Social Media. Do you love it or hate it? Are you on Facebook? Twitter? Snapchat? Instagram? Pinterest? You Tube? These are the ones that I know of but I know my daughters are on lots of other platforms I have never heard of. Personally, I think there are more positives to social media than negatives. In terms of working with SEN children it is fabulous. Why? Well first, they aren’t all word based.
· You Tube is such a fabulous resource. Videos (well that’s what I still call them). Millions and millions of videos on everything!! Imagine being Dyslexic and being able to watch a video instead of having to read a book to find something out. Love it.
· Snapchat & Instagram – picture based so perfect for students with reading difficulties. A picture says a thousand words. You can follow people like you!
Secondly, social media can help students with SEN feel less isolated. They can connect with people who have similar learning differences and share experiences. They can feel like they belong and they are not alone. Facebook is the big one – we are able to share so many experiences. I like being able to see pictures of what my friends have been up to. For me it’s also a useful guide as to the mental well-being of a lot of my friends. I can see when they are struggling by the sort of posts they like or comment on. There are many, many pages and clubs that people can join, including Dyslexia and other types of SEN. We all like spending time with people who are like us, who can share our experiences and opinions. For young people, finding students who suffer the same challenges can be more difficult and Facebook gives them that opportunity.
So, bearing all this in mind, what are some of the negative things about Social Media. Well I will tell you a big one, especially for anyone with Dyslexia or an SEN – Grammar Pedants. You know who I mean and it may well be you! People who like to correct other people’s spelling and grammar. There are even memes now criticising those who don’t know how to use they, they’re and their correctly.
I have an admission to make – initially I was one of those people. Reading a word spelt wrong made me wince. Yes, I know. But I safely say I have seen the light!! I now realise that being a grammar pedant isn’t a good thing to be on social media. It can put people off using it and that is awful. At least 1 in 10 people have Dyslexia and struggle to use the right spelling and grammar. This doesn’t mean their opinion is less valid and doesn’t mean they should be ridiculed. I can read and understand what they’re saying, isn’t that the point of communication? Because somebody spelt a word wrong in a debate does that mean their opinion is any less valid? No, it doesn’t. Yet this is implied so often. “Well I might take your opinion more seriously if you used the apostrophe correctly but you’re obviously uneducated so I shall ridicule you.” Oh please. Many, many intelligent people have Dyslexia so your argument is pants!
So, if you are a grammar pedant on social media please try to become a reformed character. I know it will be hard but ween yourself off slowly. Perhaps start a facebook group for other recovering spelling and grammar pedants like yourself so you can moan privately. I know bad spelling makes you wince but this is social media – it’s not a legal document. Social Media isn’t an exclusive club for only those who know which ‘which’ to use.
P.S. I did look up whether I should use spelt or spelled and was informed that in English English (as opposed to American English) I could use either.