WEDNESDAY 10 FEB 2021 11:04 AM


Despite the £100bn advertising industry recognising the positive benefits of recruiting people with dyslexia and other neurodiverse conditions, it is failing at the first hurdle. According to Leo – a new platform that seeks to transform the way that neurodiverse university students learn, reading lists are causing them to doubt their ability to take part in the course – ultimately placing them at a disadvantage from the very start.

Leo is new and free to join e-reading platform designed to offer students with dyslexia a way to access course material that works for them, while removing a barrier that may halt their progress in the industry.

The platform was created by advertising professionals James Hillhouse, Kat Pegler and Alex Fleming. The idea was conceived after Hillhouse discovered a dyslexic student he worked with through his organisation Commercial Break – a youth transformation agency, designed to give working class talent a break in creative industry – was considering dropping out because of the difficulty of reading lists.

The team worked alongside UX designer Evert Martin, who himself has dyslexia, and called upon his own experience with dyslexia growing up to help inform the platform interface and functionality. The features were then created and formed with the guidance of dyslexic university students and dyslexia experts to make the Leo as natural to use as possible.

Leo enables users to personalise how they consume the content to suit what works best for them. This is done predominately through the three pillars of text customisation, audio and video, with additional functionality to make the experience easier and more enjoyable.

Kat Pegler co-founder of LEO, says, “On the surface, the advertising and digital industries are set up for people with dyslexia to thrive because they rely on divergent thinking to ensure that the products they are selling are noticed. This kind of thinking is second nature to people with dyslexia who tend to think less linearly, and more holistically than people who are neurotypical. However, each year, students with dyslexia looking to break into the industry are being put at a disadvantage that is blocking their entry – the reading lists that accompany the courses they take.”