Now you can hear written traffic signs and written traffic information! An app designed for but not exclusive to drivers with dyslexia.

Gena Fraser

Gena Fraser

Hello all, in a nutshell, Road Signs Aloud the App, reads written road signs and written traffic information out aloud! It can be used on iOS and Android phones. So, for the millions of dyslexic people who have difficulties with reading, this App will definitely be welcomed. You will now be able to hear road signs and written traffic information audibly!

I’d like to introduce myself to you. My name is Gena Fraser, I am a 38 year old, married, down to earth, mother of 3 beautiful children. I love to read! I will read just about anything, be it magazines, books, pamphlets, notice boards. If it can be read I will read it. Maybe you like reading too. Just for a minute, pause and ask yourself the following questions, ‘what if I had difficulties with reading or what if I couldn’t read’? Pause again and ask yourself, ‘what every day difficulties might I face because of these reading difficulties’?

Please check out the Crowdfunding offers when you pledge money towards Road Signs Aloud. There are some amazing ones including a personal thank you from me and a special dinner with me! We'll eat out, i'm not cooking it! Lol.

So..... a bit about my working background. I work as a Specialist Dyslexia Tutor at a University in the West Midlands. I absolutely love my job as I meet so many interesting students who study a wide range of courses from Nursing to Psychology to English to Animal behaviour and conservation. I also love my job because I get to help and support these students. Week in and week out I see the difficulties that my undergraduate and post-graduate students with dyslexia face. What I also see is a lot of hard work and determination to succeed, despite their hardships with things such as reading, comprehension and putting their thoughts down into a written format.

Day after day, I also see the struggles with reading, writing and comprehension that a very close family member of mine faces. This family member wishes to remain anonymous, so I have respected that and I will use a pseudonym ‘Joe’. Joe has been diagnosed as being severely dyslexic. Despite having difficulties associated with being severely dyslexic, I also see the strength, courage and valour that Joe emits.

Back in November 2017, I was a front seat passenger, driving along the M6 with Joe driving. I remember it was a rainy day and the windscreen wipers were going quickly. As I understand the difficulties with reading that Joe has, I found myself reading out any written traffic information that we passed e.g. ‘slow down 50MPH’. It then dawned on me, that what Joe needed was an App or device that could read aloud this information. This would keep Joe safe and other road users safe. Yes in the United Kingdom (UK) we have picture road signs and many of them, but we also have a lot of written traffic information that isn’t displayed in a picture format.

After conducting research into whether an App or device existed that could read traffic signs and written traffic information out aloud, I found that there wasn’t anything in existence! So, I decided to design one myself! At present I am designing an App called, ‘Road Signs Aloud’. Eventually, I would like this to be also available as a device and to be recommended to drivers who have dyslexia when they apply for their provisional driving licence. Road Signs Aloud will deliver reasonable adjustments on the road to people with dyslexia by reading written traffic information and signs out aloud. It will also empower and give confidence. It will promote independence, autonomy and equality. It will give justice to millions of drivers with reading difficulties. When such drivers use Road Signs Aloud it will mean safer roads for road users and it will prevent accidents on the roads and ultimately deaths on the roads.

My business idea addresses the many inequalities that dyslexic drivers face. Under the Equality Act 2010, Dyslexia is defined as a disability. So reasonable adjustments should be made when at work or in education, which they are, but what about outside of work or outside of the classroom? In my opinion and the opinions of the dyslexic people that I surveyed, it as though the government thinks that dyslexia magically disappears, once these drivers are on the roads. By this I mean that there are numerous written traffic information and signs that need to be read when driving. For example, Congestion, use the hard shoulder, workforce in the road, slow down 40mph and I could go on. People who have dyslexia struggle with reading, let alone when driving at 70MPH on a UK road.

Please also note that although the Road Signs Aloud is designed for drivers with dyslexia, it is not exclusive to them. Road Signs Aloud will also benefit people with autism, dyscalculia, the elderly, slow readers and those whose 1st original language is not English. Many others such as unconfident drivers will benefit  from using it also. 

The Dyslexie font designed to mitigate some of the issues that dyslexics experience when reading will be used on the App. It was developed by Dutch graphic designer Christian Boer while in college to help combat his own dyslexia.  

Road Signs Aloud can be used to assist millions worldwide!!!

According to the British Dyslexia Association (2018), 'dyslexic difficulties which may impact on learning to drive include:

  • weak short term and working memory (holding on to and applying information).
  • Auditory processing, taking on board what is being said quickly
  • Difficulty with focusing, easily distracted
  • Difficulty identifying left from right
  • Visual distraction, visual memory issues
  • Slower processing speed in the brain
  • Sequencing problems, getting information in the right order

The key is to use multi-sensory learning and to ensure the information are heavily embedded. For example if someone has poor visual memory then use their auditory memory to compensate. 

Watch out for those with weak spatial awareness or lack of recognition of left and right'. 

The above states areas where where a learner driver  (or driver) with dyslexia may have issues. Road signs aloud has taken all of these areas into consideration, addressed them in the App design and will be a God send to a driver who has dyslexia.