[Athen] OpenDyslexic - what's the big deal?

Sorensen, Neal B neal.sorensen at mnsu.edu
Tue Apr 23 06:07:30 PDT 2019

I have a "the more you know" post to share with all you lovely ATHEN'ians today.

This morning I was thinking about the OpenDyslexic font for whatever reason, and I remember hearing that it didn't really do much to improve reading for people with Dyslexia. Does it make sense to that a special typeset could compensate for a difficulty with decoding symbols? It's still a symbol, right?... I had a look to see if any research had been done.

I found this study: The effect of a specialized dyslexia font, OpenDyslexic, on reading rate and accuracy<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5629233/>
And this one: Dyslexie font does not benefit reading in children with or without dyslexia<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5934461/>

While these are not large population sizes, these two studies show that there doesn't seem to be a difference in reading speed or accuracy between the Dyslexia-focused fonts and Arial or Times New Roman. The second study seems to indicate that the buzz around these fonts was largely due to the designer's claim that the weight of the letters was what helps readers with Dyslexia. The research however, does not support it.

Neal Sorensen
Access Specialist
Accessibility Resources
Minnesota State University, Mankato
132 Memorial Library
Mankato, MN 56001

Phone: 507-389-5242
FAX: 507-389-1199
Email: neal.sorensen at mnsu.edu<mailto:neal.sorensen at mnsu.edu>

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