Overcoming Dyslexia and Dyscalculia with Inspiration 10

During her undergraduate degree, Jane started to question whether the difficulties she was having were to do with her own Dyslexia and Dyscalculia. After finding little research on the subject area, Jane is now working on a PhD that focuses on these learning difficulties. We spoke with her to discuss how she uses Inspiration during her studies.

When did you start using Inspiration?

I’d already been recommended Tony Buzan’s mind mapping book when I had my educational assessment, which worked wonders for me. When I went for my needs assessment, prior to my degree, they recommended Inspiration and I have used it ever since. I like Inspiration because, if you've got a mind like mine, which is all over the place, it gives you the flexibility to move ideas around. You've got more freedom in what you do and where you put things, compared to other alternatives.

What do you use Inspiration for?

One of the things I have used it for a lot is structuring assignments. If I've got lots of ideas and they're all over the place, I put them all on a mind map. It doesn't matter that they're not making sense, but if I've got them down, then I can build a structure around that. For me, just writing a list in Word is fairly limiting. Inspiration enables more creativity.

I’ve used the templates - the ‘compare and contrast’ one is useful. I did an experiment when I did my MA and there was a report template for experiments, so I used that one too. I also use Inspiration when I'm reading different research papers and I'm trying to critique them, looking at similarities and differences. The mind map enables me to identify any links between papers. 

I'm very much into colour coding. I don't normally use images, but I've started to experiment with them. I use a confused face symbol when I’m not understanding something. If I have research that backs up my study, I use a book symbol and start linking literature to my mind map. I use notes too. I think having a text box and being able to write all your ideas in a non-restrictive way, and then close it down is useful. Also, what I find helpful is these text boxes are then transferred into Word with the rest of the Mind Map, brilliant!

What are the challenges that inspiration has helped you to overcome?

Structuring ideas! My main difficulties are processing speed and working memory, so structuring and getting my thoughts down on paper. Inspiration has been really good for that because I don't have to think about how I'm going to structure a paper. Sometimes you start an Inspiration document and without realising it, your assignment structure is sort of rolling out in front of you. At the moment it’s helping me structure my results. If I can say something in 10 words I'll normally say it in 20, so Inspiration helps me keep to the key points and summarise information.

Has Inspiration made a difference to your grades?

Hugely. Before I went to university, I was thinking I'd just be happy to come out with a 2:2, having the learning difficulties that I have. I came out with a first and a lot of it was because every single assignment I did, I used Inspiration to help me structure. It helped me put my ideas together. I would say out of all the software I had, Inspiration was the one that I went to every time. 

Would you recommend Inspiration 10?

I would hugely recommend it and I think it's more reliable than other alternatives. For people who do have learning difficulties, colour-coding and mind-mapping are two areas which really do work because it's a more visually creative way of being academic. It enables you to still end up with an assignment, but changes, for the better, how you got there.

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