Dyslexic children do worse in school, have fewer friends and do not feel »normal«. But why? Spoiler Alert: It might be your school’s fault.
A Small Startup is trying to give dyslexic children a better chance of regular education by developing Kobi — A mobile application, that teaches dyslexic children one of the basic human skills. Reading.
The education system is no stranger to controversy and critique as any mother with a school kid will tell you. But while many of the debates remain behind the closed doors of book clubs, one company is trying to spread them to the world and warn about the mistakes done in the classrooms. Specifically, mistakes done when dealing with dyslexic children. And they have an answer to those mistakes as well.
»Kobi«, a mobile app that helps children with reading disabilities, is a product of a small team, led by Ursula Lavrenčič; a mother and a design-thinker, who spent countless hours researching dyslexia in order to help her dyslexic daughter.
»Dyslexic children are extremely disadvantaged in school,« Ursula explains. »Their brain needs a little more time and a little more patience to understand words and their meaning. Reading is stressful for them, which makes them hate it, so they practice reading less and less. The worst thing is that the education system is doing very little about it.«
Science confirms it as well. Dyslexic children do worse in school, they appear clumsy and abnormal, which leads to them being alienated by other kids. Although the experiences vary, in most cases this sets off a chain reaction, resulting in a child taking a defensive state of mind and fearing school and other learning situations.
And the negative experience does not end after elementary school is done, either. The consequences are felt throughout their entire lives. In fact, most dyslexic adults describe their elementary school experience as »psychological and often physical torture«.
But with such a pressing issue, schools have to offer some sort of support to dyslexic children, surely.
According to Ursula, that is not the case: »After receiving the diagnosis, the schools tend to recommend additional homework or repeating the year«.
But dyslexia is not simply »outgrown«. Repeating the same classes with the same methods will not yield any positive results. Quite the opposite. Studies show, traditional learning methods are counterproductive, so repeating a year has no positive effect on a dyslexic child whatsoever.
It does, however, label the child as a failure. Therefore leaving the mark for the rest of the child’s life.
But what can a school do to help the children? For one thing, the teachers should be able to spot signs of dyslexia earlier. Statistics show, 2 out of 3 children are not properly diagnosed with dyslexia until it is too late. Early diagnosis means parents and teachers can react pro-actively and begin making the necessary steps in order to help the child with reading disabilities.
»The first step for any parent is to understand dyslexia properly,« Ursula explains. »The biggest issue with reading difficulties is motivation. Children are stressed and anxious when reading because it does not come naturally to them. You need to motivate them to read more, which can be quite problematic.«
Without proper knowledge, parents often resort to tutors; a useful, but at £50–70 per hour, extremely expensive resource. Others end up homeschooling their children or spending every afternoon re-taking elementary school with their kids. And as if reading disabilities were not enough, they often fight an uphill battle with an apathetic education system.
Taking a dyslexic child through all the proper procedures of the educational system can take time. Time, a dyslexic child does not have.
“It took about a year and a half from the first diagnosis until all the bureaucratic procedures were complete. The problem is, that in that time the child starts developing issues, such as low confidence and feeling abnormal. That is why it is extremely important to react immediately. And that is why we wanted to develop Kobi. While the educational system needs its time, Kobi is there for you right from the beginning,” explains Ursula.
Kobi translates the text from black and white to dyslexia friendly.
»Kobi transforms the text so it is easier for the child to read. That makes reading a stress-free experience. The mobile app is designed to attract the attention of the child and motivate him or her to read more. That results in a lot of benefits for the child,« says Ursula.
In fact, reading the results from beta testing, Kobi might single-handedly eliminate most issues related to reading difficulties. Out of more than 100 children, 95,43% of them reported improvements, such as faster reading rate, reading fluency and understanding of what was read.
»When my son tried Kobi for the first time, I was shocked,« says a parent of a participant in the testing. »Usually during a reading, he stutters, misses some of the letters and at the end of the sentence does not understand what he just read. He hated reading. With Kobi, he read through the text almost fluently and repeated the content effortlessly! It was like poetry!«
»It is reviews like that that give us the motivation to continue fighting,« says Ursula. »We want to provide all the children with reading difficulties with an equal chance of regular education.«
It is not an easy goal to achieve by any means, but Ursula and her team are changing the rules one child at the time.
And when will children with reading difficulties be able to benefit from this innovative mobile app?
According to Ursula, Kobi should be ready for the UK and USA launch in the beginning of February.
To be the first to be notified when Kobi launches, subscribe to the newsletter, found on the Kobi website (kobiapp.io/en/)
Keywords: #Dyslexia #EqualEducation #Children #Reading Difficulties
Kobi is a result of a collaboration between two Brands; Infotude and Creative Solutions.
Infotude is a boutique full-service agency that offers design-thinking, graphic design and other solutions for their clients.
Creative Solutions is a VR development company that is specialized in VR Marketing & Training application development.
We have joined forces to develop Kobi — a mobile application that will give dyslexic children a better chance of regular education.
Andrej Persolja is a VR artist and a co-founder of Creative Solutions. Creative Solutions partners with creative agencies to help their clients raise the presentation of their products to the next level. Contact: email@example.com
Andrej also helps as a marketing manager for the Kobi project. Contact: Andrej@kobiapp.io