Lexxic's August Newsletter Video with Robert McLaren
Hi. There my name is Nick there James and I'm a psychologist, and the founder of lexico, today. I'm, having a discussion with Robert, McLaren Robert. McLaren, is the policy manager at policy, connect, and. Yeah, that's it. So. What I want to do is just explore your journey and understand more about your relationship, with Newark diversity, so could you tell me a bit more about your role with policy connect yeah. Thanks, I'm. A policy, manager, a policy connect so. What. That means is that since. The policy cats across part of think tank we work a lot with all-party, parliamentary groups. Because. Those across party structures, within Parliament tend. To be co-chaired, by a, conservative, manner, and a Labour politician. So. I manage the all parliamentary, group on assistive, technology, okay. You. Know we started. A, little bit over a year ago and, we cover all, the assistive, technology. Early. Years and. We may do something on care. Later. On so, we cover, the full area and that means that in, all sorts of different policy, areas we. Were able to see. The assistive. Technology to be part of the picture and so there's lots of different departments. Of government and areas in policy where we weighed. The flag for assistive technology and. Could. You tell me about your. Experience, using assistive, technology, yeah. I am used, assistive, technology. Had. The advantages knowing what it was before I. Saw. Learnt, about, opportunity. And positive, connect I started. Using assistive, technology at. University which I think probably, fairly typical that. Haven't, really had the opportunity to to use it before that and as only we, could say that students allowance I got a chance to try. It out okay, and. That was huge. For me made. A big difference, so. You obviously got the disabled, students now can you tell me a bit more about your relationship of, Hawaii's assistive, technology, in terms of relation to Miro diversity. Yeah. I'm Dyslexic. And. For. Me, overwhelmingly. That the main things are, the. Sort of very classic ones, of, spelling. And reading and. Particularly spelling, at this point so. It. Meant that. Just. Producing, text that anyone else could read or that I could read after so 15 minutes coming back to it was. Very difficult and. Assistive. Technology the one, that probably made the most difference I've kind of experimented, a bit with DTN technology, and I kind of go through phases. A little bit with it I might show a bit of a dictation kick, at the moment trying it out but. The, big one for me was. Vocalizing. Text using, text-to-speech. Because. Then, I, proofread. And because, I could prove that kid, have. Confidence in what I was, submitting. As work and. I didn't have to, ask. Anyone else to proofread, for me, which. Was a kind of. What. I did throughout school my parents were really good but it's not maybe what we do. At. The same experience, it's just like my mom is the proofread, and, something you were just moraine we're going to do yourself which is that huge independence, isn't so. In terms of assistive, technology a nice to many made a massive impact what. Was the difference of having assistive, technology in comparison, to before. When you didn't have it do you find you find in doing work quickly. Yeah. I really, think. We. Just pen paper I, couldn't. Do my job at all, and everything hatred of. Higher. Education, yeah so I had pen and paper all through school and, then, the combination of being able to type with a spellcheck, which is a form, of assistive technology that, everyone.
Uses To some extent and the text-to-speech. Completely. Changed, it. Throughout. School. And. You can have written tasks, in class I, just, wouldn't be able to finish, and. It was kind of I would sort of write, down a couple, of lines so they look like it wasn't sort of disobeying, but. Finish. And if there was some written homework sometimes. I would. Dictate it to my parents but. We leave that the combination, of being on the one hand reliant. On somebody else to be a scribe on the other hand incapable of actually finishing, the task meant. That really, the. Whole kind of academic. Side. Of. Life. To. Get going at all. And. So. The. Computer. Being, able to spellcheck. By. Stages, made me realize that I can do it and, I was looking at your LinkedIn profile, and I saw you got first kings in philosophy, so. I know that for me when. I started to get up my grades and prove it it makes it how, did it feel for you to hear first and would grade you must be so proud, yeah. I was really pleased yeah. Well. I. Didn't. Go to university for, a while because. Once. I've done with school I. Felt. Well this isn't an area where I can. Win. Which sort of plays, to my strengths so I'll. Do some other things and that was that, was fine but. Didn't mean that that I didn't. University, it didn't have a. Levels, or GCC's to go to university, so when I actually, decided that, I wouldn't give it a go, before. Getting. In first I had to sort of ain't. Get the qualifications, to get in and try, and do some work to convince myself that I'd make it once I got there so. I did an access course for a year great and. Felt. Some confidence by doing that. The. Confidence from the great getting. All the skills. Was, partly the grace that she would access course I decided, I, hadn't. I was, able to use a computer at that point in touch type. The. Text of speech yet and I was I thought. Well at. School, I. Couldn't. Sort of play by the rules if you like that in terms of the way that work was marked, but, I'm gonna now, maybe I can I'm, gonna make a conscious effort to not, just, write, some things down that I'm interested, in all kind of. Learn. For the sake of learning but almost actually be quite kind of tactical, and look at all of the learning outcomes and, all the rest of it jump. Through some hoops a bit. Before. So. I I, wanted, to get a distinction in every. Module. Massive. But. Although. It. Was kind of not. Totally, necessary because, he didn't really need those maps to go on and, they don't he just introduced, the mark so nobody was quite sure what it meant and actually, Kings didn't find either way for, me it was important, because I thought well if I if, I, do really well in this then. This kind of great unknown of what university, was going to be. Which. Maybe. Not be quite. Such a big step. Up. You can do that until you have to achieve those grades it's just must, be such a primary key when you achieve your first we're going to whether you're not sure what university, to go into that place see how such a such. An achievement so well done so talk. About your strengths so I know. That many people with dyslexia have, they, they might struggle with things like reading and, speed, or getting their things down on paper but. What do you find it what does, it give you what does it what's your superpower, what you find is your strengths.
What The qualities they're, having a second take. I. Think. Maybe one thing is helpful. Whether it comes, directly from dyslexia or just sort of experiences. But is. I. Find. That sometimes. It can take so much concentration. Just to write, some very kind of simple sentences. Actually. You get quite used to. Deep. Concentration, and. Attention to, detail so. I. Kind. Of zoned out. Everything. Else quite easily and, get, into writing and, I really enjoy. Track. Of things and forget, to go to lunch and all the rest of it is. A good day for me and how did I, know her job isn't very, about making social change and hang out policies, and rules, with. Taking. This as a technology. And making sure that helps people to be, inspired, by your experience, and using assistive technology and. Is, that true or you to evolve because of the difference it made for you yeah. I like, it obviously see the difference it may be and, also see how much. Whether. Or not somebody gets access to it it's dependent, on what policies, are there. Sable. Students allowance. Got. Access to it and it, was around that time that there was some proposed, changes to, the disabled, students allowance around the time I was graduating, so I thought well is this program that, has meant a lot to me there's, a discussion about what its future is going to be. And. I like I think. The. Most, practical, approach that's, taken. To. Neurodiversity. And when, we're thinking about assistive, technology so, thinking about tools, and, what people can do to learn. More effectively in ways in suit then be, more productive and so on and it kind of didn't. Have some of the kind of feeling, of. Just. Sort of sympathy and all the rest of it which and, this is sometimes well-meaning and. So. I kind of like the idea of people, who use assistive technology. Themselves finding. What works for them and kind of getting on with it yeah definitely, and, I think it's a great rule the apps are coming out now there's so many different, ways that people can use and, access, technology. That helps them some of them were really low costs so. In terms of your. Life, in your relationship, with the sexual assistive, technology, or people you just met in general, who's, inspired. You, always helps you a lot who Jews admire. I look up to. Who. Would that be. Yeah. I definitely had people, who I. Was. Treated, as mentors, whether or not I named. It as. That with them. Mr., happer, to develop your, thinking, and sort. Of the confidence, in taking, on such an inspiring role that you have today. Yeah. There's people that never definitely. Achieve. Really exciting things but I thought. That. So. My. Dad is also very dyslexic so, growing. Up it was kind of to see that. He. Was able to use, a teacher. I. Thought. Well I'm, not getting anywhere here in this classroom but, somewhere, there's somebody, teaching, the class in their head dyslexic, so maybe there's. Some hope there I. Did. Work with. Diversity. Nobility. After. The university. Also. Directly. After university. Heard. About a. Like. Scible, founded. By, your. Cultural who's dyslexic, yeah he. Found it out after University grades so, there, was me having just graduated, being.
Kind Of interest in assistive technology, being dyslexic I thought this person has been. Exactly where I am now. This. Very interesting. Company so. I think I called him up and said can. You. Help me out you, know kind. They. Have. A. Piece. Of software that auto corrects, spelling, as, you type it. Changes, the Spelling's, yes I quite, like that approach because. Sometimes. With assistive technology. It. Does something, but, it but or, it allows the, user to do something, but which. But, it requires as the user a little bit of clicks. Or to do something and. That might not seem like very much but. When you're relying on that technology long, actually. You're, putting a lot of time into working, the technology. And. This, is something that. It. Seemed to me to have been designed, by somebody who, was themselves a bad speller, something. About the way that, model. On which it work and, if you understand, it yourself and. You, know how the other person, feels as, well I'm, talking about maybe say him experimenting, with dictation, at the moment, you. Talk about text-to-speech being, really valuable you are there any other apps that you've sort of looked at recently, or technologies, which he found might. Use of other people, who are experiencing. Dyslexia, more new and adverse conditions, mm-hmm. I think. Another one which is good to experiment, with because there's so much variety is all of the apps to do with organization. And. I, think there's, all sorts of instance. To-do. List apps yeah, and you can't really know which one is going, to work it's just for, you it's just a kind of a feeling of, interface. But we're not cooking I've, done this one who gives you the kind of sense reward those apps as opposed to give you yeah so, I do think it's, good to, try. Out a bunch of different things and be, quite. Instinctive. I think sometimes about what works, and don't necessarily worry, about well, somebody. Else really. This work for, some whatever reason, I'm not getting on with it as absolutely, fine. I, know that like we've looked at legend apps and I was like look Trello, and. I found that very useful um I was amazed by how. Many people who are new I never saw any really useful - it's like and you, can just put things in I know absolutely and. So. If, you were. Particularly. Young yourself so, I. Just you know, you. Haven't had assistive technology, yet you were deciding whether what you go to university what do you think what advice would you give to, somebody, maybe Amanda, she's not somebody who's you. Know come out of university, is looking for a job and why didn't your wife say what what advice. For. University, I think, I. Talked. Before about. Access. To a Chia in some, ways that's a bit of a dry approach, but. I do think that. Thinking. About, sometimes. You will get a little bit oh, well. By whether or not they can get. Their heads around the subject, material. History. Or psychology. Biology. And. Could. Spend a bit more time with thinking about what the course looks like is a course.
And. I. Found. That being able to. Detach. Sometimes, from. Thinking. About philosophy which was very fun but also think okay but all I need to think about what do they want from me what as an essay what's. Their, expectations. Of an undergraduate. What's. Their marking scheme yeah and then, and in a way that. Kind of starting off mechanical, approach, can. Be. Reassuring. Because then you realize you're not being judged on, your. Sort, of pure intellectual, ability, to, understand. Whatever. It is William you're being judged on a set of tasks which are defined by people yeah, you can kind of understand, what, the shape of those tasks is and then. Set. Out some steps to achieve them I. Think that's such devices. I remember when. I actually understood. What were missing the first essay, structure walls, I did, nothing good when I saw, what is in a different subject Oh. Having. The, best practice, the goal is what good looks like makes, us use difference doesn't, matter because I'm not working from that blank piece of paper or, the unknown works yeah. Absolutely. And. Yeah. Reading literature. You. Can read it as much with an eye to. As. An example of the kind of thing you should be writing about, just the content. Of. Our work I. Think. Yeah. I, think. One thing about the, workplace, is that unless. Yours Boyden, a lot of. People. Do. Set things up and. I'm self-employed for a while but if you within, an organization. And to some extent there, are procedures, that, you're. Sort of expected, to fit into that, we talked about, in. Some organizations. There, is a project. Management app that everybody, uses and, even if it's not that this there's all kinds of ways in which. Fairly. Arbitrarily, the organization, has set itself. On. A stone. Work. Stream or, workflow. For doing certain things and that can be quite difficult. Because. Not. All of those ways of working get suit. And. So. I think one of the challenges for. Work is thinking, I. Don't. Want to just blindly, do what has been set out in, front of me when it's not working for me and. Nobody's. Nobody. Wins in that situation, as an employee, people. Can get, quite. Stressed and, the, employer isn't getting the most out of the person that they've hired but. On the other hand I think understandably. People don't, want to kind of come to work and say well. Everything has to change because. Of these are the different different ways that I learn. So. There, is a bit of a balance there which is tricky but I would make. This is correcting, for my own. Bias. Towards, one of those two I think, it's good. To be. Comfortable. With saying. There's. Nothing wrong. With the way the things are being done here but this. Doesn't quite work for me and then putting the positive spin of if, I could do it slightly differently. Then. I'd be doing. A better job yeah. So. And. Again. Not necessarily, having, to have a good reason why something doesn't fit I mean the overarching, reason is his neurodiversity. Sometimes. A particular, workflow that might be set for people is, just hard for somebody who's. To. Get around, and they just have a feeling that actually flip it in this other way that would work better for me and. Who. Knows why but that other way does work better so why, not in, a really positive way where, you're showing the benefits. Talk. To your employer's, say. And. You find that sometimes people like that do mind maps and lists. And things like that and definitely. I can see the benefit, and sometimes, that actually creates more ideas because it's a different way of thinking and, it, helps bring more creativity, to. That workflow yeah. And. Well, thank, you very much for, talking, to me today it's really interesting to find out about your. Role the, assistive technology, vital. You work with the Parliament and your, journeys, so, what. Tyshee worth your time and thank you for watching. You.