Schoolgirl devises computer game to help detect dyslexia

A schoolgirl’s idea to use computer games to screen children for dyslexia has won the support of entrepreneurs and a leading charity.

Caitie Glover, 12, from Chelmsford, Essex, devised the system after drawing on her own experience of struggling with the learning difficulty that affects up to one in ten people. She believes that the games could be used by primary school children to identify early signs of dyslexia.

The games, which can be played wearing headsets, would ask children to match written words to sound recordings. “Staring at text like that can be difficult and upsetting if you’re dyslexic, but if the words were in colourful 3D letters and the exercise was made into a fun game it would be a different experience,” Caitie said.

She is also looking into research suggesting that the eye movements of dyslexic people may be different to those without the condition. Headsets that incorporate eye-tracking technology could one day be used to screen for dyslexia.

A video of a talk she made seeking financial assistance from entrepreneurs in London has gone viral on the internet.

Caitie’s dyslexia was not identified until she went to secondary school, although she and her family had suspected that she had a problem with words.

“Most current tools they use to identify dyslexia are for kids over the age of seven or eight,” she said. “By this time they have fallen a long way behind their classmates, have lost a lot of confidence and often feel very miserable. I want kids to think: ‘I’m going to play a game with my favourite character using this cool technology.’ ”

Caitie has set up a company, Syper, and is seeking investment. “I’ve already had lots of entrepreneurs saying they want to invest or help,” she said. “The next stage is finding the right support to create a prototype. The plan is to make this available to all schoolchildren.”

Stephen Hall, of the charity Dyslexia Action, said: “We are very impressed with Caitie’s innovation and her passion to help children with dyslexia.”