A driving instructor who found that some of his best pupils were failing the theory exam because they were dyslexic has developed a special website to help them. Craig Trickett explains
In theory, learning to drive should be something at which we dyslexics rule. It requires spatial awareness, forward planning, big-picture thinking and the ability to quickly solve problems – all talents we are said to have in bundles. But in practice, the sheer amount of processing involved with learning to drive can be overwhelming for some and, to make matters worse, before we’re allowed to do battle with the practical test, the dreaded theory test must be tamed!
A test requiring reading and comprehension – in a pressurised timed environment – is not the most dyslexic-friendly way to decide whether you’ll be cruising down the open road, or looking at the open road from the back of an Uber. If you’re dyslexic and soon due to take your driving theory test and think you may struggle, there’s no need to worry. There are adjustments you can ask for which should make things a little easier. However, while adjustments can help ease the pressure, they are useless if you’re not fully prepared for the test in the first place.
One issue with revising for the test is that most of the information you need to pass it is contained within the word-heavy 136-page Highway Code. There are some accessible computer- and app-based training materials but there’s little that fully supports the unique challenges which many dyslexic students may face. This is something Craig Trickett of the Go Direct School of Motoring is well aware of. Craig recently started to notice a strange pattern among some of his students. Students who excelled and were more than ready to take the practical part of the test, were for some reason repeatedly failing their theory exams.
After a little digging, Craig realised that many of these students were dyslexic. Wanting to give his students the best training for both parts of the test, in December Craig launched the In Theory website.
In Theory is a theory test training portal which helps users learn the Highway Code while supporting dyslexic users at every step of the way. For instance, it helps users with visual stress (Meares-Irlen Syndrome, a visual perception disorder*) by offering a selection of backgrounds and fonts. It has a pared-down version of the Highway Code (the learning zone), which gives you all the information you need to learn the rules of the road without having to suffer any of the waffle. The site also gives you the option to have the text on screen read aloud.
As well as the dyslexia-friendly features, you also get the usual practice test papers and videos to hone your skills at hazard perception.
A subscription to the ‘In Theory’ site will set you back £2.99 a month.
If you also want to practice for your theory test on the move (though obviously not while actually driving!) or want to get a little social with your test revision then a few options for bitesize learning are the official Highway Code Facebook and Twitter accounts; these are full of videos and infographics, plus the comments section allows you to giggle and study in equal parts.
For those of you that want to get immersed in a mobile world of interactive theory test revision, there’s also The Official DVSA mobile app.
If you have any tricks or tips that have helped you pass your driving test, let us known in the comments below.
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