I'm Struggling to Understand This Dyslexia-Demonstrating Website

Illustration for article titled Im Struggling to Understand This Dyslexia-Demonstrating Website

Trying to explain dyslexia falls into the same category as describing color to someone without sight, or Donald Trump to a non-American: technically possible, but not likely to be pretty. This letter-shifting website helps solve that problem.

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The website works by shifting the letters in words around continuously. If you concentrate and really focus on individual words, you can understand what’s going on, but it’s much like deciphering a code. Given that dyslexia is believed to be associated with problems breaking down and confusing letters and sounds, it makes for a decent, if not perfect analogy.

Dyslexia affects people to different degrees, and according to commenters on Reddit, the site is a more extreme version than what they commonly see. Still, if it’s just a tiny bit accurate, it shows the difficulties people with dyslexia face every day.

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[Dsxyliea via Reddit]

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DISCUSSION

uxer
Trip O'Dell

While I appreciate the intent of the site, it significantly overstates the stereotypical ways that dyslexia sometimes manifests, while ignoring some of the more significant ways it effects daily life.

I was diagnosed with severe dyslexia in second grade, and struggled through school all the way through my undergraduate degree. Besides the typical ways dyslexia effected my performance (spelling, written grammar, and sequential learning), it has had other, less visible, effects in my life. I don’t have an intuitive sense of left and right, I often say things out of order, substitute similar words or transpose parts of words when I speak, or read out loud. I have trouble sounding out unfamiliar words, especially words with greek roots (phonemically, I can’t make sense of them). My handwriting and spelling on paper are largely illegible. I never learned how to take notes well.

Despite these early difficulties I did quite well in graduate school, I write very well (with the help of word processing) and I am extremely well read. I have had a very successful career as a UX leader on products you guys write about all the time, and my story is not at all unique.

The current understanding of dyslexia is that it is a systemic difference in the way that information is processed in the brain. Under FMRI scanners, we clearly “think different(ly)“, and there are many (if not more) advantages than disadvantages to this way of thinking and learning.