No, Irlen Syndrome is an underlying issue which can contribute to reading and learning difficulties.
A simple assessment at an Irlen Clinic or with a qualified Irlen Screener is the only way to have an accurate diagnosis. There are a selection of Irlen self tests on this website to assist you in identifying if you or your child have signs & symptoms of Irlen Syndrome.
Irlen Syndrome can cause similar symptoms to Dyslexia and is sometimes referred to as visual processing dyslexia. It often co-exists with Dyslexia.
Yes. Irlen Syndrome may cause difficulties with depth perception, judging distanceand clumsiness.
Irlen Syndrome can contribute to issues with: Headaches, Migraines, Anxiety, Sensory Processing Disorder, Epilepsy, ADD/ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Bi-Polar Disorder, Depression and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
No, Irlen Syndrome is not an optometric issue but a difficulty with visual perception, and how the brain processes what the eyes see. Before a person visits an Irlen Clinic it is recommended they have their eyes checked with an optometrist. An Irlen assessment will assess the brain and an optometrist assessment will assess the eyes.
No, they do not have lower intelligence.
Irlen Spectral Filters can eliminate or significantly reduce glare on a page, and the distortions or distractions which may occur with the print. They allow people to keep their position when reading, improve word recognition, increase reading fluency, allow for better comprehension and improve concentration. They can reduce eyestrain and fatigue making reading more comfortable.
Yes, research has demonstrated that Irlen Spectral Filters can assist people with photosensitive Epilepsy.
Yes. Research demonstrates Irlen Syndrome affects 33% of people with ADD/ADHD. Having Irlen Syndrome can contribute to lack of concentration, reading avoidance, behaviour problems and disinterest or poor attitude to learning. Other difficulties can include: distracting others, low self esteem, frustration, withdrawal in the learning environment and lack of motivation.
An Irlen Assessment is a two-step process:
- The first testing session can be carried out by either a certified Irlen Diagnostician or an Irlen Screener. This initial assessment determines whether a person has Irlen Syndrome, how severe the problem is and whether they can be helped with Irlen coloured overlays. The correct coloured overlay is determined at this time.
- The second testing session can only be carried out by a certified Irlen Diagnostician. The second assessment is only for individuals who show moderate to significant improvement with coloured overlays. In this session, the aim is to determine the precise wave lengths of light causing a person’s perceptual problems, by using a limitless number of colour filter combinations. The precise colour is then prescribed to be worn as glasses or contact lenses.
Yes, Irlen Syndrome can still be present in good readers. In these cases, signs may include a reluctance to read, the need to go back and re-read what they have already read, an inability to read for a long time before getting a headache or sore eyes. Their comprehension may not reflect their reading ability or they may even go to sleep while reading.
In most cases the overlay is not required when the Irlen Spectral Filters are worn. In some severe cases, they are still needed, but only when reading on white paper.
Irlen overlays reduce the reflection and glare on the page. The overlays involve reflected light and filter out specific colours reflected off the white page. They do not reduce the amount of light entering a person’s eyes and can therefore cause the brain to be overstimulated. Irlen Spectral Filters involve refracted light and block those specific colours from entering the eyes by refraction. The filters have a calming effect on the brain resulting in reduced eye strain, fatigue, headaches & distortions.
Some schools do preliminary Irlen testing on students who are having difficulty with reading, concentration, behaviour because they have a teacher who is a trained Irlen Screener. Some schools have come across enough children to identify some of the symptoms in children who are having learning difficulties.
Your school may not have mentioned it because there aren’t many children identified at the school, or it may be that Irlen Syndrome is not included in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Irlen Syndrome is often overlooked by professionals such as speech pathologists, psychologists or Occupational therapists who come into the schools to do assessments.
Irlen Spectral Filters can help some children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome. The Irlen Filters are a piece of the puzzle but they are not a cure. The filters help with:
Sensory Overload caused by bright lights, fluorescent lights, and sunlight. Lighting is stressful and this can result in behaviours to filter out the light, poor eye contact, and physical symptoms such as anxiety or headaches.
Environmental Distortions where the individual sees the world in a distorted fashion. Objects are blurry, moving, changing, and can disappear. People may look frightening, stairs may look like a slide without steps, and walls and floors may swing and sway. Misperceptions can cause difficulties with sustained attention, eye contact, gross and small motor coordination, ability to interpret facial expressions and poor social skills.
Print Distortions make learning or reading difficult. The individual may have good or even advanced reading skills but has trouble with reading comprehension or experiences strain and fatigue when reading or doing other activities
Irlen Syndrome affects approximately:
12-14% of the general population
46% of individuals with reading and learning difficulties
33% with ADHD
33% with autism
55% with head injuries, concussion or whiplash
School counsellors are not trained to identify the symptoms of Irlen Syndrome and are only required to refer parents to health professionals such as psychologists, GPs, optometrists etc.