What is Dyslexia and how can Technology Help with its Symptoms?

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that results in reading and writing difficulties. Dyslexia is found in populations around the world, however rates can be particularly high in countries where the written language uses irregular spelling or features combinations of letters with different sound possibilities. English is full of these combinations (such as the ‘ou’ in cough and through) as well as different spellings that all make the same sound (such as the ‘o’ sound in stole, coal, and bowl). It is estimated that 15% of the U.S. population suffers from dyslexia.

Dyslexic people have chronic difficulty with reading, writing, and spelling. Despite being bright and motivated, a child with dyslexia will have great difficulty making connections between spoken and written language. Dyslexics may be intelligent and creative people but suffer from low self-esteem or anxiety brought on by their learning disability.

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Dybuster Celebrates its 10th Birthday!

lachende schulkinder vor der tafel

10 Successful Years of Helping Children With Learning Disabilities

On the 22nd May 2007 Dybuster, a spin-off from ETH Zurich, sent in the post its first 23 software packages. Since then the Dybuster programs have gained over 100,000 users, which is a monumental achievement from those first 23 packages! Dybuster is constantly researching and developing to offer better user experience for our costumers. With the update of our software on the cloud, you can be at the forefront of educational assistive technology. We are delighted to bring this technology to the needs of children, so they can overcome their learning difficulties with this little extra help.

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Emmen School uses Dybuster Software with all Ages

A few posts back we introduced Fehraltdorf school and how the special education teachers there use Dybuster software to help students with dyslexia and dyscalculia. Continuing our school portrait series we would like to showcase the public school in Emmen, Switzerland, where teachers use the software with students across many age levels.

The public school of Emmen, a town in Lucerne canton in Switzerland.

The public school of Emmen, a town in Lucerne canton in Switzerland.

Emmen is a town in the canton of Lucerne, with a large foreign national population. Many in this population are originally immigrants from former Yugoslavia.

The public school is made up of a primary and secondary school. The secondary school has a computer room as well as four computers per classroom. There are also a number of laptops that are shared among classes. Students can use Dybuster software at school in the computer room or else practice on their own at home.

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New Large-Scale Study Confirms Effectiveness of Calcularis

Calcularis, our software for dyscalculia, has been evaluated in smaller studies which clearly showed that the software was beneficial for increasing children’s proficiency in math. A large-scale study has now been completed in Germany with over one hundred children participating. The study looked at the software’s effects on students in general, rather than focusing on children with learning differences such as dyscalculia.

Child working with Dybuster software. Dybuster developed Calcularis, software for training math skills and to aid dyscalculics.

Child working with Dybuster software. Dybuster developed Calcularis, software for training math skills and to aid dyscalculics.

The results of the study determined that the software increased children’s mathematical abilities and were published on 2 June in Frontiers in Psychology.

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The Schools that use Dybuster Software: Fehraltdorf

We would like to introduce a few of the schools where teachers and students use our software for dyslexia and dyscalculia. Our first portrait is of the public school in Fehraltorf, Switzerland.

Fehraltdorf, public school in Switzerland that uses Orthograph and Calcularis.

Fehraltorf, public school in Switzerland that uses Orthograph and Calcularis.

Fehraltorf is a small town in the canton of Zurich in Switzerland. The public school is made up of a primary and secondary school.

Most classes are taught by grade and age level, but a few classes mix age levels together. Special education instruction is integrated into regular classroom instruction.

Each classroom is equipped with four computers. The school also has a computer room and twenty laptops for general use.

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Educational Technology for Learning Disabilities: Dybuster LinkedIn Discussion Group

dybuster linkedin educational technology for learning disabilities

Looking for discussion and debate on educational topics? Like to keep up-to-date on educational technology? Or maybe you want to share your knowledge and experiences regarding learning differences?

We’ve launched a LinkedIn discussion group to addresses all of these needs and more. With new members added weekly, we hope the group will provide information and resources, professional networking, and food for thought.

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Dybuster User Studies: How Effective is Orthograph?

Dybuster‘s software Orthograph was developed in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The principles behind the software came from neuroscience and computer science. An important part of the development process was rigorous user testing: how well did the software actually work? Did Orthograph really help dyslexics improve their spelling and reading.

First case study

The first study on Dybuster software was published in 2007. Eighty children between the ages of nine and eleven took part in the study, which was led by neuropsychologists Prof. Dr. Lutz Jäncke and Prof. M. Meyer. The participants included both children with dyslexia and children without.

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Video Tutorial for Calcularis, Software for Dyscalculia

 

Calcularis includes seventeen different learning games, all them designed to help students with dyscalculia improve their math and number skills. The software selects which games will help a student learn best, based on that child’s strengths and problem areas.

The games work to develop a user’s number processing abilities and grasp of a mental number line, such as in the Landing Game where a falling cone must be landed as close as possible to the target number on a number line. Other games allow students to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The Shelves Game, for example, breaks multiplication down into repeated additions.

For a quick introduction to Calcularis, check out the video below. You can also try the software for free on our website.

Video Tutorial for Calcularis, Software for Dyscalculia Click To Tweet

Dybuster Colour Game – Using Colours to Map Letters to Sounds

Multi-sensory learning helps students approach a subject like spelling or maths through the use of different senses. When playing the Colour Game in Orthograph, Dybuster’s software for children with dyslexia, students associate letters with colours and also with sound. This activates new learning channels in the brain and helps children to map spoken sound to written letters, something that is difficult for dyslexics.

The video below shows the game in action and provides a voice-over guide. You can test the game yourself for free by visiting the Orthograph Trial page. No download is necessary; you can access the program in your browser.

Dybuster Colour Game - Using Colours to Map Letters to Sounds Click To Tweet

Meet the Dybuster Team

It’s a bright sunny day in Zurich, the city where our company Dybuster is based (Orthograph and Calcularis were developed in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich). Also bright and kind of sunny, or at least orange, is the new hair color of one of our software developers, Michael. We decided to share the sunshine on our blog by making a quick introduction (with photos!) of the Dybuster team.

 

christianChristian Vögeli

Our company founder and CEO. Christian has a background in computer science and is now the head of Dybuster. The company is his baby; he lives in Lucerne with his wife Mirjam and three other babies.

 

 

 

 

justinJustin Henskens

Strategic marketing analyst, dyslexic, and huge Doctor Who fan. Fluent in five languages. Often the moving spirit behind lunch breaks.

 

 

felixFelix Fontein

Software developer and possessor of PHD in mathematics. Spends his free time reading books, taking photos, and writing programs.

 

 

michaelMichael Bürge

The one whose hair brought the sunshine today. Missing in this photo are the glowing red contact lenses. Michi works in software development at Dybuster.

 

 

James Wright

Social media manager, currently writing this post at this very minute. Artist and a dyslexic!

 

 

 

 

Not in the office today and so out of phone camera range were: Ueli Zberg, our point of contact for schools and a secondary school teacher himself; and Caroline Geissmann, our head of office administration who keeps Dybuster running smoothly. In the office but keeping out of phone camera range is the final member of our software development team, who asked to be described as an anonymous guy with a rainbow mohawk.

Meet the Dybuster Team Click To Tweet

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