How Captions & Transcripts Help with Dyslexia Accessibility

September 1, 2017 BY ELISA LEWIS
Updated: February 23, 2021

What Is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a general term used to describe difficulties with learning to read and interpret letters, symbols, and words. It is one of the most common learning disabilities, and is in no way a reflection on an individual’s intelligence. With dyslexia, some of the skills that might be particularly challenging include:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Spelling
  • Writing
  • Math

Although dyslexia is not something that can be cured – with guidance from teachers, parents, and personal experience – people dealing with dyslexia can discover ways to make living with dyslexia a bit easier. Closed captioning and transcripts are among the tools that have been found to be very useful for alleviating difficulties with reading, spelling, writing, comprehension, and focus.

Student Research Study Report

Student Uses and Perceptions of Closed Captions and Transcripts, a national research study, takes a closer look into the benefits of captions and transcripts. This study yields evidence that both of these tools can aid with so much more than hearing loss. Captions and transcripts are extremely helpful for individuals with learning difficulties, and dyslexia is no different. Respondents were asked why they use captions, and a whopping 75% reported using captions as a learning aid. When asked how captions help as a learning aid, 52% of students reported comprehension, 33% reported accuracy, 20% reported engagement, and 15% reported retention.

In addition to these findings, most student respondents focused their qualitative comments on the helpfulness of both captions and transcripts as a learning aid. These responses were coded into four sub-themes: accuracy, comprehension, retention, and engagement. All of these are common areas of struggle for people living with dyslexia.

One student reported, specifically, “I’m dyslexic so it helps me to know that the notes I’m writing down are both spelled correctly and in the right syntax.” Many other students also noted benefits of captioning and transcripts that would be useful for overcoming some of the challenges associated with dyslexia.

Captions. Accuracy: Students said that captions helped them to distinguish between similar sounding words, demonstrate the correct spelling, and take accurate notes. Comprehension:

USFSP: Understanding the Benefits of Providing Captioning

In the University of South Florida St. Petersburg Distance Learning Accessibility Committee’s study, 99% of students reported finding closed captions to be helpful. The responses were as follows: 5% of students said captions were slightly helpful, 10% moderately helpful, 35% very, and 49% extremely. Similarly to the national research study, four areas in particular were noted for which captions were beneficial – clarification, comprehension, spelling of keywords, and note-taking.

From Student to Student: Tips for Dyslexia Accessibility

While the research itself is quite strong, the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity offers a more subjective context to the benefits of captioning for dyslexia. Students with dyslexia give advice and share tips with other students who recently discovered they are facing the challenges of dyslexia, as well. While these students don’t specifically cite captioning and transcripts, many of the suggestions combine audio and visual elements to hep with reading, etc. which is precisely what captions can offer. The students explained they have found audio recordings of books and written content to be helpful, as well as computers that can read out to them. These methods all combine some sort of auditory aspect with a visual aspect to help to clarify spelling, word recognition, comprehension, and focus.

Get started with captions and transcripts today, so you can provide the same assistance and reinforcement for viewers of your content, too!



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