Hackler EAST has taken on the topic of dyslexia. Three boys developed and created a line reader for dyslexic students who struggle with line tracking while reading. 1 in 5, 20 percent of the population have dyslexia, and an estimated 3 million new diagnoses are occurring each year. Yet, too few people really understand what dyslexia is and what it is not. Dyslexia is a learning disorder characterized by a difficulty to read. What it isn’t, is an indicator of intelligence, the two are not connected. In fact, there are many who have dyslexia that are very bright and very creative.
A struggle for many dyslexics is visual stress. The combination of black text on white paper is visually unappealing, and many dyslexic describe the illusion as words floating on the page. Line readers or line guides is a tool used by dyslexics to help them “track” while they read text. The tool allows readers to focus on a line of text, and not confuse it with other lines. Also, the tool “captures” the text, holding the letters to the paper. Color, line readers or line guides may calm the harsh contrast of black on white. Line readers are most commonly made of a flat paper with a color overlay. Many dyslexic who struggle with visual stress may also opt to use any sort of straight edge, such as a ruler. Based on this knowledge and research, we created a prototype that could support both of these concepts. A 3D printed line reader, using blue PLA filament was printed. The color blue provides a calming affect to the stark white and black contrast. Our design is more sturdy than paper or thin plastic reader models currently available. In addition, our line reader can be personalized with student’s name, school mascot, or teacher’s name. Hackler EAST is partnering with the Twin Lakes Dyslexia Support Group, a newly formed organization whose mission is to provide support and resources to dyslexic students, their parents, teachers, and the local schools. Through this organization, our 3D printed line readers will be provided to any dyslexic students, within our district who may struggle with line tracking as they read. The organization has also committed their support to have the line readers mass produced if the need is greater than our ability to meet the demand.