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Picture Perfect: How Visuals Help People with Dyslexia Understand Written Communications

Written and illustrated by Mandy Johnson


Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that affects how people read and write. It's estimated that around 10% of the population has dyslexia, and it can have a significant impact on a person's ability to understand written communications. For people with dyslexia, pictures can be a powerful tool to help them understand written communications. In this blog post, we'll explore how pictures can help people with dyslexia and provide tips on how to use them effectively.


1. Pictures provide context

Person holding oversized magnifying glass looking at a written document

One of the biggest challenges for people with dyslexia is understanding the context of written communications. When reading a sentence, it can be difficult to understand how the words relate to each other and what the overall message is. Pictures can provide context and make it easier to understand the message being conveyed.


For example, if you're writing an email about a new product, including a picture of the product can help the recipient understand what it looks like and how it works.


2. Images can help with word recognition


People with dyslexia often struggle with word recognition. They may have difficulty recognising common words or understanding the meaning of complex words. Pictures can help with word recognition by providing a visual cue for the word being used.

Cartoon drawing of a dog

For example, if you're writing an article about a specific animal, including a picture of the animal can help the reader understand what the animal looks like and what it's called.


3. Visuals make information easier to process

Two people looking at graphs, bar charts and pie charts

For people with dyslexia, processing written information can be overwhelming. Pictures can make information easier to process by breaking up the text and providing visual cues for important information. For example, if you're writing a report with a lot of data, including graphs and charts can help the reader understand the information more easily.


4. Images can create emotional connections

Outline of a person's head in black with the brain coloured in orange on a pink background

Pictures can also create emotional connections. For people with dyslexia, this can be especially important as it can help them remember the information being presented. When we see an image that resonates with us, it can evoke emotions and help us remember the information being presented.


For example, if you're writing an article about a charitable organization, including a picture of people benefiting from the organization's work can create a positive emotional connection and make it more likely that someone will remember the organization.


5. Visuals help with storytelling

Green cartoon character holding a pencil and sketchpad

Finally, pictures can help with storytelling. For people with dyslexia, this can be especially important as it can help them understand the narrative being presented. When we see an image, it can help us visualize the story being told. This makes it easier to understand and remember the story. For example, if you're writing a children's book, including pictures can help the child understand the story and stay engaged.


Tips for using pictures effectively:


- Use high-quality images that are relevant to your content.

- Use images to provide context and make it easier to understand the message being conveyed.

- Use images to help with word recognition and provide visual cues for important information.

- Use images to create emotional connections and help with retention of the information being presented.

- Use images to enhance storytelling and help with understanding the narrative being presented.


In conclusion, pictures can be a powerful tool for helping people with dyslexia understand written communications. By using pictures effectively, you can provide context, aid with word recognition, make information easier to process, create emotional connections, and enhance storytelling. By incorporating pictures into your written communications, you can make them more accessible and engaging for people with dyslexia.

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