Uptown cafe raises dyslexia awareness

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At this Chicago coffee shop, the menu looks like gibberish. (WLS)

If you can't decide what to get at a coffee shop, you look to the menu.

But at the Heritage Outpost on the edge of Uptown, that didn't help Friday because the storefront and marquee looked like gibberish. Even if customers made it into the café without noticing the modified signs, they found menus with jumbled words they could not understand.

Welcome to the Dyslexia Café.

Sorah Kim says she knew about dyslexia, but the displays still surprised her.

"I didn't realize all the different ways that it affected letters and numbers," she said.

Interns from ad agency Cramer-Krasselt came up with this exhibit, designing the special signs to catch-and confuse the eye.

"The reactions that we've been seeing from people are exactly what we wanted. It was all about the shock value and really getting people to understand that dyslexia is very common," said Account Management Intern Lauren Dumas, who worked on the project.

Jennifer Zvi from Everyone Reading Illinois says as many as one in 10 struggle with this learning disorder.

She hopes Friday's awareness campaign will go deeper, teaching people that dyslexia creates other challenges.

"Difficulty spelling, there also may be some difficulties with short-term or long-term memory, and they may have difficulty with story problems in math," she explained.

At the very least, seeing the words we know next to those we can't recognize hopefully makes us understand dyslexia a bit better.

You can visit the Dyslexia Café inside the Heritage Outpost until 7 p.m. Friday.

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