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Can a New Font Help Dyslexics Read? (video)

Can a New Font Help Dyslexics Read? (video)

 

The Netherlands-based StudioStudio has developed a new font, Dyslexie, with the intention of making reading easier for dyslexics. This video shows how, in designing the font, StudioStudio strove to take into account the challenges that dyslexics encounter in reading, such as confusing letters like p, b, d, q.

As Dante on Scholastic‘s blog explains:

The font was designed to help people living with dyslexia read with more clarity by attacking the typographical roadbloacks dyslexics face when reading. For example, dyslexics sometimes rotate letters when they read. So a lower-case d can be flipped into a lower-case p (or q) or it can be rotated to become a lower-case b. One letter can pose a lot of problems, and when you expand that out to the other letters in the Western alphabet that look similar things can get very difficult. Dyslexie addresses this by bolding, lengthening, and opening parts of letters.

In other words, dyslexics can confuse a lower-case n and h, but dyslexie extends the top of the h to ensure there’s no mistaking it as an h. Similarly, the lower-case c and e can look alike, but dyslexie opens up the c and e to make them more individual. The font type also bolds punctuation so that dyslexics know where one sentence begins and another ends.

A study done at the Netherland’s University of Twente’s says that people with dyslexia found reading easier using Dyslexia, though such findings would need more substantiation.

My 14-year-old son Charlie, who’s on the moderate to severe end of the autism spectrum, has not been diagnosed with dyslexia. He can read some words and  still has a lot of difficulty just figuring out some of the letters of the alphabet. He types using the keyboard on his iPad with a bit more confidence than when he looks at a word or words; he does tend to confuse p, b, d, q and  i, l and v, w. Sometimes on hearing “double u” he points (logically enough) to u.

I’m curious to see if anyone in the US or an English-speaking country tests the Dyslexie font. Regardless, I’m going to see how Charlie responds to some of the font’s innovations (including how p, b, d, q are rendered, with some lines thicker than others). When Charlie was little, we were told we shouldn’t get him used to such accommodations as he wouldn’t be likely to encounter them in the “real world.” But as he’s a teenager and, after you’ve tried for so many years with still minimal results, any accommodations — especially simple ones, like darkening part of a letter — are welcome.

Truly, who among us hasn’t wondered why so many of the letters of the alphabet look so similar to other letters?

StudioStudio offers a step-by-step and graphic (in color) explanation of how they designed the Dyslexie font.

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87 comments

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6:26AM PDT on May 22, 2012

I want to know where to get this font.

4:13PM PDT on Sep 3, 2011

This makes so much sense, if it works, now that books are available on computer- just plug in the font- et voila!

5:21PM PDT on Aug 24, 2011

First ,I'll finish my sentence then I'll comment on my own comment. ......Had I not been able to read to begin with. Now look at my sentence " I've always had a mayor wish"...even NOW I swapped the y in mayor for the j in major which is what I intended. This is what I now see as humorous instead of horrifying. Actually, I may HAVE a subliminal MAYOR WISH! WHO KNOWS?

5:05PM PDT on Aug 24, 2011

I am too old to be Dyslexic. While it's true that I am to old to have been DIAGNOSED with dyslexia in school, I continue to HAVE what I now know is dyslexia. I am thrilled that SOMEBODY is UNDERSTANDING how dyslexics see and WORKING to make things easier.I taught myself to read bytrial and error.A MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH was watching my Auntie run her finger under the words as we sang from the hymnal.Not Only does the finger HOLD THE WORDS IN PLACE BUT it gives writing a cadence.It's l little like directing music with your finger.As the size of my words has grown my finger now pulses syl-a-buls.Learning cursive from the Palmer Penmanship Book which gave artistic exercises of ooooos and pushpulls to demonstrate the graceful CONNECTIVENESS of hand writing. I'm always amused when my handwriting is complemented because I KNOW it is a neat way to keep the letters from moving around (They are TIED together).Ten years ago I finally gave in to the need to type.HERE the secret was seeing that my husband DID NOT LOOK AT THE KEYBOARD WHILE TYPING.I memorized the locations Not the letters. I spend considerable time proof reading and still spend a LOT of time checking spelling with the dictionary. I have always had a Mayor wish to acquire and pass on information.I LOVE BOOKS.I OWN over two thousand (of them) ANYTHING that may give a dyslexive an AH-Ha moment is worth the effort.My amusment when "my eyes" give me a humorous misreading of the printed word could NEVER have happened had I not been

2:42PM PDT on Aug 24, 2011

I would not be surprised if a new/different font is of help to those with dyslexia. I work in a University Library and in close contact with the Learning Development Unit, which assists those with various different "disabilities".

12:34PM PDT on Aug 24, 2011

Amazing. I'm hyperlexic (and on the autism spectrum as well) yet even for me this font is a LOT more readable, which makes me wonder if yo can be dyslexic an hyperlexic at the same time.

12:17PM PDT on Aug 24, 2011

Very interesting and I hope it helps people.

11:00AM PDT on Aug 24, 2011

Cool new idea Whatever will help with the problem and give kids a chance to want to learn and continue

8:58AM PDT on Aug 24, 2011

What a great idea!

8:44AM PDT on Aug 24, 2011

This is a great idea. I have trouble distinguishing 8's and 6's on my cell phone font. I don't want to buy a new one, so I live with it. I'm hoping that this new research will encourage people who produce cell phones, web pages and anywhere there is a font, to think more clearly about the choice of font.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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