There were many questions on Irlen Syndrome during our Elluminate session on Dyslexia last month, and Ruth has take the time to do a quick report on this condition that effects more than half of people with Dyslexia. HCOS has about a dozen teachers who are able to identify Irlen, so if you would like to be assessed, please contact your LS consultant via your teacher or visit www.Irlen.ca. Thanks again, Ruth, for taking the time to do this research! Carmen
people with Irlen Syndrome have been misdiagnosed as dyslexic, having ADD/ADHD,
or as slow learners.
often seen as underachievers, or as having attitudinal, behavioral, or
may be slow and inefficient, or there may be poor comprehension, strain, or
Syndrome can affect attention span, listening, energy level, work production,
and mental health.
with Irlen Syndrome are often unaware that they perceive the printed page
and/or their environment differently and that they are putting extra energy and
effort into reading and perception.
Syndrome occurs on a continuum from mild to extremely severe.
7.Irlen Syndrome is a perceptual disorder
that is caused by sensitivity to light.
studies suggest that 46% of those identified with reading problems, dyslexia,
attention deficit disorder, or learning difficulties suffer from Ilren
is a visual-perceptual problem which, most likely originates either in the
retina of the eye or in the visual cortex in the brain.
sensitivity i.e. bothered by glare, florescent lights, bright lights, and
symptoms such as feeling tired, sleepy, restlessness, dizzy, or having
difficulty staying focused, especially with bright or fluorescent lights.
problems such as poor comprehension, misreads words, problems tracking from
line to line, loses place, and skips words or line.
such as strain or fatigue, headaches or nausea, fidgety or restless, eyes that
hurt or become watery.
perception such as clumsiness, difficulty catching a ball, difficulty judging
i.e. words on a page lack clarity or stability.
glare: use dull coloured paper for reading and writing.Never read in bright light, florescent
tinted lenses to reduce some of the visual distortions and to make the eyes
computer screen as opposed to CRT screens, which flicker.
website text size using the Internet Browser settings.
bookmark when reading.
short periods with breaks rather than trying to read continuously over a long
screening for Irlen Syndrome involves challenging the visual system to
determine the severity of the symptoms.Colour overlays are used to alter the contrast between the words and the
page.Once the proper colour
combination has been determined, overlays of that colour are placed over the
page while reading.Tinted Irlen
filters are recommended for most people.
the treatment is simple, the results are often dramatic. The use of colour
filters will allow a person with Irlen Syndrome to see the words on a page
clearly. This allows for quick and
dramatic improvement of reading skills, and will enhance academic performance
and self esteem.
My second son’s birth was premature by two
months.He weighed 3lbs. 4oz. and
remained in the hospital until he had gained weight to 5lbs.My doctor reassured me that he would do
just fine, as he was a fighter. While I waited for him to come home, I
researched premature births and their effects on children and discovered that “preemies”
have a tendency towards ADHD.Generally,
my son’s developmental stages were slightly delayed, but by age 5 he had caught
up to his peers.
I began to notice defiant, strong-willed behavior as
he approached the “terrible twos”.He was much more difficult to manage than his older brother, and much
more difficult than my friends’ children.He challenged me every step of the way.Most days I would fall into bed at the end of the day,
exhausted and down on myself for being the “wicked witch of the west” with my
children.I was a stay-at-home mom
and wanted to be the best mom possible but often felt like a failure.
In those days, fortunately, I found an expert on
exactly what I was dealing with.I
discovered books and broadcasts by a doctor named James Dobson. He described these
unique individuals this way: “Just as surely as some children are naturally
compliant… there are others who seem to be looking for a fight upon exit from
the womb.Such children come into
the world smoking a cigar and barking orders in the delivery room…” However, he
also writes, “ It is my firm conviction that the strong-willed child usually
possesses more creative potential and strength of character than his compliant
siblings, provided his parents can help him channel his impulses and gain
control of his rampaging will”.
Dr. Dobson, in his book The Strong-Willed Child, wrote about the
importance of shaping, and never
breaking the child’s will.He
suggested that when a child behaves in ways that are disrespectful, his motive
is to verify the stability of the boundaries that have been set up.He is looking for leadership that holds
firm and is confident.His
greatest security is found in a structured environment where the rights of
other people and his own are protected by definite boundaries.
So how is “shaping the will” accomplished?
Define the Boundaries Before They Are Enforced
Establish reasonable expectations and boundaries in advance so that the child knows what is and what is not acceptable behavior before
he is held responsible for the rules. Ask the child to explain to you what the
boundary is, so that you know they clearly understand.
When Defiantly Challenged, Respond with Confident Decisiveness
Most children will assault the authority of their
elders and challenge their right to lead.A little child will consider his parents’ wishes and defiantly chose to
disobey.It is extremely important for the adult to win
this challenge decisively and confidently.An example was with my son’s afternoon “nap”.I had established a rule that after
lunch both sons would spend an hour in their bedrooms with the door
closed.They could read or play
quietly, but they were not to come out until I opened their door.My eldest son complied, happily went to
his room, and later I would often find him fast asleep.My youngest son believed it was in his
power to renegotiate the terms of this rule every single day.He used all of the renegotiating skills
at his disposal at the time.He
shouted, “NO”, he screamed, he yelled, he sat on the floor and grabbed onto
stationary objects, he kicked, he stretched out his arms to prevent passing through
the doorway, and once inside, he pounded on the door.This battle went on each day for months.When he finally stopped fighting me and
there was peace with this issue, we could move on to the next issue.
Distinguish between Willful Defiance and Childish Irresponsibility
Forgetting to put away toys or forgetting to feed
the dog are behaviors typical of childhood and should be handled with
patience.Be gentle as you teach
the child to do better.Continued
failure to respond to instruction, however, requires appropriate consequences
that fit the situation i.e. paying for an items that has been abused, or being
deprived of its use for a time.
Reassure and Teach After the Confrontation is Over
After a time of conflict, the child may want to be
hugged and reassured.This may be
a good time to speak words of love and encouragement to the child and to talk
about what happened and why.
Avoid Impossible Demands
Ensure that the child is fully capable of
delivering what is expected and required.
Let Love Be Your Guide
A healthy relationship is characterized by genuine
love and affection, even though parental errors are inevitable.
Dr. Dobson suggests that often the strong-willed
child ends up in leadership as an adult.This has been very true of my son.He is now 32 years of age and is currently successfully managing a
business.He has had several jobs
in the past where he soon rose in the ranks as leader over others.I am grateful that in spite of our
rough beginnings as mother and son, our relationship is strong and
healthy.While he was growing up,
I would often say that he would make us proud one day, and he certainly has!!
In summation, Dr. Dobson wrote,
not to blame for the temperament with which your child was born.He is simply a tough kid to handle and
your task is to rise to the challenge.
2.He is in
greater danger because of his inclination to test the limits and scale the
walls.Your utmost diligence and
wisdom will be required to deal with him.
fail to understand his lust for power and independence, you can exhaust your resources
and bog down in guilt.It will
benefit no one.
4.If it is
not already too late, take charge of your babies.Hold tight to the reins of authority in the early days, and
build an attitude of respect during your brief window of opportunity.
your child’s team, even when it appears to be a losing team.You’ll have the rest of your life to
enjoy mutual fellowship.
time to find himself, even if he appears not to be searching.
child before the Lord throughout their years.The God who made your child will hear your petitions.He has promised to do so.After all, He loves them more than you do.