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?
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Photo by GoodNCrazy