Irlen East for the east of England

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Irlen and how it may be effecting your reading

Irlen Syndrome and the similarity to dyslexia


Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that mainly affects the development of literacy and language skill, often characterised by difficulty with reading. Dyslexia can occur across the range of intellectual abilities.

Individuals are affected to differing degrees.

Problems may occur with sounding out words, spelling words, reading quickly, writing words, mispronouncing words when reading aloud and a lack of understanding what was read. Often these difficulties are initially noticed at school. The difficulties are not voluntary and people with this disorder have a normal desire to learn.

The cause of dyslexia is believed to involve both genetic and environmental factors. Some cases run within families. It occurs more often in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and can be associated with problems with mathematics.

When the condition begins in adults it may be the result of a traumatic brian injury, stroke or dementia. The underlying mechanism involves problems with the brain's processing of language.

Diagnosis is by a series of tests of a person's memory, spelling, ability to see and reading skills. It is separate from reading difficulties due to poor teaching, or hearing or vision problems.

Treatment usually involves adjusting teaching methods to meet the person's needs. While this does not cure the underlying problem, difficulties can be lessened.

Treatments aimed at vision are not effective at relieving dyslexic problems. Dyslexia is a common learning disability. While it has been diagnosed more often in males, some believe it affects males and females equally, this would lead to many females not being currently diagnosed. Dyslexia occurs in all areas of the world.

Dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome

The problems that are experienced by those suffering from Dylsexia (problems with the written word), Dyscalculia (number identification and processing), Dyspraxia (problems with movement and co-ordination- clumsy child syndrome), and Dysphasia (difficulty with using and understanding language) can exist alongside and in addition to Irlen Syndrome.

The treatment for Irlen Syndrome will lessen the impact of some of the specific learning difficulties above but is not a cure for these conditions, however Irlen lenses should enable the sufferer to function more accurately and comfortably.

However, some who are being labelled "dyslexic/dyspraxic" are actually sufferers from Irlen. Once this group are prescribed the correct Irlen lenses by a qualified Irlen Diagnostician most or all of their difficulties will disappear. Reading and/or co-ordination often immediately improves dramatically because visual distortions are eliminated. The client can then begin to access learning much more successfully.

As mentioned, some Irlen symptoms are also those commonly experienced by dyslexics and confusion between the two can occur. Often symptoms of both disabilities will include headaches, day dreaming, poor reading performance and comprehension, visual distortions on the page, difficulties with handwriting, frustration, low self esteem and poor social skills.

If Irlen Syndrome is not tested for by a qualified Irlen Screener before dyslexia testingis undertaken then some individuals are at risk of being labelled dyslexic when they may only have Irlen Syndrome. Fortunately Irlen is much more easily dealt with.

At Irlen East, screeners and diagnosticians have additional qualifications and experience in the identification and teaching of dyslexic students and will also advise and support schools and parents.

Opticians who offer coloured lenses for reading problems do not have this expertise and cannot give qualified educational advice, nor can they apply for and obtain exam dispensations for pupils in public examinations.

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Irlen East the Irlen Centre covering East of England

Copyright © 1998-2006 by Perceptual Development Corp/Helen Irlen. All rights reserved

Copyright © 1998-2019 by Perceptual Development Corp/Helen Irlen. All rights reserved