This study by an Italian team from the University of Padua suggests that "playing video games may help children with dyslexia improve their reading skills." They also stated that "Dyslexic children learned to orient and focus their attention more efficiently to extract the relevant information of a written word more rapidly."
We also found from this site that children with dyslexia may read below the expected level for their age and have difficulty forming sentences and finding the right words, lowering their self-confidence. They have a much higher chance of suffering from mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression later in life if their visual/oral/auditory skills are not strengthened.
Intrigued, we researched a bit more into what dyslexia entailed, and we quickly identified that the disorder was largely individualized and that there were different kinds. We focused on helping dyslexic individuals who have trouble forming words and phrases (phonological/visual dyslexia) by applying the findings from our research into our application.
🤳 What it does
Our app, DyslexiSLASH works much like the classic Fruit Ninja mobile app. Once the user hits play, letters in all orientations are randomly dropped at the top of the screen. The user, using their finger or stylus, will try to slash the dropped letters with the correct orientation in order to earn as many points as possible within a given time frame. The user will attempt to achieve personal records and share their scores with friends and family.
Our goal is for the user to increase their self-confidence in their reading skills by encouraging a growth mindset. We understand that mental health is a big issue among the dyslexic community because they tend to learn classical topics in school much slower than their peers, and so feel left out or out of place. So, we ensured our app incited our users to get excited to level up using a fun game like this one to encourage a sense of confidence, accomplishment within them.
⚙️ How we built it
- Akanksha used Flutter for the functionality and UI of the app
- Adriana used Figma to conceptualize the app. She made it accessible for individuals with dyslexia by replacing text with icons/images whenever possible!
- Muskan used Microsoft Azure to authenticate using the Cloud
🤔 Challenges we ran into
We were separated by large time differences (11h!!), so we found it hard to communicate updates while others were sleeping. By:
- communicating several updates via text
- assigning individual tasks while others were asleep we kept organized throughout the event and ended up making an MVP we're proud of!
We're proud of:
- Creating a unique app!
- Learning and implementing Azure in a short period of time
- Having a good organization strategy
- Helping the dyslexic community
📖 What we learned
Our main learning was how to use the Microsoft Azure authentication and implement it in a mobile app scenario, as it was a first for all of us.
💭 What's next for DyslexiSLASH
- Add more games! We want to implement a memory game with cards or a spelling bee game to tap into more kinds of dyslexia.
- We would like to conduct user testing on dyslexic children, our target market, to improve the app according to their needs.
- Research more extensively about those with dyslexia to empathize with our app users.
Disclaimer: None of our team members have this condition; all of our research comes from secondary sources. We understand that this app does not encompass all dyslexic types. If you came across this project and you have/know someone with dyslexia, feel free to reach out and we can iterate on our idea based on your needs :)