wikiHow to Cope with Dyslexia

Four Methods:Getting OrganizedUsing Your Support SystemStudying and Completing TasksImproving Your Reading and Writing

Dyslexia is a learning disability characterized by difficulties with reading and writing composition, as well as high levels of creativity and ‘big picture’ thinking. Coping with dyslexia can be challenging, but it is possible. With the right attitude, strategies, tools, and support you can not only cope with dyslexia, but have a successful and productive life.

Method 1
Getting Organized

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    Use a calendar. One of the best ways for people with dyslexia to get organized is to simply use a calendar. Whether it’s a large wall calendar, a pocket journal, or an app, using a calendar helps you remember important deadlines and dates as well as use your time efficiently.[1] Don’t just mark the date something is due, also mark the date you need to start, as well as any checkpoints in-between.[2]
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    Plan your day. Related to using a calendar, planning your day can help you use your time more efficiently, which can sometimes be a challenge for people with dyslexia. Think about the quickest and most logical way of doing things. This allows you to spend more time on tasks that take you a little longer.
    • Prioritize your tasks so that you can make the best use of your time. Think about which tasks are urgent, important, or unavoidable as well as which tasks will be time-intensive for you.
    • Make a schedule to help guide your day. Try to schedule things that require a lot of focus during your more productive times of the day.
    • Remember to include short breaks in your daily plan to allow your mind to recharge and refocus.
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    Make lists. People with dyslexia often struggle with remembering things. Making lists helps you be more organized and reduces the number of things you have to remember, which can free your mind to focus on tasks that require more concentrated attention.
    • Make lists of things you need to do, remember, keep with you, pick up, etc.
    • Remember to refer to your lists throughout the day – they won’t do you any good if you don’t.[3]
    • If you need to, make a master list of your other lists and refer to that one frequently.

Method 2
Using Your Support System

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    Believe in yourself.You are your first and best source of support when coping with dyslexia. Realize you are not stupid, slow, or unintelligent. You are gifted, creative, and think outside the box.[4] Figure out what your strengths are and use them. Whether it’s your sense of humor, optimism, or artistic mind, draw on these things when you are facing difficult tasks or feeling frustrated.
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    Use technology. There are a number of different assistive devices and technology designed specifically to make life easier for people with dyslexia.[5] Making use of them allows you to be more independent.
    • Smartphones and tablets are great for their calendar functions, reminders, alarms, and more.
    • Use online spell-checkers when writing.
    • Some people with dyslexia find dictation devices and tools useful when writing.
    • Try audiobooks, text-to-speech programs and apps, or scanners that read text aloud from hard copy materials.[6]
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    Rely on friends and family.People that care about you can encourage you, as well as help you with difficult tasks. Turn to your friends and family when you are facing an especially challenging assignment and ask them to read aloud to you or review your writing. Share your challenges and successes with them.
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    Turn to a professional. Speech therapists, reading specialists, and other educational and speech professionals have specific skills and training to address dyslexia. There are also a number of online forums, support groups, and programs to assist people coping with dyslexia. Don’t be ashamed to use these valuable resources.
    • Professionals may be able to help you get accommodations and modifications to help support you.
    • Consulting with others in this area can also introduce you to more effective strategies for coping with dyslexia.

Method 3
Studying and Completing Tasks

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    Give yourself enough time.Tasks requiring reading or writing can take a little longer for people with dyslexia. Making sure you give yourself adequate time to complete your work is important. Think about how much time each assignment will take and plan accordingly.
    • For example, if you know it takes you roughly five minutes to read one full page of text, and you have 10 pages to read, you need to set aside at least an hour to complete this assignment.
    • If needed, ask your teacher how much time she expects other students to spend on the assignment. Consider doubling, or at least increasing that time for yourself.
    • Don’t wait to start on your assignments. The sooner you start, the more time you will have to work on them. If you wait, you may find that you don’t have enough time to complete them. Or you could end up doing a poor job because you were rushing.
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    Remove distractions. Anyone, not just people with dyslexia, can easily become distracted when there is something going on that is more interesting than what you are currently doing. Removing things that distract you allows you to give your full attention to tasks that require a lot of mental energy.
    • Put electronic devices on silent and turn off the music or TV.
    • Try to make sure your friends, coworkers, and family know that this is “study time” so that they can avoid interrupting you.
    • Keep only the things that you need to complete the task around you. Put away anything you don’t need.
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    Break assignments and tasks down. Instead of tackling something all at once, work on it in smaller chunks. Breaking it down allows you to focus more closely on the specific task and makes the assignment less overwhelming.[7]
    • For example, if you have a 20 page reading assignment, plan to read five pages at a time with short breaks to digest what you have read.
    • If you have to write a report, break it down so that one day you write the outline, the next day you complete the introduction, one section of the body the next day, and so forth.
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    Take frequent breaks. In between each chunk of work, take a short break. This helps you to absorb the information you just acquired. It also lets you decompress from the work you just completed. It gives your mind a fresh start for your next chunk of work.
    • After you complete a chunk of work, think briefly about what you have learned or reviewed. This way you can make sure you understand it so far or know if you need to review it more.
    • Take a minute or two to just clear your mind before you return from your break.
    • Keep your breaks to only a few minutes, longer than that and you may not be using your time wisely.
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    Study at night.You may find you can concentrate better before bedtime, when your mind and body are little more settled and there is less going on around you.[8] Try studying the most important material you have to look over at night.
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    Don’t do more than necessary. Taking on more than you need to increases the amount of work you feel is needed, which increases the amount of time it will take to complete the assignment. It also introduces more that your brain has to focus on organize.
    • This doesn’t mean be an underachiever, but it does mean you don’t need to make the task harder or more difficult than is required.
    • For example, if you have to write a report about Plato, don’t turn it into a study all of Greco-Roman antiquity.
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    Explore options to use your other strengths. When possible incorporate your other talents into your work. This can reduce the amount of reading and writing you have to do. Use your artistic talents, public speaking skills, musical ability, etc. to make the assignment a bit easier on you.
    • If you are a student, talk with your teacher about modifying your assignment so that you can draw on strengths other than reading and writing.[9] For example, can you make a poster, comic book, diorama, video, or model?
    • If it is a work assignment, try to incorporate more visual elements into it. For example, include charts, graphs, illustrations, and/or models. Or try making it an oral report that you don’t have to read.
    • Incorporate your strengths in your studying to make it more interesting and easier for you to engage with.

Method 4
Improving Your Reading and Writing

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    Practice decoding words.People with dyslexia often have difficulty decoding words and often focus so much on decoding that they don’t remember what they have read.[10] Word decoding can improve your reading fluency which will help improve your reading comprehension.
    • Use flash cards on a regular basis to familiarize yourself with frequently used words and letter combinations.
    • Read ‘easy’ text just for the decoding practice. See if you can decrease the amount of time it takes for you to read the text.
    • Read aloud often. Because of the difficulties with decoding words, reading aloud can be a challenging and sometimes embarrassing experience for people with dyslexia.
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    Ignore, then address spelling. Often when people with dyslexia are writing, they become so focused on spelling words correctly that they lose their train of thought. Try to ignore spelling when you are writing a draft. Focus only on getting your ideas out. Then, go back later and review the document for spelling mistakes.
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    Use models when writing.Because people with dyslexia may struggle with remembering correct letter and number formation, it helps to keep a picture or have someone write a great example of the characters that give you the most difficulty to refer to when needed.[11]
    • An index card with uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers handwritten on it, is an unobtrusive may to have character models.
    • Flashcards can also serve the dual purpose of reviewing letter sounds and showing what they look like.
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    Plan and review your writing.Thinking about what you want to write before you begin writing can help focus your writing. It can also help you manage your time. Reviewing your writing enables you to catch any spelling, grammatical, or other errors.
    • Think about what your main idea is, what details support it, and how you want to conclude.
    • Read your writing aloud. It is sometimes easier to spot mistakes this way.
    • Have someone else read your writing to you so you can hear how your ideas flow together.


  • Remember, you are not on your own.
  • Know that you are not unintelligent.
  • Don't be afraid to fail or to be different. Just try hard and do your best!


  • Don’t feel bad if it takes you a little more time to complete tasks, just take your time and do your best.

Article Info

Categories: Dyslexia