Dyslexia is a lifelong learning difficulty which has a number of symptoms including difficulties reading and writing as someone with dyslexia will often confuse the order of letters in words. They may also be confused by letters that look similar and write letters the wrong way round (such as “b” and “d”). They may also have poor or inconsistent spelling.


Screen readers can help by reading both what is typed back to the person who typed it and of course what is on the screen.  This will help a person with dyslexia identify errors in their own work which they may not have spotted visually and get through paragraphs of text more accurately and easily


People with dyslexia, as well as having difficulty with reading and writing words themselves, may also have difficulty with way words are laid out on a page.  An example of this is with justified text.  Justified text is where the words in a paragraph are lined up both on the left and right hand sides of the page and consequently stretched across the page to fit.  This may cause difficulties for people with dyslexia who may find it hard to scan across the page from the end of one line to the beginning of another.


Justified text will also result in non-standard spacing between words and often over the course of the document may lead to what are called text rivers. You can see an example here where the extra spaces between the words going down the page have led to white lines flowing down the page.  This makes the text look almost like an optical illusion as the text rivers stand out on the page and take away your focus from the words themselves.  These can be particularly troublesome for people with dyslexia.  The strategy for dealing with this is encouraging organisations not to use justified text but to use left aligned text instead which has the jagged edge at the left making it easier to scan across the page from the end of one line to the beginning of another and obviously reducing text rivers as all the words will have a single space between them

Image shows an example of text rivers in a justified document