Dyslexia and Me: Beyond Words

I’ll tell you what, it’s bloody hard work trying to bring people together! It’s beyond words!

In the last few weeks I have started to become a lot more active on Twitter trying to get a better idea on how to blog as well as a bit of advertising for Dyslexia and Me. I started joining in the chats using #BlogHour and #bloggerschat to find out the best ways to promote blogs to a wider audience, different blogging challenges that were coming up and general chit chat, questions and networking between bloggers from around the world. I even had my first question asked on the Blog Awards #BlogHour on the 1st of April! That is no April Fool’s joke!

I realised that there is so many different hashtags for various topics! There are a lot of fashion, lifestyle and regional hashtags such as #ukbloggers, #mybchat, #bbloggers etc. Hashtagging certain words or letter combinations seems to push your blog out to a wider market. But there doesn’t appear to be one for bloggers who talk about dyslexia or specific learning difficulties. In fact, when I mentioned in these Twitter chats about my blog topic, a lot of people said they had never seen a dyslexia blog before (I know there are a fair number of them across the net). The lovely blogger of Memoirs of a Chronic Chick suggested I created my own hashtag for my blog, so I started using #spldbloggers in my posts. I thought if I expanded it to SpLD (Specific Learning Difficulties) it could be a hashtag used by bloggers who discuss dyslexia but also ADD/ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, Autism, Dyspraxia etc. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing for all the bloggers of SpLDs to have a way to promote their blogs on Twitter in the same way fashion bloggers can?

I also signed up to Bloglovin on the recommendation of two bloggers on the Twitter chat for #ScottishBloggers, G is for Gingers and Glitterbomb. It is a great way of finding new blogs to read (I’m a bit hooked on it) and other bloggers can follow your blog too! It is very much full of fashion blogs though and so I fear that Dyslexia and Me will just disappear amongst the crowd of smaller and more specific blogs.

While reading these blogs, I noticed the various ‘awards’ given to different bloggers. Most of them seemed to be related to fashion (as that’s the blogs I’ve been reading the most of in the last week), but when I’ve looked at blogs related to SpLD topics, there doesn’t seem to be the same flurry of ‘award’ pictures on their side bars. In fact, I haven’t been able to find any! Surely people who are trying to raise awareness of SpLDs should have awards on their blogs for raising their voices and trying to make it more socially acceptable to have a learning difficulty!

As I mentioned above, there seem to be a lot of blogger challenges out there too. I’ve seen it mentioned on Twitter as well as on WordPress and through a variety of blogs. As a blogger with a specific topic, a lot of these challenges just do not apply to Dyslexia and Me, but I’m so drawn to this idea of joining in with others to write about a topic set to a number of bloggers, surely a similar idea could be rolled out to SpLD bloggers? For example, my title used in today’s blog was taken from Dyslexia Scotland’s 2013 Conference topic. I thought it would be ideal to bring up the idea of hashtags and blogging under this topic!

The final thing that I spotted that I thought would be ideal for SpLD bloggers was on my friends blog, The Retired Bridgeburner. Her blog discusses Fibromyalgia and IC and I noticed that she had a link on her page saying she was part of the Fibro Bloggers Directory! Taken from their About section:

WELCOME to the movement to connect fibro bloggers, inspired by all the fibro bloggers and their stories. Blogging is a powerful tool and by connecting we can be a stronger voice. Together everyone achieves more. There are no limits to what we can accomplish together. W. Amos

So with all these points in mind, I thought it was time to take action! If there are a network of bloggers with Fibromyalgia pulling together to raise awareness on their condition, then why shouldn’t those of us with specific learning difficulties? Why can’t we have our own hashtag on Twitter to promote our blogs to each other and the rest of the Tweeting world? Where are our awards for our efforts in raising awareness? Why can’t we have a bloggers challenge that is more suited to our types of blogging style?

Spectrum Bloggers Network

With this came the birth of Spectrum Bloggers Network!

I set it up with the main specific learning difficulties I was aware of; ADD/ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, Autism, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. I have also just added a section today for Irlen Syndrome. I created a form for bloggers to fill in the details of their blog so I could add it to the network of bloggers. It has two sections for awards (monthly and annually), a badge you can put on your page to say you’re part of the network (it is rough and will need a redesign at a later date) and I have put it a section called ‘Topic Tuesday’ which will be very vague, but will be promoted on the following Monday through a weekly newsletter.

PHEW!

I’ll tell you what, it’s bloody hard work trying to bring people together! It’s beyond words!

I tried my best to get the word out to people through social media. It has had some positive feedback from people, but the uptake was slow! I purposely made the form to make it easier for me to put the details onto the network rather than people just sending me links and links and links. After day one of going live, only one fellow dyslexic blogger had taken me up on this offer and I added him to the network within 5 minutes of his email. And still I waited. I knew that it would take time to build the network up, but knowing how frustrated I had started to become trying to promote myself, I had hoped people would be biting my hand off to sign up.

I think I need to learn to have more patience. I didn’t want to come over as a spammer either. I’m living in hope that the next two to three months people become aware of this networking opportunity and sign up. I just really want to bring people together who are sharing experiences or giving support through their blogs for SpLDs so if someone is diagnosed with one they can see there is a network of people going through the same thing that they are.

By this afternoon the number of bloggers joining the network had risen. There is one on Asperger Syndrome, two on Autism, six on Dyslexia, one on Dyspraxia and one on Irlen Syndrome. A couple of the blogs do overlap though between the different sections as people can be diagnosed with more than one SpLD.

The first newsletter will be sent out tomorrow with links to all the blogs that have signed up this week, plus a link to all their latest blog posts. Next month, depending on numbers, I am thinking of starting up ‘Topic Tuesdays’ so I can add them into the newsletter on a the Monday. It should keep people interacting between the different blogs and creating awareness of the different SpLDs.

I hope with the effort I have been putting into Dyslexia and Me and Spectrum Bloggers Network that more people will discuss SpLDs in a more positive light than they have been.
I hope that teachers and educators gain a better knowledge from those of us discussing our different SpLDs.
I hope that parents of children with SpLDs realise that their kids have SO MUCH potential if they are encouraged in the correct way.
I hope that those who have been diagnosed with SpLDs realise that they are not alone and that there are positives to be taken from having an SpLD despite the struggles they may have.

So if you or anyone you know is interested in networking with Spectrum Bloggers Network, then Join the Network!

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Posted on April 6, 2014, in Awareness, Blogging and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Ok so what is all this hashtag malarkey and how do you go about using it? Like your blog makes mine look kinda flat and boring.

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    • When you’re on Twitter, if you put in something along the lines of:

      “This weeks blog on #dyslexia now online *web address* #spldbloggers” then anyone that looks up dyslexia as a term or spldbloggers as a term on Twitter will see your post 🙂 Just makes it easier to advertise to people on Twitter 🙂

      I like how your blog has the colour behind the letters to make it easier to read. I may look into paying for mine so I can do the same once I graduate from uni 🙂

      Like

  1. Pingback: Newsletter 7th April 2014 | Spectrum Bloggers Network

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