Monday, December 09, 2013

The best #Sinterklaas #gift ever

One type of gifts at a Sinterklaas party are the #surprises. They may come with a rhyme, with special packaging and some surprises are beyond special, they are personal; they have an impact. The wife of my nephew is an emergency ward physician. Well educated, highly trained, with great bed site manners, all in all a lovely lady.

She explained when the topic turned to writing, why for her writing in the same way as her husband who writes professionally is impossible. The conversation moved in the direction of reading and how hard it is for her. Differentiating between "rr" "m" and "nn" is hard; it takes two three tries to know for sure what word is in front of her.

This sounded like dyslexia and, I asked her to have a look at Wikipedia with the OpenDyslexic font enabled. This was an eye opener for her. Every word showed itself the first time. Reading was not the big effort it usually is.

The OpenDyslexic font is a free font. It is easy to download. You can use it in Windows, Linux or MacOS. It can be used with Chrome and Firefox. You can select it in many Wikipedias.

For me the surprise was in learning how much of a struggle it was for her to learn to read. My respect for her has grown considerably. Learning first hand how much of a difference a different font makes is different from knowing this intellectually.

The configuration of language settings is well hidden on a Wikipedia page. My concern is how dyslexic people will find the functionality that is there to help them.

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