October is Dyslexia Awareness Month and with estimates that upwards of 20% of acting communities can fall somewhere on the spectrum of this reading disability, we wanted to shine a light on the particular challenges for voice actors with Dyslexia, as well as some possible aids.
Dyslexia affects the areas of the brain that process language, so it inhibits how speech sounds are related to words and letters. Other symptoms can include sensitivity to bright lights, difficulty remembering whole words by sight, auditory and phonetic disorientation, and confusion with content comprehension. It is a quite common, but often unspoken hindrance for the voice actor, as the industry requires cold reads, quick analysis of copy, and sometimes poorly composed script formats that can be confusing even for the neurotypical performer. While many of us can imagine the challenges if explained well, what often goes unacknowledged is the isolation that actors with this condition can experience, along with feeling compromised by a challenge that has nothing to do with intelligence or talent.
Some steps that actors and the VO Community can take to combat the difficulties of Dyslexia:
By raising awareness and making small changes in our behavior and materials, we can accommodate our fellow Dyslexic voice actors, help them perform at their best, and reaffirm their welcomed place in our industry.
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