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Does Font Style Matter with Dyslexia? Maybe so!

Scientists and educational experts agree that dyslexia is a neurological condition for which there is currently no cure.  Of course I agree with their assessment, but I am always excited and interested to learn about how others are dealing with their dyslexia and how they may be bringing attention to dyslexia at work or in their own research.   This week I am focusing on Christian Boer, a graphic artist from the Netherlands.

The symptoms for dyslexia are as diverse as the people who have them.   Some folks complain about letters moving around the page.   Others talk about regularly inverting or reversing numbers.  Many dyslexics even complain that the reading process is a lot of mental work, and that the letters and words are simply too tiresome or cumbersome to read causing headaches and fatigue.

It’s worth noting then that many even find certain fonts, manuscripts, and writing styles more visually pleasing to their dyslexic brains than others.   I’ve heard throughout the years, from many students (children and adults) that the Verdana font or the Futura font seem “easier to read” because of the amount of white space around the letters, and because of their stylistic form.  However, there is a new font that has been developed for dyslexics by a graphic artist from Amsterdam who happens to be dyslexic himself and it’s worth taking a look at it.

Christian Boer’s research indicates that his newly created “Dyslexie” font may actually be more appealing to the dyslexic brain and helps make reading less tiresome, while also improving reading comprehension.

I’ve had the pleasure over the last year of corresponding with “Dyslexie” font creator,  Christian Boer who was also willing to share with me his initial research as well as his latest research conducted at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.  As a doctoral candidate in educational leadership with a special education focus, I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to take a sneak-peek at the research and to correspond with Boer himself. Some of his research is now posted on his website here.

Though he is a graphic artist, Boer’s primary motivation in creating the font was not to promote a designer font or graphic font masterpiece.  To the contrary, Boer wanted the “Dyslexie” font to speak to the needs of dyslexic individuals and how their brains identify information.  He felt that there was a need for a font that specifically helped with reading comprehension, so he specifically designed the new font to allow people to more easily discriminate letters, especially those that dyslexics are commonly inclined to mirror or reverse.  And while Boer may have taken white space into consideration, his primary focus was making enough subtle changes in the weight or openings of letters to allow dyslexics to more easily discriminate them, thus resulting in easier reading and ultimately improved comprehension.

Christian Boer will readily offer that the Dyslexie font is not a cure for dyslexia, rather more of a tool to help dyslexics in their reading and educational pursuits.  Take a look at the video and tell me what you think.  I’d love to know your opinion.  I do believe the font shows promise especially when accompanied by appropriate research-based interventions and multisensory teaching methods and other classroom adjustments.   Why not try it?  It just may work for you or someone you love.

To read more about the Dyslexie font or to learn more about its creator Christian Boer, check out his website!  You can also read how the  Dyslexie font compares to the well-known “arial” font.  Just be sure to click on your native language (at the top) and then choose “Project Dyslexie”.

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