International Day of Persons with Disabilities – Spotlight on Irlen Syndrome
Disability can be unfamiliar to many, however, 13.9m people in the UK have disabilities. Over the next week, we will be sharing advice on how to become Disability Confident to end the awkwardness around disability.
The following article has been written by Lucy Smith who has opened up about Irlen Syndrome:
I discovered I had Irlen Syndrome as the age of 34! I never realised that what I was seeing on the page when reading was not ‘normal’ and I just accounted for my depth perception and glare issues as part of how things are….what a difference a year makes.
After getting diagnosed it really has been life changing in so many ways, I read for pleasure now without wanting to sleep after 2 pages, I don’t bump into or drop things so often, headaches and dizziness reduced significantly and I can deal with glare more effectively.This is me with my Irlen filters on my lenses:
When I read I see the page with the following distortions: Blurry, Halo and Washout.
More Information & How you can get tested
What is Irlen Syndrome?
Irlen Syndrome (also referred to at times as Meares-Irlen Syndrome, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, and Visual Stress) is a perceptual processing disorder. It is not an optical problem. It is a problem with the brain’s ability to process visual information. Irlen Syndrome can affect many different areas, including:
Academic and work performance
Ability to sit still
Around 50% of children and adults with reading, learning, or attention problems have Irlen Syndrome. (https://irlen.com, n.d.)
About Irlen Syndrome
Adults or children suffering from Irlen Syndrome are likely to experience some, but not all, of the following symptoms and characteristics:
Slow reading rate
Unable to retain and remember information
Not able to read for any length of time
Difficulty judging distances
Some of the characteristics of Irlen syndrome are generally being sensitive to light which makes reading in a bright light very difficult and the glare from the page can cause significant problems. In some cases depth of perception is also affected which can result in difficulty judging distances, being ‘clumsy’ e.g. dropping or knocking things over. It can cause difficulty getting on and off escalators and moving walkways.
Whilst observing a child or adult with Irlens you may notice one or more of the following:
Moving closer to the page
Closes or covers one eye
Shades the page with hand or body
Falls asleep when reading
Narrows eyes or peers at the text
Some of the types of reading and writing difficulty experienced may be:
Skipping words or lines
Words appear to move and jump around the page or become blurred
Repeating or re-reading lines
Reading is slow and hesitant
Missing out small words
Unable to remember or understand what they have read
Inability to write on a line
Writing goes up or down hill
Difficulty copying from the books or the board
Difficulty following musical notation
Correcting Irlen Syndrome can result in the following improvements: