My Life with Dyslexia with Kristen Barriera

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Dyslexia is something that affects approximately 10 – 15% of the world’s population, yet there is still a gap in our digital world that prevents those with additional needs from accessing information and services in a way that works best for them.

We caught up with Kristen, Business Development Executive on the Recite Me team to share her personal experience with dyslexia and the importance of providing support.

What is your role at Recite Me? 

I am a Business Development Executive for the East Coast team.

How did you find out you were dyslexic? 

I struggled with reading while in elementary school as well as consistently reading and writing numbers and letters backward, which led to being tested for dyslexia. 

How has dyslexia affected your life (any challenges in work or personal life)?

When I become stressed or after a long day at the computer, the letters and numbers will increase in activity – meaning they wiggle or move, flip directions, or even positions, and sometimes I feel as though I can not “see” them. However, my eyesight isn’t hindered at all. I can only compare it to having a disconnect between seeing the writing and the information making it to my brain. Somehow the information fails until I relax and try again.

What support have you or others put in place to help?

When I was younger, I would have certain letters in certain colors so my brain would recognize the color and know it was a “b” and not a “d” because it was red, or a “p” and not a “g” because it was blue, etc. Now as an adult, my brain has memorized most letters but I do still get large numbers jumbled, math is not my strong suit and neither is spelling. 

Screen readers are amazing and I love to utilize them while reading, as well as turning my settings to “dark mode”. Every morning while using my bible app, I play the screen reader to listen as I read along. It engages all senses and allows optimal reading comprehension. One small feature enhances my experience and outcome exponentially.

Why do you think it is important to provide accessibility support online? 

It’s the same idea as to why it’s important to provide physical accessibility to individuals in the community. We all deserve the same opportunity to access information and achieve the same success, knowledge, joy, entertainment, etc. as everyone else. It’s an act of kindness and love. You may not be sure of whoever may need it, or if anyone truly ever does use it. But it’s there and shows that everyone is welcome and included.

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