Microsoft Word turned this dyslexic into a writer. Might the Dell Streak or some other smatrphone/tablet computer enable me to be super-organized?
I'm not one to harp on about the problems of dyslexia, as I am far more interested in the significant and often overlooked strengths. But here we do need to state the fact: dyslexics often have problems with organization. Find a really successful dyslexic and you will usually find a highly effective PA or partner standing close by.
Why is organization a problem? Because of a deficit in short term memory and problems tracking time/date combined an intense, creative tendency to make more lateral jumps than logical ones. I'm not going to show a photograph of my office to illustrate this. Even I blush sometimes. If you want to picture it in your mind, just meditate on the phrase 'creative chaos'.
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have my brain wired any other way. But this is a non-dyslexic world and I want to fit in if possible, so I'm always on the lookout for coping strategies.
Might the smartphone be the answer? Or perhaps a netbook computer? This is the question that has been tumbling in a pleasantly chaotic way around inside my head for the past year. My problem was that the netbook is just too big to carry round with me all the time - and thus would not work as a portable calendar. And the smartphone seemed just too small to read documents from with ease as well as some of the other features I was looking for. In short, I wanted something just in between these two classes of devices and nothing was on the market.
Enter the Dell Streak. Is it a tablet computer or a smartphone? A bit of both. In other words, it was exactly the class of device I was looking for.
It is a calendar, an alarm clock, a note taking device, a camera to take photos of receipts etc, a voice recorder, access to the Internet and e-mails, lists of contacts, names of people, documents I would no longer need to carry, an infinite supply of maps and it would tell me where I am when I get lost. Oh, and it makes phone calls too.
I believe this kind of technology will make a huge difference for many adult dyslexics, liberating them to integrate more effectively with the non-dyslexic world. As to whether the Dell Streak will be THE landmark device in this respect - there was only one way for me to find out.
So two days ago I went out and bought one. Or rather, the Carphone Warehouse gave me one and I agreed to pay a £35 contract every month for the next two years. Was it worth it? I'll report on my progress over the coming months.