Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What About Irlen Syndrome?

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   Thanks again, Ruth, for taking the time to do this research!  Carmen


1.    Many people with Irlen Syndrome have been misdiagnosed as dyslexic, having ADD/ADHD, or as slow learners.

2.    They are often seen as underachievers, or as having attitudinal, behavioral, or motivational problems.

3.    Reading may be slow and inefficient, or there may be poor comprehension, strain, or fatigue.

4.    Irlen Syndrome can affect attention span, listening, energy level, work production, and mental health.

5.    Individuals 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.

6.    Irlen Syndrome occurs on a continuum from mild to extremely severe.

7.     Irlen Syndrome is a perceptual disorder that is caused by sensitivity to light.

8.    Incidence studies suggest that 46% of those identified with reading problems, dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, or learning difficulties suffer from Ilren Syndrome.

9.    Irlen Syndrome is a visual-perceptual problem which, most likely originates either in the retina of the eye or in the visual cortex in the brain.

1.    Light sensitivity i.e. bothered by glare, florescent lights, bright lights, and sunlight.

2.    Physical symptoms such as feeling tired, sleepy, restlessness, dizzy, or having difficulty staying focused, especially with bright or fluorescent lights.

3.    Reading problems such as poor comprehension, misreads words, problems tracking from line to line, loses place, and skips words or line.

4.    Discomfort such as strain or fatigue, headaches or nausea, fidgety or restless, eyes that hurt or become watery.

5.    Depth perception such as clumsiness, difficulty catching a ball, difficulty judging distances.

6.    Distortions i.e. words on a page lack clarity or stability.

What Helps:
1.    Reduce glare: use dull coloured paper for reading and writing.  Never read in bright light, florescent or sunlight.

2.    Wear tinted lenses to reduce some of the visual distortions and to make the eyes “calmer”.

3.    Use LCD computer screen as opposed to CRT screens, which flicker.

4.    Adjust website text size using the Internet Browser settings.

5.    Use a bookmark when reading.

6.    Read for short periods with breaks rather than trying to read continuously over a long period.

Treatment and Results:
1.    The 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.

2.    Although 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.