Most people are familiar with dyslexia, the learning disability that affects the way the brain processes written (and sometimes spoken) words. But unless you’re a person with the condition, it’s probably hard to imagine what dyslexia is really like.
In an attempt to bridge this gap, developer Victor Widell has created a website that’s meant to simulate how dyslexia can impact reading for some people:
“A friend who has dyslexia described to me how she experiences reading,” Widell wrote. “She can read, but it takes a lot of concentration, and the letters seem to ‘jump around.’”
As some netizens have pointed out, Widell’s website does not fully recreate the experience of dyslexia, which can manifest in myriad ways. For some people with dyslexia, like Widell’s friend, letters may appear to “jump around.” Some readers see words or letters that appear incomplete, backwards or upside-down, or they may have difficulty differentiating certain letters.
There are also some with the condition who don’t have trouble recognizing words or letters per se, but who may be unable to sound out the words. Others develop a headache whenever reading is attempted.
Despite its limitations, the website has been praised by some for providing a glimpse into the challenges that people with dyslexia face.
“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,” wrote Redditor DangerDragonDude. “The point is to give you normals a little taste of the struggle we have to endure, especially as kid trying to learn how to read.”
“Thank you for sharing,” wrote one netizen in the comments on Widell’s page. “I hope others will see how it feels for us.”
According to the BBC, an estimated 1 in 10 children experience dyslexia. Albert Einstein, business magnate Richard Branson, actor Henry Winkler and filmmaker Guy Ritchie are just some of the famous people who've had the condition.