Discouraged by Dyslexia

Discouraged by Dyslexia

Sometime in 2012 I figured that I might be dyslexic or have dyslexic traits as I frequently skip over words, rearrange them into new ones or read a sentence and put words into it that that were never there to begin with. Although I should point out that I haven’t had any tests for dyslexia as of writing this, so it could be something different but I wouldn’t know what. But because of this problem, I was put off reading books almost entirely for several years until 2012 when I decided that I should try and get into reading again.

I started looking around online to find out what it could be and several search results came back with dyslexia related content. This is where I found out that among other things, people with dyslexia can read similar shaped letters in a reverse order which can be demonstrated through the similarities of some lower case letters such as d, q, p, and b.

The easiest way work around this is to change the font to one which gives each letter a slightly more unique or curved shape. For example, when I write content for my website, I change the font in Microsoft Word to Comic Sans MS, which works fine for writing your own content but proves more difficult for reading a book, as they tend to be printed in Times New Roman or a similar font that doesn’t allow for these helpful differences.

I thought the Kindle was a good way for someone to have a library of books in one spot if they didn’t have the physical space to keep them, but I didn’t see the benefit of getting one for myself until I found out that you could adjust the text size, font and line spacing to suit your own needs. I was given a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas from my parents and couldn’t wait to download some books and start reading again. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that you could only pick from a limited selection of six fonts, none of which were suitable for helping me read.

Worrying that they had purchased me an expensive paperweight, I looked for a way to jailbreak it to see if you could put custom fonts on it. The good news was that it could be jail broken, but the bad news was that there wasn’t a way to put fonts onto it at the time. Disheartened by this, the Paperwhite ended up collecting dust for the better part of a month, until we fast-forward to February 2013.

At this point I was hoping that enough time had passed for someone to figure out how to do this and started searching for a tutorial. I lucked out and struck gold. I found a quicker way to put fonts onto the Kindle without having to jailbreak it. I immediately downloaded a copy of OpenDyslexic from dafonts.com and was stunned by how much easier it was for me to read. OpenDyslexic doesn’t look as good for reading on a computer in my opinion, but it could be due to font size or the spacing between lines, but on the Paperwhite (I haven’t seen it on other Kindles so I can’t comment on that) it makes a world of difference and I feel like I’m gliding through paragraphs instead of jumping lines and missing words.

Technology 1, learning difficulties 0