Most people are unaware that they have Irlen Syndrome. Irlen syndrome is often confused for an optical problem, however, it is a problem with processing, the inability or weakness in processing visual information. It often runs in families and typically goes mis-diagnosed as a learning disability or dyslexia.
Symptoms of Irlen's Syndrome
- Trouble reading words
- Headache while reading
- Weaker academic performance
- Weak concentration
- Complains of eye strain while reading
- Tires while reading
- Depth perception is much weaker
- Will also affect math performance
- Often exhibits sensitivity to lights especially fluorescent types
- Trouble focusing
- Weak/poor comprehension
- Difficulty tracking words on a line and will often skip words
- Reads in a strained word by word fashion and with great hesitancy
- Avoids reading
- Weaker written work
- Trouble copying
- Random spacing
- Ramdomletter sizes
- Writing up or downhill
- Inconsistent spelling
The reason for all of these symptoms is largely due to the fact that print looks different to individuals with Irlen's Syndrome.
How can you help?
- Dimmer lights
- Natural lighting appears to help
- Irlen lenses (colored lenses, colored overlays)
- Colored paper for reading materials and worksheets
- Additional time for reading assignments
- If lights can't be dimmed, individuals should be allowed to wear a visor.
- Shorten time spent on reading
- Provide more frequent breaks
- Allow the child to use a ruler to ease the tracking of words while reading.
It is important to note that Irlen syndrome and visual treatments are unproven and not recognized by the major academic Pediatric Organizations in the US(AAP, AOA, and AAO.). For more about Irlen's, take the self test.