‘All I see is weird objects. THEY’re twisted and curved and some even jagged. THEY scare me more than the teachers do when they yell at me for not doing my work. THEY scare me more than the monsters in my closet, the rumbles from beneath my bed. THEY are everywhere, I can’t escape them. It pains my head to look but the adults tell me I have to! Why can’t I just look at the colours of art and those pictures that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside? THEY are going to drive me crazy. THEY… THEY…THEY are known to you as letters.
When I grow up I don’t want to seen as “lazy” or “stupid”, I just want to read; like you and all the other people in my class. I try my best but there’s no letting in. Does anyone understand me?’
Dyslexia is a common impairment to one of the most advantageous and underrated skills in the history of mankind; the ability to read. Although steps are in place to assist and combat this impairment, they are small and slow in progress. It is almost hard to believe that 15-20% of the population has a language based learning disability; dyslexia being the most common. So, what exactly is dyslexia? I mean, sure, anyone can tell you that people with this hindrance find it difficult to read words or have a lack of fluency, but just what is happening?
Imagine this, a circus of acrobats on a dipping tightrope, swinging from the trapeze and swooping across the big top in an amazing aerial display. Now imagine the big top being a page in a book, the acrobats being letters and the dipping tightrope the sentences in each paragraph. As you can see, to follow succinctly and fluently, let alone accurately, all of a sudden becomes a very daunting task indeed. This is what those who suffer from dyslexia deal with each and every time they pick up a text. Reading should be a magical experience that takes you on a mystical adventure, regardless of text type. The ability to gain knowledge, comprehend and respond purposefully is to be treasured and is more often than not, very difficult to acquire if in this predicament.
Now then, how can this experience of reading become easier, more pleasurable and less stressful?
Although not truly magical, it has a similar effect. At JustZeusBooks, our fix gives a feeling just as special. OpenDyslexic font. How does it work? It not only gives each line clarity but more importantly, it alleviates the common issues of dyslexia; including letter rotation, swapping letters because they look similar and the drifting and moving of letters. This is done through its creator’s careful thought processing into giving letterforms weighted bottoms, almost nailing them to the page in place and the appreciation of kearning (space between letters).
We know that those that can easily access and interpret the written word are always at an advantage, so why disadvantage one in five children in their learning of literacy? OpenDyslexic font is not the ‘be all or end all’, nor is it the magic remedy to cure reading difficulties but it is something. It is a positive step towards creating magical experiences for even the most challenged readers. From the mouth of those offering advice to our challenged readers, “just give it a go”.