Exploring the need for accessible images for people with dyslexia

Title: Exploring the need for accessible images for people with dyslexia

Author: Heather Cryer, Publisher: RNIB Centre for Accessible Information (CAI), Year of publication: 2013

Background

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some dyslexic people may find accessible images (such as simplified tactile or large print diagrams) helpful to their learning. This study aimed to investigate evidence around how dyslexic people use images, to understand whether accessing images can be a problem in dyslexia, and to determine whether RNIB’s accessible images could help.

Key findings   

  • Little evidence was found relating to the use of images by people with dyslexia.    
  • A body of evidence was found relating dyslexia to creativity and various visual-spatial talents.   
  • This relates to a theory of dyslexia being a different pattern of brain organisation, characterised by both deficits and benefits, suggesting some dyslexics may be particularly skilled at certain tasks.    
  • Other research suggests that one characteristic of dyslexic processing may be attending more to information presented in peripheral vision, than central vision. This could explain some of the deficits/skills associated with dyslexia.    
  • Differences in perception may suggest dyslexics may be better at understanding and presenting ideas through images rather than text.    
  • This tendency to focus on information in peripheral vision could explain why some dyslexics struggle with complex, detailed images (which may rely on central visual processing).    
  • Further research is required to determine whether accessible images could be of benefit to this group.