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Getting around difficulties

There are many ways in which an adult with a specific learning difficulty can overcome his disabilities.

One of the important ways is to make use of aids that are available. At lectures, a recorder can be used if difficulty is experienced in taking notes, or a friend may be prepared to use carbon paper to make a copy of his notes or to photocopy them for you. A computer can be a great help in producing work that is legible and well presented. The program will also check spelling and grammar. For those who are better at typing than writing, portable computers (laptops, web-books, or iPads) and PDAs (personal digital assistants) or smartphones can be carried around everywhere for recording information. Calculators are easily portable (and built into smartphones or even digital watches) and make arithmetical calculation easy for everyone. Spelling dictionaries, both electronic and in the form of books, are useful for adults with spelling difficulties. These were described in Chapter 6.

For those who have to take examinations, it is usually possible to arrange for allowances to be made for difficulties with reading or writing. It may be necessary to have a letter from a doctor or psychologist to obtain permission to use aids such as a computer, thesaurus, recorder, amanuensis, or spelling dictionary.

Those who continue to have difficulties with reading may benefit, from audiobooks, which are available from many libraries; or can be bought in CD format or downloaded from sites such as Some libraries have books written for adults that are easy to read. Although reading is a great source of pleasure for many people, there are other ways to enjoy oneself in a constructive way. Many adults are kept sufficiently well informed by TV, radio, and movies.

Adults who have difficulty with reading or writing should not feel hesitant about asking someone to fill in forms for them. Many adults with good literacy skills have difficulties with forms. Similarly, when taking messages, there is no reason to be embarrassed about asking to have things repeated or spelt out.

Many poor readers and spellers develop their own word book, which they carry with them. They write down all the words they have difficulty with as they meet them. They then have them for reference or to commit to memory later.

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