Autism and Dyslexia: there are no barriers with Inspiration
Tracy Scott, who has autism and severe dyslexia, was introduced to Inspiration later in life to help with her Open University studies. After struggling through her high school years, Tracy gained two degrees and now turns to Inspiration regularly to help with work projects and home life organisation.
What would you say the outcome of using Inspiration is for you?
I would say that in high school I only passed two standard grades because at that point I hadn't been diagnosed and didn't have any support. I always thought I'd never be able to study.
It wasn't until later, in my 20s, that I went back to college, got my diagnoses and started using assistive software, like Inspiration. Since then, I've managed to go through various levels of studies and attain two degrees.
So, that's the difference. It means I am getting the right support, using the right assistive software and I can do anything now. I feel that there are no barriers, and it just gives me the confidence to actually speak about dyslexia and autism. And hopefully me speaking about it will let other people know that help is out there.
How were you introduced to Inspiration?
I was introduced to Inspiration through a Disability Service Advisor. We discussed all my difficulties that I have being severely dyslexic and autistic; organising myself, writing concisely and being a more visual person. So, they recommended Inspiration to me.
And since then I have been using it, not only for my studies, but also my work and home life; I’ve used it for quite a few different things. I studied with the Open University and have gained two degrees, in technology and psychology but I wish I had been introduced to it earlier because I can totally see the benefits and it could have helped me during my school years.
What are the biggest challenges that Inspiration has helped you overcome?
One of the biggest challenges I had was having to write reports and essays, because my brain works a bit differently. I tended to ramble on and go down rabbit holes and write about twice as much as they were looking for. So, I spent more time reducing the word count than actually focusing on the content.
Having Inspiration meant that I could put down bullet points of what I should be writing about, and then put it into an outline and use that to keep my writing concise. The other thing was being quite a visual person, I found having the visual diagrams meant I found following the actual written stuff easier as well.
Did you find Inspiration easy to learn how to use?
I got some brief tutorials on it, but I found it was self-explanatory. And I had used other assistive technology, so I found there were a lot of crossovers with it, so it came quite easy for me. And the tutorials online helped me too; there was a lot of good support and advice out there to help me.
Example visual map:
What other assistive technology are you using? And do you use these in conjunction with Inspiration?
I use Read and Write Software and Dragon. Yes, I use them in conjunction with Inspiration; Read and Write has a screen mask that turns the screen a certain colour which is good for my dyslexia, and it works with Inspiration too. However, the good thing about Inspiration is you can just change the bubbles to whatever colour you want anyway. And Dragon – just being able to speak to the computer and it types out what I'm saying is good; and again, I found that it worked with Inspiration as well. I would then take different projects and export them out into a Windows Word Document or PowerPoint and they also worked well together.
What are the particular tasks that you use Inspiration for?
The other things I've used it for, outside of studying, is just generally arranging projects. For example, I was doing some work on the house, and I had to figure out what I needed to do first and how I was going to save the money and plan, so having a mind map of everything made it easier to plan the whole job. And then also just for planning my work, writing reports etc. I've found it a good way to be able to just get the ideas out, use the rapid-fire tool and keep typing and then without having anyone to bounce ideas off, I can kind of do it by myself using Inspiration.
Do you see this being a tool that you would use in the future?
Definitely. I've got a lot more projects I want to do. And I'm sure there's going to be more reports I need to do. I finished my studies about two years ago but I'm still using Inspiration, so I know it is something that I will continue using going forward.
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