Here's What Reading Can Really Look Like When You're Dyslexic

Individuals with dyslexia experience the written word in three dimensions. Try it out for yourself. #ProjectLiteracy

30 years ago, when Christian Boer was first learning how to read while growing up in the Netherlands, he made a lot of mistakes. His teacher didn’t attribute his challenges to what would eventually be diagnosed as dyslexia — she just told Boer to try harder, occasionally even calling him lazy and stupid. (One wonders if she’d have said the same thing to more famous dyslexics like Richard Branson or Henry Ford.)

Fortunately, awareness of dyslexia is much higher these days, and most of us have at least a vague sense that, for instance, dyslexics see the letter “b” as “d” or “p.” Yet it’s still common to assume that we can “train” dyslexic children out of their habits or that they’ll eventually outgrow the affliction on their own.


But, Boer warns, that’s not the case at all. “Dyslexia is a lifelong neurological condition,” he says. “You can explain the difference between letters to me today, but it won’t change how I see them tomorrow.”

Individuals with dyslexia experience the world three-dimensionally — not just with letters, but with everything. Paradoxically, they read more slowly but think more quickly. Their unique thinking leads many of them to become artists (including Boer, who makes a living as a graphic designer) and “visionary” thinkers who end up inventing things or starting their own businesses. People with dyslexia have trouble distinguishing between left/right and up/down, which isn’t exactly a huge problem in our 3D world — but when it comes to letters on a printed page, a persistently flipped letter has a different meaning than its mirror image.

As Boer grew older and awareness of dyslexia started to spread, he was eventually lucky enough to find compassionate educators who understood his disorder and nurtured his learning experience. He even went on to pursue graduate design school. For his thesis project, he decided to create something that would make his own life easier: a font called Dyslexie designed to counteract the singular neurological perceptions of dyslexic individuals. The font is available for use on computers and on most smartphones as well as on digital publishing tools like tablets, e-books, and more. For Boer, the font works so well that before reading almost any text sent to him over email or in a document, he lays it out in Dyslexie first.

Dyslexie has received a lot of attention, mostly because research suggests that it’s effective (though some disagree) and also because Boer has made the font available for free. Many educators and businesses already make use of Dyslexie. For instance, Project Literacy integrated the typeface into its logo.

Recalling an anecdote from one of his design clients, Boer notes, “They were creating an animated commercial and hired a dyslexic voice-over artist to narrate it. He wanted to be able to read the script fast enough to match the video’s pace, so he asked them to lay it out in Dyslexie first.”

For many of individuals and families who have used Dyslexie, the results are transformative. One mom emailed Boer to say that being able to read this font has encouraged her son to dream big.

“He is looking forward to the possibility to become an engineer, now that this is available for him,” she wrote.

In addition to the downloadable font that can be used in documents or design programs, Boer has also created a browser extension that will display any online text in Dyslexie. But for Boer, that’s still not enough. He hopes that Dyslexie one day will be available for use on even more platforms so that reading becomes almost as seamless an experience for people with dyslexia — who make up an estimated 5% to 17% of the population — as for everyone else.

Boer developed this infographic to bring the dyslexic experience to life; to make it easy to see how and why Dyslexie works so well, especially when compared to more common typefaces; and to demonstrate why the design thinking used in the creation of Dyslexie can be helpful for anyone who struggles with literacy.

Infographics

We've all felt lonely at some point in our lives. It's a human experience as universal as happiness, sadness or even hunger. But there's been a growing trend of studies and other evidence suggesting that Americans, and people in general, are feeling more lonely than ever.

It's easy to blame technology and the way our increasingly online lives have further isolated us from "real" human interactions. The Internet once held seemingly limitless promise for bringing us together but seems to be doing just the opposite.

Except that's apparently not true at all. A major study from Cigna on loneliness found that feelings of isolation and loneliness are on the rise amongst Americans but the numbers are nearly identical amongst those who use social media and those who don't. Perhaps more importantly, the study found five common traits amongst those who don't feel lonely.

Keep Reading Show less
Health

He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. By April 1940, the gates closed on the Lodz Ghetto, the second largest in the country after Warsaw.

Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities
WITI Milwaukee

Joey Grundl, a pizza delivery driver for a Domino's Pizza in Waldo, Wisconsin, is being hailed as a hero for noticing a kidnapped woman's subtle cry for help.

The delivery man was sent to a woman's house to deliver a pie when her ex-boyfriend, Dean Hoffman, opened the door. Grundl looked over his shoulder and saw a middle-aged woman with a black eye standing behind Hoffman. She appeared to be mouthing the words: "Call the police."

"I gave him his pizza and then I noticed behind him was his girlfriend," Grundl told WITI Milwaukee. "She pointed to a black eye that was quite visible. She mouthed the words, 'Call the police.'"

Keep Reading Show less
Good News


Rochester NY Airport Security passing insulting notes to travelers caught on tape www.youtube.com

Neil Strassner was just passing through airport security, something he does on a weekly basis as part of his job. That's when a contract airport security employee handed him a small piece of folded cardboard. Strassner, 40, took the paper and continued on his way. He only paused when he heard the security employee shouting back at him, "You going to open the note?"

When he unfolded the small piece of paper, Strassner was greeted with an unprompted insult. "You ugly!!!"

According to Strassner, and in newly released CCTV of the incident, the woman who handed him the note began laughing loudly.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Facebook: kktv11news

A post on the Murdered by Words subreddit is going viral for the perfect way a poster shut down a knee-jerk "double-standard!" claim.

It began when a Redditor posted a 2015 Buzzfeed article story about a single dad who took cosmetology lessons to learn how to do his daughter's hair.

Most people would see the story as something positive. A dad goes out of his way to learn a skill that makes his daughter look fabulous.

Keep Reading Show less
Lifestyle