Not until he was a 22-year-old university student did Daniel Britton finish reading a book.
He is not lazy or a slow learner, as prior teachers had believed. He is dyslexic.
The labels placed on Britton as a child are not uncommon. Language-based learning disabilities affect 1 in 5 students, and dyslexia is the most prevalent. Yet the disorder is widely misunderstood.
"People who've never been dyslexic don't understand what it's like," said Britton, who lives in Hartley, England. A graphic designer, he is now using his creative talents to create greater awareness and empathy for those with dyslexia.
To do this, he designed a typeface that is intentionally difficult to read. Because it slows down reading time, it's meant to simulate how it feels to read with dyslexia. While individuals with the disorder generally have standard vision, they have difficulty relating speech sounds to written words.
This creates a barrier to learning. Britton, like many dyslexic students, failed tests. The 15 additional minutes he was granted for exams did not help because he could not read the questions. He retook math and English courses multiple times. At 18, his reading level matched that of a 10-year-old.
Britton's lack of success in school left him with limited options, so he pursued a career in the one class where he excelled: graphic design. The typeface he designed began as a self-initiated project for school. When he submitted it to the online architecture and design magazine designboom, he did not expect his work to make it past the competitive submission process.
The next morning, however, his email was flooded with responses and media requests. Not only had designboom published his work -- his typeface also resonated with audiences.
"I had no idea it would be globally accepted in the course of a few days," he said.
Britton's work has been recognized this month by national and international media. But the most gratifying responses he received were thank yous from people who now have a way to explain their struggles to their non-dyslexic friends and family members.
These messages motivated him to start a Crowdfunder campaign to create educational packs of his work. The packs will be sent to schools around the world that want to use the typeface. He wants to raise 2,000 British pounds (about $3,163.60) to cover production and shipping costs until revenues make the project self-sustaining.
Each pack will include posters and booklets featuring the typeface. It is aimed to educate parents and teachers who do not understand dyslexia. Britton is targeting both groups because he believes both are crucial in supporting a dyslexic student's education.
"This is everyone's responsibility," he said. "This whole pack needs to help everyone in one hit."
If people have a greater empathy for dyslexia, the learning disorder can be identified faster, and treated more effectively, allowing students to learn at the same pace as their peers, Britton said. For instance, dyslexic children learn better using audio or visual styles instead of text.
And for them, equal education means equal opportunity.
"I would've liked to have had more options when I was younger," he said. "If it (my disability) was picked up earlier or treated correctly, who knows what I could've done."
Even so, Britton would not choose to live without dyslexia. Instead, he thinks his experience can help people who have long been misunderstood. This is why he wants the packs to reach as many schools as possible, as quickly as possible.
"If I could help them, that'd mean everything," he said.
STOCKHOLM AND WASHINGTON — Dec. 11, 2014 —
The Analysis Division of Tobii Technology, the world's global leader in eye-tracking research solutions, announced today that it has started shipping Tobii Glasses 2 to customers around the world.
The company’s newest wearable eye tracker is being distributed to Tobii customers, which include many of the world’s leading behavioral, usability and market research labs within top universities, private research institutions, technology companies, industrial companies and major consumer packaged goods corporations.
Tobii Glasses 2 shows exactly what a person is looking at in real time, while moving around freely in any real-world environment. This helps broaden insights into human behavior with eye tracking in a wider range of research than before, including in-store shopper marketing, mobile testing, sports performance, knowledge transfer and social interaction studies. Because the Glasses 2 are so easy to use, they provide an eye-tracking solution of value even for those who may be using eye-tracking tools for the first time.
“We use the glasses in an undergraduate lab, so the simple setup and ease of use are very important,” said Dennis Young, specialist-teacher at Michigan State University, School of Packaging. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to give our students exposure to this innovative technology. Due to the rapid evolution of eye tracking and its integration into market research and usability, we feel that by using the latest tools now, it will bolster our students’ knowledge and competitive skill set as they embark on careers within the packaging industry.”
“We’re excited to be delivering Glasses 2 to the research community,” said Tom Englund, president of Tobii Technology Analysis Solutions. “We’ve received an incredible response and interest in this product from customers, but also from research teams in domains where eye tracking is just now being adopted. The trend toward wearable tech has had a clear impact on researchers, and there is a strong demand to incorporate wearable eye tracking in existing and new research methodologies. We’ll more than double the number of shipped wearable eye tracking units this year compared with last year.
“Wearable eye tracking has been instrumental in the success of our services business. Since the Tobii Insight division was established in 2011, our glasses have been used to generate new insights and discoveries in hundreds of research projects globally — from in-store shopper studies to car clinics and product interaction studies. Now with the Glasses 2, we’re able to support brands and research organizations even better, by collecting implicit data from real users in natural real-world surroundings, and studies can be designed and conducted with even greater flexibility and ease,” said Ali Farokhian, global business manager, Tobii Services.
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN October 15th, 2015 —
Tobii Dynavox, the market leader in eye tracking and communication solutions for individuals with disabilities, announced today the European launch of the T-Series. The series consists of the T10 and T15, two touch-based speech-generating devices that give a voice to individuals with conditions such as aphasia, autism, cerebral palsy, cortical visual impairment, early ALS, locked-in syndrome and stroke communicate.
“The T-Series has been hugely successful in the U.S., enabling individuals with speech impairments to communicate verbally. And in doing so, helping them to lead richer and more independent lives. Through the recent merger of Tobii and Dynavox, we are now able to bring the same opportunities to users in other parts of the world. This launch is a testament to our newly combined strengths”, says Fredrik Ruben, president of Tobii Dynavox.
Purpose-built for speech-generation, every feature of the T-Series has been carefully considered to provide quick, simple communication and ease of use. The devices combine a vibrant display with high-contrast PCS symbols to enhance clarity and target size for those with visual limitations such as cortical visual impairment. Both the T10 and T15 support multiple access methods including a capacitive touch screen and customized on-screen keyboards, allowing users to communicate through touch, scanning and head mouse input. The T15, which is targeted at users who require larger letters or symbols and desire a mounted device, offers fully integrated switch ports, a full-sized USB port, and Infrared access. The T10, which is extremely portable and designed to be easily carried, also offers those access options via an accessory.
Compass, the innovative and research-based software that ships with T-Series devices, features a variety of pagesets and comprehensive communication tools that makes personalization easy.
The T-Series is available in The Middle East via Consort World - Tobii Dynavox's Reseller for the MENA Region.