A typeface for people with dyslexia?


by David Safier

This is a fascinating idea: a typeface to make it easier for people with dyslexia to read. It's designed by a Dutch company, and its developer has dyslexia, so his design is based both on research and personal experience.

For any skeptics out there, dyslexia isn't some "My dog ate my homework" excuse for lazy kids who don't want to read. The term refers to a number of visual and brain-related traits that can rotate or reverse letters and can make it difficult to follow a line of text across a page. Along with reading, writing can be incredibly difficult, especially spelling. There's no intelligence component involved. Incredibly intelligent and gifted people can be dyslexic. It's really only a problem in a society where literacy is mandatory. Many people with dyslexia have other spatial gifts that make them especially adept at tasks that don't demand an easy facility with reading and writing.

Apparently this new font, called the Dyslexie typeface, is one of a number of attempts to make reading easier for people who tend to transpose and rotate letters. It hasn't been tested carefully, and based on what I know about reading difficulties, it only deals with part of the problem. But if it can help even a little, the wonderful world of computers can make it an easy, inexpensive tool. All you need to do is take a word-processed text, Select it and Change the font. What would be incredibly cumbersome when dealing with words on paper is just a few mouse clicks away in the digital world.