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This Is What It's Like to Have Dyslexia

A coder creates a simulation of a friend's reading challenges

By Paul Duncan

Whoopi Goldberg. Jay Leno. Richard Branson.

Like as many as one in five people worldwide, they — and many other successful people — have battled some form of dyslexia, the most common form of learning disability.

It may be experienced by up to 20 percent of the population, yet dyslexia — which affects reading, writing, spelling and speaking — is still not widely understood. But web coder Victor Widell is showing the other 80 percent what it’s like to read when you’re dyslexic.

“A friend who has dyslexia described to me how she experiences reading,” said Widell, according to a CNN report. “She can read, but it takes a lot of concentration, and the letters seem to jump around.”

Dyslexia takes many forms, and not everyone diagnosed with it experiences reading in this way, but seeing “movement” in words and letters like “d”, “b”, “p” and “q” rotated is common among dyslexics.


One commentor on Widell’s site wrote: “I am 52 and Dyslexia is not easy sometime I can read just fine. I can only type about 40 words a min cause of it. I will never be any faster. I was put in with the kids that are mentally retarded … With the words moving around in the writing above it is easy for me to read. For people that do not have it I bet they cannot even read it. Thank you for sharing I hope others will see how it feels for us.”

Another comment, posted on Reddit, said:

“I have dyslexia and ... the people saying this isn't what dyslexic people see... DUH!!! Nothing will ever show you normals exactly how it truly feels to read while dyslexic. But this is damn close.”

For more information on dyslexia, the Mayo Clinic has information on symptoms, causes, coping and support here.

Try Widell’s dyslexic reading simulation here.

Paul Duncan was formerly Editorial Director of Next Avenue. He has been a writer, editor and consultant for newspapers and news media in the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, and has a background in entrepreneurship and international business development. Read More
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