For people with dyslexia, gaming is a welcome escape from the realities of the real world where reading, writing, spelling, and comprehension is a must. In the world of gaming, dyslexics can forget about all of that and immerse themselves in a game where their disabilities might actually be a welcome advantage. As a dyslexic, I have an added advantage/ability to memorize names, places and events. This ability helps me and many others with dyslexia play and often times win a certain genre of games, games that require strategy, memory, and observation.
People who suffer from dyslexia have a much harder time than most of the population of being able to read, write, spell and comprehend. The international dyslexia association (http://www.eida.org) says that “dyslexia is a neurological condition caused by a different wiring of the brain,” meaning that there is no cure and it is a lifelong condition. Do not confuse this with a lack of intelligence, for we are not stupid or dumb, nor are we lazy, uninterested, or simpleminded.
If you suspect you or your child might suffer from dyslexia, first and foremost get tested. If diagnosed, fear not, it’s not all bad, you’ll just have to learn in a different way, and that way is by having some basic coping skills and/or mechanisms in place. I, for one rely heavily on spell check and online dictionaries. I also have co-workers read and/or edit any important documents, letters or proposals. Dyslexics actually like to read and we look for articles that are short and to the point. We look for books that have large word type and good line spacing. What we have a hard time reading are crazy typefaces, colored and small text, and we try to avoid articles with multi-syllable words.
When looking at games for dyslexic children, your goal is to purchase ones that are visually pleasing, while allowing them to use their amazing memories and observational skills. For younger children, opt for games that require pure luck and easy-to-read boards such as Snakes and Ladders, Mouse Trap, Candyland, and simple card games, like Go Fish. If challenging younger children with strategy-based games, choose Connect Four, Guess Who, or picture matching games. For older children, try Clue(do), Monopoly, 20 Questions, Password, and most card games. The key is to visually show the game while reading the directions, or easier still, paraphrase the game directions.
To minimize stress and anxiety, steer clear of games at an early age that require players to read, write or comprehend words or numbers, and those that have funky fonts and brightly colored text. Avoid games where letters or numbers are jumbled, mixed up, or nonsensical. These kinds of games will embarrass and frustrate your dyslexic child. Dyslexic individuals are more visual than non-dyslexics. We find it extremely difficult to comprehend verbal or confusing written instructions, especially long complicated game directions.
Having dyslexia should not impede your job prospects, nor should it be used as a crutch in your formal educational upbringing. Embrace your learning disability and welcome some interesting mental functions we dyslexics all have in common.
According to The Gift of Dyslexia by Ronald D. Davis, we are more curious than the average individual, we think mainly in pictures (visual) instead of words (text), we are highly intuitive and insightful, we think and perceive using all of our senses, we can experience thought as reality, and, my favorite, we have vivid imaginations.