Web Accessibility and Dyslexia Friendly websites
After listening to the most recent Turbitt and Duck episode (Turbitt & Walduck, 2018) I have decided to make a few formatting changes to this blog (with the help of my web-developer husband). Their guest on this episode was Katie Lumsden, a librarian with Christchurch Libraries, former speech therapist and a dyslexic. She spoke about simple things to look for in a book (or website) that make it more “friendly” to someone with dyslexia, with reference to the British Dyslexia Association Style Guide. The Style Guide (British Dyslexia Association, n.d.) suggests to make these modifications (to websites, signage etc) or to look for these features (in books and other print media) to support patrons and customers with dyslexia, and Ms Lumsden spoke about four key features that make a page easier to read: sans-serif fonts, wider line spacing, left justified (right ragged) lines of text and cream coloured pages over black text on a white background (Turbitt & Walduck, 2018). I have changed the font style and spacing on this website to best support dyslexic readers. While there may not be any dyslexics reading this blog, I aim to start out as I intent to continue and set an example for best practice.
Language When Speaking About Someone With A Disability
Readers may have noticed that in the previous paragraph I used the term “dyslexic” to describe someone with dyslexia. While at university at the turn of the century I was taught to use person-first language such as “a child with autism” or “a girl with dyslexia”, however as a parent of three children with disabilities I have read much on the subject and the general consensus is that people with disabilities prefer identity first language – see Autistic Self Advocacy Network, The Body Is Not An Apology, and Ollibean. However, if I am aware than an individual would prefer I use person-first language to describe them, then I will make every effort to ensure I do so. This is also supported by academic research (Dunn & Andrews, 2015).
British Dyslexia Association (n.d.) Dyslexia Style Guide [PDF File]. Retrieved from http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/common/ckeditor/filemanager/userfiles/About_Us/policies/Dyslexia_Style_Guide.pdf
Dunn, D.S., & Andrews, E.E. (2015) Person-First and Identity-First Language. American Psychologist, Vol.70(3), pp.255-264 DOI: 10.1037/a0038636
Turbitt, S. & Walduck, A. (2018, Feb 14) Podcast episode 8: Katie Lumsden chats about dyslexia, libraries and her love for eBooks [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from www.turbittnduck.com