How The E-Learning Plan Is Failing Dyslexic Students

Alysha Selvarajah
4 min readOct 17, 2020


“Everyday, I feel like a failure. […] I care so deeply about his education, but it is not possible.”

Erin Croyle, a Special ED Advocate and parent of a special needs child from New York was interviewed by PBS News Hour in April 2020. In this interview, she stated the mental and physical toll the pandemic has had on her and her lifestyle.

A video discussing the challenges of virtual learning with multiple parents (including Erin Croyle)

However, it may be not be what you are thinking…

Croyle goes on to explain that her son has a few learning disabilities as well as other medical conditions. This means that, at school, he requires anywhere between 3–10 assistants in order to ensure he receives an adequate attention. However, with the sudden strike of Covid-19, the responsibility of ensuring that her son succeeds in the classroom fell onto her.

This simply does not work for Croyle. She is a working parent with other children that she must tend to. So, the virtual learning experience for her son has been painful. There are days where she simply state that she gave up; allowing her son to leave work incomplete.

This is a problem…

It is unreasonable for the government to extend the task of assisting children to working parents (who are currently faced with the added stresses from the Covid-19 crisis).

Furthermore, it showcases the governments inability to take all students into account. The current e-learning program seems to prioritize certain students over others, disrupting a vital education for many.

One of the most common learning disabilities in the world is…

Dyslexia - a neurological (affects the brain) learning disability that affects an individual’s ability to read, write, compute equations, etc.

It is estimated that 5–10% of the population has dyslexia, but it may be as high as 17%.

An image depicting an idea of what the difference is between the brain of a regular student vs. a dyslexic student

There are 6 types of dyslexia:

  • Phonological (Dysphonetic) Dyslexia primarily affects one’s ability to read, write, and pronounce words.
  • Surface Dyslexia affects one’s ability to read and comprehend words and they sometimes struggle with the ability to see the full word.
  • Visual Dyslexia affects one’s ability to read and remember what they’ve read.
  • Primary Dyslexia can be inherited genetically. It can cause one to struggle with reading, spelling, and math.
  • Secondary/Developmental Dyslexia is caused by infections that occur during birth/in the womb.
  • Trauma (Acquired) Dyslexia is caused through a brain injury (i.e. trauma) and affects one’s ability to read.

So…What’s the solution?

Called AIssistant, my team and I want to create a mobile app that helps dyslexic kids in elementary school master their skills in reading through games.

AI is integrated into the app, where the app is like your own personal “tutor”. Because dyslexic kids have tutors to help them, AI can act as their own personal tutor that can personalize the subjects they need to focus on.
AIssistant will utilize supervised learning in order to asses the strong and weak areas of an individual, through an introductory test. From there, it will automatically recommend specific learning plans. Then AI can help cater the app with certain content and games for the kids that can help them master their weak spots!

The main features of this app include:

  • Fun Games - We’ve done research and found multiple cited games that can be used as to educate the dyslexic student, whilst keep them entertained.
Words with Friends is where players must spell out complex words to gain points. This allows dyslexic students to expand their vocabulary
  • Mini Quizzes - These will be used to test the child’s ability to understand the material the app provides. As well, it will contribute to their overall progress that the app keeps record of.
  • Real-time Chatbot - This will allow the students to communicate with a AI assistant (“teacher”) that can assist in areas that they cannot comprehend.
  • Progress Graph/Chart - This progress bar will allow the parents of the dyslexic students to monitor their child’s improvement.

Our Goal is to…

Besides aiding dyslexic children’s experience of the virtual learning, we also want to pioneer more research on dyslexia.

Children with dyslexia are typically diagnosed around the age of 5 or 6

The AI will compile demographic information and identify any patterns should they exist. This is beneficial as the age demographic of the app corresponds to the most common age at which children are diagnosed with dyslexia. There are currently no studies that clearly show that a demographic suffers from dyslexia at a higher rate than others, which would make a pattern crucial in research.


With Covid-19 cases continuing to increase, many students including those with dyslexia will be expected to complete their education virtually. A new virtual special education plan must be made to adapt to this crisis or else many students will fall behind, especially without the proper interaction they need.

Our team thoroughly believes that AIssistant could provide a feasible solution. Not only would the app create a personalized education plan for each student, it will also reduce the stress of parents and any financial distress to find a tutor.

Feel free to contact us…

Here are our Linkedin profiles:

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed!