October: Dyslexia Awareness Month
For many in the U.S. the last week in October promises costumed faces and children trolling for candy. For others, it marks the final week in Dyslexia Awareness Month. Across the Atlantic, Daniel Britton, a London based graphic designer, has created a computer font that mimics how letters appear on the page for a reader who has dyslexia. To create this font and the poster shown below, he drew from his own struggles as a reader and a writer. This new font helps those who do not have dyslexia better understand what it’s like to see letters in an alternative way.
Letter recognition affects writing production as well. Therefore, if you are working with a student with dyslexia, assistive technology can be a helpful tool. If your student is using an Apple computer, he or she can go into the Apple menu and choose system preferences. Next, from the view menu select dictation and speech to locate dictation preferences and enable dictation with a simple click. Or, if you prefer Google Docs, select voice typing under tools. You might also try two free extensions on Chrome: Grammarly and Ginger. Additionally, there are programs you can purchase such as: Cowriter and WordQ.
At Academics West we use Reading Horizons software to bolster reading and writing fluency. Its multi-sensory software helps students to use sight, touch, and sound to recognize and produce letters and words accurately. For adolescent readers we recommend subvocalizing aloud when reading a text. When spelling a challenging word, a student can trace the word with his or her forefinger in the palm of their other hand to create tactile recall. Younger readers can try spelling in sugar to get the feel of a word or try skywriting with a forefinger to memorize the movement of a word. Using a multitude of sensory pathways can increase a student’s chances for reading and writing success.
Let’s keep sharing resources. After all, Daniel Britton’s invention has had a global reach. That’s certainly something to celebrate.
Carrie Anne Tocci, EdM