Last updated: 03.12.11

E-learning programmes 'could help people with dyslexia'

An independently-made online learning system has been developed to help disabled children learn how to read.

In a bid to improve the reading ability of her dyslexic son, Linda O'Sullivan, from County Clare in Ireland, thought up the idea of using a famous tale of piracy originating from the Irish seas to help her ten-year-old Oisin as well as other children in the same position, the Irish Independent reports.

She developed an online e-learning game including words of a story and short tasks to encourage literacy learning in a fun, entertaining and interactive way, which will help hold the attention of dyslexia sufferers for longer.

Ms O'Sullivan told the newspaper: "This is the first product of its kind designed in Ireland and it's all about creating a fun environment for children who are struggling with reading, or even reluctant to read.

"Children learn better when they're having fun and this game is all about fun-based learning, without the fear of failure."

As an animator, Ms O'Sullivan put her art skills into practice and she brought to virtual life the story of Grainne Mhaol, the legendary pirate 'Sea Queen of Connacht'.

According to the mother and artworker, around ten per cent of all children are have some sort of difficulty reading.

The main aim of the project was to increase the number of children - particularly those with learning disabilities - who are able to gain skills through a platform that will keep them focused.

"While these kids have skills that are enormously important in our world, many quickly turn off reading because of difficulties with perceptual or auditory skills related to dyslexia. Their default is often to find any excuse to avoid reading at all and so much learning is lost as a result," she said.

Ms O'Sullivan added that the number of people with dyslexia is often overlooked or not fully understood so the resources can be lacking. However, she hopes that her game will open up new opportunities for e-learning providers to tailor their programmes to those with learning difficulties. claimed that the condition is estimated to occur in about eight per cent of the population and it is a permanent disability that requires constant support from education and schooling.