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Understanding Dyslexia: How Peech is Making a Difference

At Peech, we’re on a mission to make reading a breeze for everyone. As tech enthusiasts from Eastern Europe, we initially had no clue about dyslexia when we launched our text-to-speech AI startup. We simply wanted to let us and users listen to web articles, ebooks, and PDFs on their iOS devices — think of it as giving your eyes a break while your ears do the work! Over time, we also ventured into the B2B space, helping publishers transform their content into audiobooks.

But then as we progressed something interesting happened. We started noticing a significant number of our users with good retention rates had a common trait — as we dug deeper we discovered that many of them had dyslexia. After conducting user interviews, we started to explore how Peech could make a significant impact on the lives of people with dyslexia. So, sit tight as we dive into what dyslexia is, the challenges it poses, and how Peech is stepping up to help.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disorder characterized by difficulties with reading, writing, and spelling. It’s not related to intelligence; rather, it’s a difference in how the brain processes written and spoken language. According to the International Dyslexia Association, about 10% of the population has dyslexia, but in many regions, including ours, awareness and support are limited.

Dyslexia Illustration generated by DALLE

Challenges Faced by People with Dyslexia

People with dyslexia often struggle with:

  • Decoding Words: Difficulty breaking down words into sounds.
  • Reading Fluency: Slow and laborious reading.
  • Spelling: Persistent spelling errors.
  • Comprehension: Trouble understanding and remembering what they read.

But dyslexia can also affect more than just reading. Many people with dyslexia face challenges with:

  • Motor Skills: Tasks requiring fine motor skills, such as tying shoelaces, can be difficult. For example, actor Daniel Radcliffe has mentioned that he struggles with motor skills due to his dyspraxia, which often co-occurs with dyslexia.
  • Time Management and Organization: Keeping track of time and organizing tasks can be challenging.

These challenges can affect academic performance, self-esteem, and overall quality of life. Still, in many countries, including some of our favorite in Eastern Europe 😉, dyslexia is not widely recognized, leading to a lack of resources and support for those who need it.

Famous People with Dyslexia

Dyslexia is more common than you might think, and many successful individuals have dyslexia. Here are a few inspiring examples:

  • Albert Einstein: The legendary physicist who developed the theory of relativity struggled with reading and spelling as a child.
  • Richard Branson: The founder of Virgin Group often speaks about his dyslexia and how it shaped his entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Steven Spielberg: The acclaimed filmmaker has discussed how his dyslexia was diagnosed later in life and how it influenced his work.
  • Bill Gates: The co-founder of Microsoft has spoken about his dyslexia and how he turned his unique way of thinking into a strength.

The Importance of Inclusivity in Education

Dyslexia affects a significant portion of the student population. It’s estimated that around 10–15% of students in schools and universities have dyslexia. This means millions of students face daily challenges in their academic pursuits. Without proper support, these students can struggle with reading, writing, and comprehension, which can lead to lower academic performance and self-esteem.

Obviously, unlike us, this is not breaking news for some of the governments, so there is already quite a strong background and actions taken to address this issue.

Global Efforts to Support Students with Dyslexia:

  • United States: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures that students with dyslexia receive accommodations such as extended test times, audiobooks, and individualized education plans (IEPs).
  • United Kingdom: The Dyslexia Action organization provides resources and support for students, including specialized tutoring and assistive technology.
  • Australia: The government funds programs to support students with learning difficulties, including dyslexia, through resources like the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
  • Finland: Known for its inclusive education system, Finland provides comprehensive support for dyslexic students, including specialized teachers and tailored learning plans.

How Peech is Helping

After studying this interesting condition and, of course, talking to our users, we implemented two key features: spoken text highlight and dyslexia-friendly fonts. Both of these features complement our main offering, which is listening to texts.

Spoken Text Highlight

This feature visually highlights words as they are read aloud, providing a synchronized audio and visual experience. It helps users follow along with the text, improving focus and comprehension. Technically, developing this feature was challenging, and soon we will post a tech article showcasing its implementation in terms of iOS / Swift and Cloud server-side.

This is how it looks on the app itself:

Peech Spoken Text Highlight and Dyslexia Font Demo

Dyslexia-Friendly Fonts

In our latest release, we added the option to switch to dyslexia-friendly fonts like OpenDyslexic. This font is designed to improve readability and reduce errors.

How Dyslexia-Friendly Fonts Help:

  • Distinctive Shapes: Each letter has a unique shape, making it easier to distinguish.
  • Weighted Bottoms: The weighted bottoms of letters help prevent them from being flipped or reversed.
  • Larger Spaces: Increased spacing between letters and words helps reduce visual crowding.

This is how it looks on the app:

About the Author

Hi, I’m Andrey Paznyak, CEO of Peech. I have a huge technical background, which is why I sometimes write about programming. I don’t have dyslexia myself, so I wasn’t aware of it when we first launched Peech. However, discovering the significant number of our users with dyslexia has been an eye-opening experience and has driven us to make Peech more accessible for everyone. See below on how to integrate dyslexia-friendly fonts into an iOS app.

Technical Insights: Adding OpenDyslexic font to Your App in Swift

As a developer, you might be interested in how we integrated the OpenDyslexic font into our app. Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Download the Font:
    You can download the OpenDyslexic font from this link. Don’t forget to support the creators with a small contribution 😊
  2. Add the Font to Your Project:
     — Drag and drop the font files into your Xcode project.
     — Ensure that the font files are included in your project’s bundle.
  3. Update the Info.plist:
     — Add a new entry for the fonts under `UIAppFonts` in your Info.plist file:

4. Apply the Font in Your App:
 — Use the font in your UILabels, UITextViews or within your AttributedStrings, etc.:

let font = UIFont(name: "OpenDyslexic-Regular", size: 17)
label1.font = font
label2.attributedText = NSAttributedString(string: "Hello world", attributes: [   .font: font,   .foregroundColor: UIColor.black100Dynamic,

5. Don’t forget to add fallback fonts in case the alphabet is out of range.

By the way, apart from OpenDyslexic fonts family, the community also appreciates more classic Lexend and Arial ones. Here’s how to make it work in Swift:

guard let primaryFont = UIFont(name: "OpenDyslexic-Regular", size: size) else {
return nil }let primaryFontDescriptor = primaryFont.fontDescriptor
let fallbackFontDescriptors = ["Lexend-Regular", "Arial-Regular"].map { UIFontDescriptor(name: $0, size: size)
}let combinedFontDescriptor = primaryFontDescriptor.addingAttributes([
.cascadeList: fallbackFontDescriptors
return UIFont(descriptor: combinedFontDescriptor, size: size)

By following these steps, you can easily integrate dyslexia-friendly fonts into your own applications, making them more accessible.


At Peech, we’re committed to making reading accessible to everyone. By understanding the challenges faced by people with dyslexia and implementing thoughtful features, we hope to make a positive impact. Whether you’re a user or a fellow developer, we invite you to join us in creating a more inclusive digital world. Feel free to drop us a message at product@getpeech.com. That’s all for today 😃

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