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Breakfast Thursday, 23 January, 2003, 06:26 GMT
Beating dyslexia online
reading book
About four per cent of the population suffer severe dyslexia
A 13 year-old Surrey boy has just had his website voted into the top 12 by Internet company Yahoo!, and his remarkable achievement is made all the more incredible by the fact that he has dyslexia.

Barnaby Blackburn live on Breakfast
Barnaby registered his site with Yahoo

Barnaby Blackburn, who lives in Godalming in Surrey, launched the site two years ago.

He set up his own website after doing an internet search for dyslexia which failed to come up with anything interesting.

He registered with Yahoo! but thought no more about it.


"I was really surprised when I got an e-mail from Yahoo saying you have been named as a top site," Barnaby told Breakfast this morning.

"The main idea of the site is about overcoming dyslexia.

"It's definitely made my dyslexia better."

Support

The website provides help and support and gives a personal account of Barnaby's struggle with dyslexia.

He puts up a spelling test which changes every few weeks and even has some of his own software for sale via the site.

He generally gets about 250 hits a day - mainly from the United States.

Barnaby Blackburn's website was voted into the top 12
Barnaby Blackburn
The site gets 250 hits per day
Traffic has gone up 25%
The site offers support, advice and practical help

Barnaby is a day pupil at Charterhouse School, studying from 8am to 9pm each day.

He completes all his work on a laptop and is even allowed to use the spell checker. Barnaby says the school has been very supportive and he should be able to use audio books to help with his future studies.

Barnaby's website was one of thousands recommended to Internet company Yahoo! He says it is registering 250 hits a day from all over the world but mostly the United States and Australia.

He receives more than a hundred e-mails a week and spends a lot of time offering advice. Barnaby has had dyslexia since the age of six. One of the services his website offers is tips on remembering how to spell words and he gets lots of suggestions from the site's users.

Advice

Speaking about his own problems with spelling, he says. "I usually learn how to spell words by looking for some sort of pattern in the way the letters are arranged.

"Some of these ways are on the spelling page. I realised one day that I do not learn to spell the words in the same way as most people."

Despite the difficulties he has experienced, Barnaby is philosophical about the things he likes doing which include maths, science and web design.

He is not that keen on spelling reading and comprehension, but that hasn't stood in the way of his achievements so far.

Like many of the contributors to I am dyslexic.com, he's proof that with the right sort of help and encouragement dyslexia need not be a bar to a successful life.

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28 Oct 02 | Education
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