Help Dyslexic students with this free font

Just a quick post today to draw attention to something we have used for a while but I keep meaning to mention.

A few years ago I came across a student that was considering using a laptop instead of the iPad. I was keen to know why and it transpired that they had dyslexia and found using the on-screen keyboard difficult. It was slowing them down and they preferred a hardware keyboard.

So first thing we did was give them a Bluetooth keyboard to try out. It helped straight away to speed things up and give a slight boost in confidence with the iPad again. While I was showing them how to use the keyboard I decided to try out this font I had heard about called OpenDyslexic.

opendyslexicglyphsIt is a free font designed to help people with Dyslexia. (always found it strange that for people with trouble spelling the name for it is so bloody hard to spell! Also in this category is the word for people with a fear of long words – hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia. That is just savage!)

The font supposedly helps by designing the letters in such a way as to make commonly mixed up letters (like b and d) have a kind of “weight”. The shape of them gives the illusion of weight or gravity which is meant to help the brain distinguish them.

If a student is typing up an essay in Pages they can do so using this special font to aid their reading back. Once they are happy with their work then can just switch it into a more aesthetically pleasing font before sending/printing the work. If a teacher sends them notes they can open them in Pages and change the font to OpenDyslexic for easier reading back.

The font is free and open source and can be downloaded in a number of formats. We push the TTF version out to our iPads via our MDM (JAMF Pro) so it is available on all student and staff devices but for a personal device you can download it as a configuration package here

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