Sally McKeown picked up some dyslexia software tips at BETT 2012 from a TV antiques expert
Jonty HearndenJonty Hearnden with Mick Thomas at BETT 2012Antiques expert Jonty Hearnden was on the Microlink stand at the BETT 2012 educational technology show at Olympia, London, to talk about his personal experience of dyslexia.

Cash in the Attic TV regular Jonty Hearnden attended Henley Business School to extend his skills as a business coach and mentor. "You never know how long a shelf life you have as a television presenter," he joked, "so you need to plan ahead."

But he found that his dyslexia was a real barrier when it came to writing a dissertation so he talked to Dr Nasser Siabi, managing director of Microlink, Britain's largest independent supplier of assistive technology.  Together they settled on Inspiration software for brain storming and planning, Dragon Naturally Speaking for getting a first draft of his work and TextHelp for proof reading and literacy support.

"Dyslexia has influenced many of my choices," said Jonty. "I wasn't able to go to university to study art history so I went into the antiques business which has been a very good path for me."

'UK entrepreneurs twice as likely to be dyslexic as general population'

Jonty is one of a number of very successful business people with dyslexia. According to Professor Julie Logan of the Cass Business School, entrepreneurs in the UK are twice as likely to be dyslexic as the general population. She found that dyslexic people display better skills in oral communication and problem-solving. They are also likely to be better at managing staff, having developed delegation skills in order to cope with their conditions.  

Jonty agrees. "There are enormous advantages to being dyslexic. You learn to think in a different way and that makes you more creative."   

His twin sons are also dyslexic and he has been able to offer them support and practical advice. They are now using ClaroRead and Dragon and making good progress. Jonty is now much in demand as a schools speaker for the British Dyslexia Association. "I am a good communicator," he says, "but without Microlink I would have struggled to get my business qualifications. Now I can move on to another stage in my career." 
Microlink Education  

Sally McKeownSal McKeown is a freelance journalist. Her book How to Help your Dyslexic and Dyspraxic Child is due for publication by Crimson publishing


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