger, renowned paleontologist Dr. John R. Horner, Olympians and , actors Danny Glover, and , and Hall of Fame Ryan all have in common? They are among the millions of individuals who have overcome dyslexia to become successful in later life. Estimates by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services suggest that as many as 15% of all individuals in the U.S. may have dyslexia or a related learning disorder.

October is Awareness Month, and the Massachusetts Branch of the International Dyslexia Association (MABIDA) is encouraging parents and caregivers to understand the warning signs for dyslexia as well as the facts and the myths about this . Most importantly, MABIDA is helping to ensure that every child affected by dyslexia receives the support necessary to overcome their and develop strong reading skills.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a language-based that involves difficulties in the area of reading, particularly with accurate and identification. Dyslexia most often results from difficulties in , or the ability to hear individual sounds in words. It is the most common , affecting people with generally average to above average intelligence including people from different ethnic and socio-. Why is it important to recognize, diagnose and treat dyslexi haIf children with dyslexia receive instruction in kindergarten and first grade, they will have significantly fewer problems learning to read at grade-level than do children who are not identified or helped until 3rd grade or after. Almost three-quarters of the children who are in 3rd grade remain in the 9th grade and typically continue to struggle with reading as adults.

What are the most common misconceptions about dyslexia?

One of the most common misconceptions is that individuals with dyslexia read “backwards.” Although many will reverse and confuse letters-particularly letters b, d and p because of their visual and sound similarities-typically the main problem relates to being able to hear sounds in words and connect those sounds with the appropriate letters.

What are some of the warning signs of Dyslexia?

The following are some of the characteristics present in a child who may have dyslexia and require further evaluation from a qualified diagnostician:
1. The child reads below his grade level.
2. The child has a slow or unusual development of language or vocabulary for his age.
3. The child has difficulty pronouncing words (aminal for animal), rhyming, or distinguishing sounds in words.
4. The child makes many letter reversals (b/d, u/n, p/q) or transposes letters and words (was/saw, on/no) (auction/caution, soiled/solid,).
5. The child has difficulty finding the words he wants to say or remembering the words to songs.
6. The child has difficulty remembering the sequence of the alphabet, months of the year, number patterns, etc.).
7. The child confuses the concepts of right and left.
8. The child has a poor concept of time and difficulty sequencing tasks.
9. The child makes many spelling errors, even when copying.
10. The child may have poor handwriting.

What Do the Experts Say?

“We tell people not to take a ‘wait and see’ approach,” says Pamela Hook, PhD, president of the Massachusetts Branch of the (MABIDA) and associate professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston. “Early and appropriate intervention is critical and will greatly increase your child’s academic success and self esteem. However, for older individuals with dyslexia it is never too late to learn to read, process and express information more efficiently.”
Many parents of struggling readers, however, are simply unaware of the appropriate interventions for their children, are confused about the specific type of professional help to seek, haven’t yet recognized the early signs of a or simply expect their child will somehow ‘outgrow’ their reading difficulty.

What Resources are Available for Help?

If you have questions about dyslexia, please contact MABIDA at 617-650-0011 or In addition, the (IDA) has published a free fact sheet for parents entitled, “Is My Child Dyslexic?” describing many of the early signs of this specific learning disorder. The organization also distributes a free “Matrix of Multisensory Structured Language Programs” which compares the similarities and differences among various, evidence-based reading instruction approaches used throughout the U.S. The early-signs fact sheet, Matrix of Multisensory Structured Language Programs and many others are available as a free download on IDA’s

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic

About RFB&D     

“Education is a Right, Not a Privilege”

nne T. Macdonald was a member of the New York Public Library’s Women’s Auxiliary in 1948 when the letters started to arrive — letters from soldiers who had lost their sight in combat during World War II. Their stories were all the same. The soldiers had returned home, many anxious to move forward with their lives. The newly-passed GI Bill of Rights provided that opportunity, guaranteeing a college education to all veterans of the war and those who would follow them.

But for these blinded veterans, other obstacles prevented them from resuming their lives, including the inaccessibility of college textbooks. Could the Women’s Auxiliary do something to help?

Macdonald then mobilized the women of the Auxiliary. Few veterans knew how to read braille, and live readers were difficult to come by, so the Women’s Auxiliary moved on to a more creative solution. Keeping in mind Macdonald’s conviction that “education is a right, not a privilege,” Recording for the Blind® — as we were then known — was born.

They transformed the attic of the New York Public Library into a studio, and began recording textbooks for the servicemen, using what was then state-of-the-art technology: six-inch vinyl SoundScriber phonograph discs that played only 12 minutes of material per side.

Demand was so great that by 1951, our organization had incorporated as the nation’s only nonprofit to record textbooks. The following year, Anne Macdonald traveled across the country to establish recording studios in seven additional cities. Today, in addition to our National Headquarters, we have several recording studios across the United States.

By 1970, we found ourselves serving an increasing number of people who had learning disabilities. In recognition of this growing member population, we changed our name in 1995 to Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, to serve all people with “print disabilities” — those who can’t effectively read standard print because of a disability.

Our former closed-books-and-headphones logo.

Today, we serve 237,298 members worldwide, circulating 533,938 titles in 2008. Even more remarkable, more than 70 percent of our membership — which includes students in kindergarten through graduate school, as well as working professionals — are recognized with learning disabilities.

Our recording technologies have changed with the times. SoundScriber discs were long ago replaced with the high-fidelity, four-track cassettes. In September 2002, RFB&D’s AudioPlus® digitally recorded textbooks on CD were released. As of July 1, 2007, RFB&D has transitioned to an all-digital library collection in our CV Starr Learning Through Listening® Library. In August 2008, RFB&D introduced AudioAccessSM. With AudioAccess, it’s now possible to download RFB&D audio textbooks directly to your computer. Visit our home page to see how many books are currently in our digital collection.

RFB&D now has a volunteer force of more than 7,700 volunteers who added 6,914 titles to our library in 2008. RFB&D has also undertaken an innovative Educational Outreach initiative — bringing our services directly into the schools to train teachers and students how to most effectively use our recorded textbooks. As our member population and our technology continues to evolve, our commitment to all of our members remains strong. We continue to be guided by Anne T. Macdonald’s simple declaration that

“Education is a right, not a privilege.”
An education is your right to embrace. Providing equal access to the printed word for our members — that is our profound privilege.

Bulldog Helps Children Beat Letter Reversals (q and p) —— (b and d)

Letter reversals are A unique problem for both parents and teachers of young children and for the children who confuse letters they feel a lot of Bulldog Letter Reversals pressure to get them right – but they have no idea how to.  The reason for this is because it’s commonly thought that letter reversals are a strong indicator of dyslexia.  However, whilst letter reversals are an indication of dyslexia and many dyslexic children do struggle with this it is also a problem for young children in general?  It’s surprisingly common in children up to the age of 7 or 8 years and especially for the letters (q and p). 

 Let me explain why.  Take for example an apple. Turn it upside down, is it still an apple? Flip it over, still an apple? With any object you choose, no matter how you hold it, it will not change what we call it. From the moment we are born and start focusing, this is what we learn. Then, when we start to learn to read, the rules change; ‘d’ if we reflect it, it becomes ‘p’ but we still see it as ‘q’ just like the apple.

 Up until now there hasn’t been a comprehensive resource for helping children actively overcome letter reversals.  Sue Kerrigan who is a teacher and private tutor helping dyslexic and struggling children learn in-spite of their learning difficulties has developed the multi-sensory Bulldog Letter Reversals games, worksheets and kinesthetic activities pack.  Being dyslexic herself she has recognized that the problem with reversals is two-fold.  Firstly, the younger children who are thinking in 3D as described with the apple example and dyslexic children.    The pack is carefully structured and is suitable for all ages from Reception to Key Stage 2 (5-12 year olds).  It is available to purchase as the Key Stage 1 pack or the complete Key Stage 1 / 2 and Dyslexia pack. The package can be purchased as a download from

Bulldog Letter Reversals