I’m all for great ideas. And this one seems like a ripper.
Up to 10% of the population suffer from specific learning disorders. The term dyslexia is one that most of us have heard of, and I’m not going to turn this into a lecture on reading disorders, beyond saying that this often leads to blurring, doubling or reversals of letters, resulting in significantly lowered ability to learn from written text.
There are a raft of interventions that are utilised to help, anything from multisensory approaches to using appropriate page layout. There are certain fonts like Comic Sans that are easier for people with dyslexia to read, with Times New Roman one of the worst.
And on this theme, comes the font ‘Dyslexie’, which I first heard about in the paper.
Designed by Christian Boer, having dyslexia himself, he did so to try to make reading less arduous. A series of strategies, including lowering the letters centre of gravity, enlarging their openings, slanting, and and having capitals and punctuation slightly bolded, have led to more distinct letters, which are reportedly less likely to be confused by people with dyslexia. This pays particular attention to letters that are mirror versions of each other, like ‘b’ and ‘d’, or ‘p’ and ‘q’, and similarly shaped letters like ‘i’ and ‘j’.
Whilst this all sounds logical, my teaching comes from a philosophy of evidence-based medicine, the cornerstone of modern Western medicine. If there isn’t evidence of validity, then it makes recommending it no different from recommending something I’ve read about in the Herald Sun – or in this case, the Sunday Age. And there are only two studies looking at the effect of Dyslexie with very small sample sizes. The first showed similar reading speed but decreased reading errors, which is great, but the second found the font inferior to Helvetica and Verdana.
But, as I’ve said before, I’m a practical kind of guy. It seems to make sense – and best of all – for personal use, it’s free.
And this is the big difference.
If there is no monetary outlay, and no obvious downside, and you or your child have difficulties with reading, why wouldn’t you give it a go?
Download, for free, from:
Is there anyone out there with dyslexia who has heard of this font?
Have you tried it out?
Has it made a difference in your world?