Irlen success with a 4th grader thought to have ADD

Letter to a boy’s diagnostician from his mother:

Susan, I have sooo much to share, I have to share with you what a great
success your Diagnosis and subsequest Irlen lenses have made in Sean’s life.

Sean is in the 4th grade, and every teacher in his young life has had
concerns regarding his skills with regards to reading, handwriting,
and focus in class. Sean is a polite, hardworking child and has always been
able to pull “B’s and C’s” in school. Although he would be moody and
frustrated much of the time, it was a real stuggle. His fourth grade
teacher also mentioned concerns with all the above and suggested we consider
testing and meds for ADD.

I agreed to the testng, wanting at the very least a definitive root cause.
During the same week I spoke to a much respected friend who is a more
experienced mother, and I discussed my concerns with my 9 year old son.

We discussed my primary issues with my son which were his attention and his
stilted reading ability… he would read as if each word had a comma after
it or as if he were reading a list. My friend shared with me that one of
her children really struggled with attention issues and with reading also
AFTER FOUR years she was finally diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome/Scotopic

Meanwhile, the ADD school test showed my son NORMAL, so I immediately
scheduled with you. You recommended Irlen Filters with specific colors and
now just 3 short weeks later…. his Teacher, almost reluctantly, informed
the School Psy. that Sean is MUCH improved in his attention, focus,
handwriting is on the line instead of floating between the upper and lower
lines, his math scores and spelling scores are both Topnotch!! His self-
esteem is much improved, the Kid couldn’t see!! and with my own limited
vision I believe he was facing his own internal fears..

Thank you so much, you have changed our lives, you alone have changed my
son’s life for the better; a humble mother thanks you so very much.

Why tinted lenses from optometrists cannot equal Irlen Spectral Filters

Clients sometimes go to optometrists to get a tint which they think is
helpful; but, as this email expresses so well, Irlen Spectral Filters are so
better. I really like this letter and will use it when explaining why it is
worthwhile to get Irlen Filters over other methods and self-tinting.

My Trip to Dr. Carol Kessler to get my Irlen Filters

A few weeks after my presentation, I went to see Dr. Carol Kessler in
Kingston, New York, to get my first real pair of Irlen Filters. I’ve been
wearing a pair of violet glasses my mom had made for me at an optical store
three years ago. We were living in the United Arab Emirates at the time.
She had found about Irlen Syndrome and had me choose the best color
from MS Word. They made everything a lot better, but I knew now that with
the perfect color combination I should be able to see a whole lot better and
so many of my other Irlen Syndrome-related problems should get better. Dr.
Kessler was really nice and carefully went through all the color
combinations and densities that worked best for me. I got purple, blue and
rose filters. I was amazed at how much better I could see! My original
pair of colored glasses were only purple (violet). She had me look at the
window, and I was startled. Everything was practically jumping out at me in
a 3-D I had never even imagined existed. My whole world stopped swirling
and jumping and fogging. I no longer saw spots or flashes. Reading is now
enjoyable, math is so much easier, I don’t get lost so easily, I’m able to
learn to drive, I can
suddenly see musical notes so I’m going to start to learn to read music, I
can see balls moving now instead of the usual fuzz – so I can play baseball,
soccer and basketball better, I can follow group conversations, my
headaches are gone. It’s a wonderful world! Thank you Helen Irlen and Dr..

Link to preliminary PDF of “Reading Through Colour”

Go to to read the pre-publication PDF of Arnold Wilkins book “Reading Through Colour: How Coloured Filters Can Reduce Reading Difficulty, Eye Strain, and Headaches.” Dr. Wilkins gives interesting scientific information regarding Irlen Syndrome. Note: there are 132 pages. You may wish to read this on your computer.

This is the link to the publisher of the book.

Use the following link to go to the University of Essex website to view Dr. Wilkins’ Irlen information:

Note that there are references to a different testing system used by some centers in England. To find diagnosticians worldwide consult

A testimonial about a girl thought to have ADD

Subject: Misdiagnosed with ADD when the problem is Irlen Syndrome.


Gail has a 4 year history of academic problems thought to be due to difficulty with attention and concentration.  She has a short attention span, difficulty with concentration and staying on tasks,  She has learning difficulties, reading problems, messy handwriting, moodiness, behavior difficulties with explosive tendencies.  She takes medication for ADD and receives special services.  Her neuropsychological report did note that Gail has frequent headaches which may also be affection her ability to focus on school work and her overall endurance for learning.  But the full impact of physical symptoms on attention and learning was not fully recognized.  


What was not identified by the school and testing is Irlen Syndrome.  Because of her Irlen Syndrome she not only got headaches but felt tired, irritable, anxious and dizzy with fluorescent lighting and reading and other visual activities.  This clearly affected motivation, attention, behavior control, and class room performance.  Typical of someone with Irlen Syndrome, when she was reading and doing other visual activities in the classroom she not only experiences all of the above physical symptoms but her eyes would get watery, hurt, ache.  The background would overpower the print as it would breathe and expand around the letters.  There was a constant flickering and flashing of lights in the white background and glowing auras around the letters.  With her Irlen Filters she no longer experienced visual distortions and physical symptoms.  Obviously, she could now read for long periods, concentrate in class, stay on task.  She no longer takes medication and her teachers no longer feel that she has ADD.  She is rapidly catching up academically. 

Links to Mentions of ADHD and Irlen Syndrome

Q&A at Scroll down to “If I have ADD or ADHD, can I be helped with Irlen colored filters?”

Irlen East “ADD and ADHD” from East of Englands Center for the treatment of Irlen Syndrome

Reading Problems With Kids story from CNN dated April 16, 2008

The Effects Of Scotopic Sensitivity/Irlen Syndrome On Evaluating Attention Deficit With Standardized Testing

Due to the nature of Irlen Syndrome, various subtests of the Wechler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fourth Edition (WISC-IV), and  of the Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery, Third Edition, Cognitive and Achievement (WJ-R) are adversely affected.  In addition, continuous performance tasks reliant on visual processing, such as The Test of Variables of Attention-Visual (TOVA-Visual), are also negatively impacted and may, in some cases, produce false positives for ADHD. Irlen lenses may bring the standard scores into the Average range with no other intervention, thus those suspected of ADHD should be screened for Irlen Syndrome and, if appropriate, tinted prior to administration of such visual tasks.

Though not yet done in formalized research, empirical evidence suggests that standard scoresmay be as much as one and one-half standard deviations higher when individuals with Irlen Syndrome utilized Irlen lenses. The more heavily reliant a task is upon visual processing, the greater the improvement once the Irlen Syndrome has been appropriately addressed. Specifically, caution should be taken before concluding that a diagnosis of ADHD is accurate when the assessments are heavily dependent upon visual processing and a screening for Irlen Syndrome has not been performed.

By Andrew G. Yellen, Ph.D.

From The Irlen International Newsletter  January, 2006

Invisible Reading Problem, Easy Solution

Arizona newspaper article by Paula Abromovitz, Irlen diagnostician

Videos From the Irlen Institute

My favorite is “Depth Perception and Motor Coordination.” Go to Youtube to view videos.Be sure to see this testimonial from a mother who has taught 32 years telling about treating Irlen Syndrome in her son

Connections Between Irlen Syndrome and Other Medical Conditions According to the Amen Clinic

Amen Clinics and Brain Scans


The Amen Clinics have amassed the world’s largest database of brain scans related to behaviour, more than 21,000. The brain is involved in everything we do. The clinics include screening for Irlen Syndrome in their assessments and testing. Dr. Robert Dobrin describes below the links he has found between Irlen Syndrome and a range of conditions. This is further evidence that Irlen Syndrome needs to be better understood by professionals and that testing for Irlen Syndrome needs to be incorporated into standard testing procedures.

“The Irlen Syndrome represents an intriguing and controversial spectrum of symptoms that remain invisible to most clinicians. During the last 32 months at the Amen Clinic, I have confirmed diagnosis of approximately 210 patients with Irlen Syndrome. Irlen Syndrome, depending on the severity and presence of co-existing disorders, contributed to anxiety, with a resulting spectrum of fatigue, irritability, and vulnerability with a diminished cognitive reserve.

Irlen Syndrome should be expected within the following clinical composites:

I asked Helen Irlen “Comment on the role of heredity with Irlen Syndrome”

I said “I know from experience that our son, Ryan, inherited it from me. Do you know if mothers can transmit it as well?”

Her response: “The majority of the individuals we see at Irlen Institute/Clinics have Irlen Syndrome as a result of heredity. Individuals can acquire symptoms similar to Irlen Syndrome and benefit from the Irlen Method for various reasons: TBI, head injury, concussion, whiplash, autoimmune diseases, etc. Please check the “Who We Can Help” section of for a partial list of these conditions. Although Irlen Syndrome is usually an inherited condition, it can be inherited from either the male or the female. The condition is not sex linked and all research indicates that it occurs equally in males and females.” One study of 751 children with Irlen Syndrome found that 84% had at least one parent with Irlen Syndrome.  This leads me to expect that when I find a possible Irlen client I have probably found a family that experiences similar symptoms indicating

Irlen Syndrome. Do you see traits within your family indicating that you may share this with other family members? Perhaps someone was diagnosed with dyslexia, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, or there may be symptoms of migraine headaches.