Smartphone app helps students with dyslexia

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A central Indiana mother is using some of the latest technology to develop a new tool to help her son with dyslexia.

Eleven-year-old Sam Parmelee says any help in dealing with dyslexia is welcome.

"It's cause the letters switch on you. An 'n' might be a 'w,' a 'w' might be an 'm' and most people think it's something, like, you just can't read at all," Sam said.

"It's really an inability to process that and read fluently, like you and I can," said Sam's mother, Kris Parmelee.

When Sam's dyslexia was first identified, Kris said she feared the consequences. But now, she approaches the challenge with the same resolve Sam has in clearing the obstacles the dyslexia presents.

Among the tools helping in that fight is a smartphone app called DCODIA, which scans an unreadable word and translates it in seconds.

"So a student is reading, they come to a word that they're just stuck with and they can't get past it. This will actually help them understand what that word is, because it will dictate it aloud to them," said Mark LaFay, Sonar Studios.

Sonar Studios, an Indianapolis technology firm, has developed the app and is now working on adapting it for the wearable technology known as Google Glass.

"We believe it will be revolutionary. Absolutely," LaFay said. "Our goal isn't to validate Google Glass, but it's to use the technology, because we see it as being a valid tool for children with dyslexia."

But the effort is just beginning.

Kris Parmelee and Sonar Studios have launched a fundraising campaign to move the product into the marketplace and hopes that it will soon help the 20 percent of school-aged children diagnosed with dyslexia in the United States.

"If there's just one word you don't know, you can take a picture of that one word, it doesn't read the whole thing for you, it just reads that one word," Sam said.