I can't read that! What does it feel like to have Dyslexia?
Studies show 1 in 5 people have some degree of Dyslexia.
Often times in a group I’ll find myself counting out 5 people, picking one and wondering what sort of reading troubles this person may have experienced growing up. Did this 1 in 5 dread reading? Was this 1 in 5 misunderstood and labeled as “unmotivated”? Was this 1 in 5 told they would never be able read? Were they mislabeled as having “low intelligence”?
From over 10 years of teaching, I’ve found Dyslexia to be incredibly misunderstood and not just by parents, but by fellow educators as well.
“Dyslexia is where people see the words backwards, right?”
“People with Dyslexia have an intellectual disability”
“Dyslexia can be cured”
No, No and No.
People with Dyslexia are of normal intelligence, have normal vision and can succeed in school with appropriate supports. They don’t read words backwards or see scrambled letters. Instead, Dyslexia is a language disorder that impacts a person’s ability to identify and manipulate the sounds in the language; a person with Dyslexia may have difficulty remembering words, sounding out words and may read very, very slooowwwlllyyy.
Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, Anderson Cooper and F. Scott Fitzgerald are just some of the many famous people with Dyslexia.
In an effort to create empathy and understanding for struggling readers, and to “recreate the frustration and embarrassment of everyday reading” a graphic designer in the UK, Daniel Britton, created a font to simulate the experience of having Dyslexia, based on his own experiences growing up with Dyslexia.
Wanting to see how someone other than myself would experience reading this font, I had my husband give it a go.
Three seconds into it he started guessing words, showing signs of frustration and soon enough he was questioning the process: “This is crazy, I can’t read this.”
This is the exact reaction I get from kids I tutor if they’re struggling with a text.
Did this font fully recreate the feeling of Dyslexia? No, but it successfully gave us a brief glimpse.
Now, why don’t you give it a try.