Do typefaces specifically designed for readers with dyslexia really help them to read faster or better? 

My honest answer is that I don’t know, and I won’t be able to know until  more rigorous research is conducted.

The designers of new fonts for dyslexic readers start with the underlying belief that dyslexia is a visual problem.  Change the font to aid the eyes, and dyslexia goes away or at least decreases.

But others say dyslexia is not an eye problem but a brain processing problem.  For them changing a font is a simplistic and perhaps useless approach to a complicated brain problem.

Because type faces meant for readers with dyslexia are new (most not yet ten years old), more research needs to be done to see if they have any significant effect on reading ability.  In the meantime, some adaptations that help all readers can help dyslexic readers:

Use generous spacing between lines of type (called leading), between words, and between letters.

Avoid italic type faces.

Choose typefaces with letters perpendicular to the horizon (not slanted and not curvy).

Use sans serif type faces, those plain type faces without the tiny projections at the ends of letters.Use larger type, including type which shows the middle parts of letters larger in proportion to the ascenders and descenders.

Use strong contrast of black (not grey) lettering against a white background. Avoid white lettering against any background.

Provide good back lighting on a computer screen or with high wattage bulbs in old fashioned reading lamps.



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