Dyslexia and its many facets, shrouded to most people, inspired a man to reveal the obstacles presented by reading disabilities. Victor Widell used the story of a dyslexic friend to pull together visual details of the struggle.
He converted her words into images, put them with some special computer coding and produced a one-of-a-kind website. CNN reports that this site allows us to see through reading-disabled eyes, and experience first hand what people with dyslexia struggle to explain.
Seeing is believing, and while most people are familiar with dyslexia and its symptoms, only those who see with imperfect vision know its face. Reading disabilities are difficult enough to battle, but describing them to loved ones is its own war. Widell hopes his website can show people the tools necessary to uncover the mystery that surrounds these infirmities.
However, comments on Widell’s blog show mixed feelings and experiences with his website. People saw both pros and cons in his dyslexia simulating creation.
Wayne Zielke dropped out of school as a kid because his reading disability overwhelmed him. He commented in favor of Widell’s website.
“I hope others will see how it feels for us. Wish back when I was in school someone understood how we felt. It was [hard], very hard.”
Experiencing this simulated dyslexia, even for a minute, is daunting. I’ve got new appreciation for people with it https://t.co/fwEu7LuqAW
— Alexis Ohanian (@alexisohanian) March 6, 2016
Others were more fortunate with education. Joshua Carney admitted that he got a little help with lessons and schoolwork. He also mentioned that his dyslexia, true to its lifelong reputation, followed him well into his adulthood. He goes home at the end of each day emotionally drained and wishing for a way to explain his experiences.
“[This tool] might explain to people why things take a longer time at the office some days.”
Some people also said they have different or more difficult experiences with their reading disorders than the site demonstrates. One person commented that Widell made it too easy by keeping the first and last letters of each word stationary.
“Being dyslexic is hard. Really hard.”
Another person said that the dyslexia from which they suffer makes ‘words and letters swap into preceding and following lines’.
The varied reactions Globe News reported came as little surprise. Reading disabilities have characteristics as unique as the people they burden. Dyslexia has three hereditary forms, and they all manifest with different sets of struggles.
Motor dyslexia affects letters. Lowercase ‘b’ and ‘d’, as well as ‘p’ and ‘q’ scramble whenever these people try to read.
People who hear the word ‘house’ spoken as ‘home’ suffer from the auditory form.
The visual form tricks the eyes into reading incorrect vowels, so that the word ‘ball’ might look like ‘bell’. Widell’s website demonstration falls in more with the visual form of dyslexia.
— Sylvain Metz (@SylvainMetz56) March 7, 2016
While the identifying characteristics of dyslexia vary by form, many of the first symptoms stay static. People suffering from any reading infirmity often have trouble using the correct words when speaking, struggle with reading and spelling, and confuse ‘right’ and ‘left’.
Losing interesting in studying or behaving at a lower level of intelligence indicates certain forms of dyslexia. Conversely, some people start spending extensive amounts of time on homework. They may show anxiety when performing tasks or answering questions in front of others.
For people like Wayne Zielke, reading disabilities become overwhelming and take them away from things they love and need. Victor Widell found a way to unmask the pain of the dyslexia struggle. His website offers a bridge to close the gap between people who battle reading disabilities and those of us who never understood that struggle.
[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]