DyslexiAssist

DyslexiAssist is a combination of two unique features we use to enhance the readability of content for our children who suffer from dyslexia. The first, and most well-researched, is the layout itself (the spacing of the letters and sentence, etc.). The second is the font. We’ll dive into both. Stick with us here. It’s a lot of text, but it’s valuable and it’s proven to work.

The Layout

Changing the layout of text is one of the best ways to increase the readability of text for children suffering from dyslexia. A peer-reviewed study in PNAS showed that “a simple manipulation of letter spacing substantially improved text reading performance on the fly (without any training) in a large, unselected sample of…children.” PNAS, as it turns out, is “one of the world’s most-cited and comprehensive multidisciplinary scientific journals, publishing more than 3,100 research papers annually. PNAS publishes only the highest quality scientific research. Every published paper is peer reviewed and has been approved for publication by an NAS member.” You can read the study here: http://www.pnas.org/content/109/28/11455.short

The Abstract of the Study

“Although the causes of dyslexia are still debated, all researchers agree that the main challenge is to find ways that allow a child with dyslexia to read more words in less time, because reading more is undisputedly the most efficient intervention for dyslexia. Sophisticated training programs exist, but they typically target the component skills of reading, such as phonological awareness. After the component skills have improved, the main challenge remains (that is, reading deficits must be treated by reading more—a vicious circle for a dyslexic child). Here, we show that a simple manipulation of letter spacing substantially improved text reading performance on the fly (without any training) in a large, unselected sample of Italian and French dyslexic children. Extra-large letter spacing helps reading, because dyslexics are abnormally affected by crowding, a perceptual phenomenon with detrimental effects on letter recognition that is modulated by the spacing between letters. Extra-large letter spacing may help to break the vicious circle by rendering the reading material more easily accessible.”

The Results of the Study

So just how effective was the simple change of increasing the font spacing and line spacing? “Dyslexic children made significantly fewer errors in the spaced than the normal version…and they read significantly faster in the spaced than the normal version.” You can dive into the actual study to see the detailed analysis, numbers, stats, etc., but to put it simply, every single subject in the study, “all recruited in specialized hospitals where they had been diagnosed with developmental dyslexia,” all with varying degrees of dyslexia, improved in both reading speed as well as accuracy.

The Font

The font we use is called Dyslexie and was created by a dyslexic, Christian Boer from Amsterdam. From the website, www.dyslexiefont.com, we read, “People with dyslexia often swap, rotate and flip letters without noticing. The problem is that some letters are too similar to each other. Dyslexie font is designed so that every letter is unique in its own form. This counters the rotation, flipping and reversal of the letters. Sometimes they have a “crowding effect” (the apparent fusion of letters) because they are too close to each other. In addition, the font has extra distance between the letters (kerning) and between words (spaces). Dyslexic people may also overlook the beginning of a sentence and read two sentences as one. Therefore, the capital letters are bolder so the reader will easily identify the beginning of a new sentence.”

The Combination = DyslexiAssist

The combination of these two unique approaches to dyslexia provides a powerful, and thus far highly successful, tool in helping children learn to love reading. As was stated above, the main challenge is getting dyslexic children to read more. The more we take down the barriers and make it easier and more enjoyable for children to read, the more they will read, and the more they will succeed. That is our goal here at knowonder!

Help US

Current statistics show that 1 in 5 children is affected by some form of dyslexia. Even if they haven’t had an official diagnosis, a child with delayed reading development and/or other challenges in reading may very well be suffering from dyslexia. We hope you will join us by sharing DyslexiAssist with your friends and family.