Finally, success after resolving Irlen Syndrome for this schoolgirl

My daughter Chris, did great in school, but when she read aloud, she did so in a halting, slow way. She skipped words and lines and mixed words up. I mentioned it to every teacher she had from 1st to 6th grade. They each referred to her excellent test scores & grades & one teacher had me compare silent reading rates w/ aloud reading rates; they were similar. No one saw a problem. Still, I just KNEW something was amiss, but what?
In 6th grade, Chris had to read a book with tiny print. She became nauseous while reading (she has always had slight motion sickness). She had headaches while reading almost daily. Our family read to her at home in the evenings to keep her caught up with the school book clubs, outside reading and regular homework.

I asked her aunt, a special ed. teacher, if she’d heard of nausea when reading & scotopic syndrome entered our lives. We went on the Irlen website the next day & Chris said YES to almost every self test question. I couldn’t believe what she was saying she experienced! I was upset but relieved. Then my husband entered the room and saw what we were doing and said, “that happens to me too”! (…frustration… for all of us!)

We went to Ms. David, the diagnostician in our area, and as Chris tried to read without any overlays, she leaned forward, scrunched her face & eyes and tried her best. The words jump, move, she sees white rivers and the words also disappear. When the overlays were used, her whole body sat back and relaxed. Ms. David pointed that out to me. I also couldn’t believe what my daughter had to endure, still succeeding all 7 years of school! Both her and my tears just started flowing – I felt awful to have let this go on for so long, but thankfully, we finally had an answer.
Chris adapted to her lenses right away & has used them for 2 years. She advocates for herself in school. High school is next & we are a bit nervous, but so far all of her teachers are very accomodating, even getting her some audio books to help with reading large amounts per night.
I emailed every teacher she had in the past about Irlen & the effects on Chris. Teachers & districts need to be aware of Irlen & test for it early on so children don’t suffer needlessly for years when it can be so easily remedied.
Chris has read, for enjoyment, 600 page books and a long 4-book series. We couldn’t be prouder or happier we discovered the answers to help her out!

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
much
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..
Kessler!

Link to preliminary PDF of “Reading Through Colour”

Go to http://www.essex.ac.uk/psychology/overlays/book2.pdf 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:http://www.essex.ac.uk/psychology/overlays/

Note that there are references to a different testing system used by some centers in England. To find diagnosticians worldwide consult http://irlen.com/index.php?s=findclinic

A self test for migraine sufferers to see whether Irlen Syndrome may be involved

Go to self-test #2 (Please scroll down!) at www.readingandlight.com contributed by David Accola. David’s website has concise information and includes excellent video testimonials. If you are dealing with migraines be sure to see the video about the success of  9-year old girl named Kelsey who used to have a migraine every day, and now she does not.

I have suggested other Irlen sites, but now there is a most wonderful video by an adolescent.

My highest praise goes to the following site presenting a video by David Accola. Go to http://www.readingandlight.com/. It is a teen’s summary:  What Irlen is and where to find help.

Follow this link to Dr. Daniel Amen’s website for fascinating facts about the brain

http://www.amenclinics.com/brain-science/cool-brain-science/cool-brain-facts/As a neuropsychiatrist for 20years Dr. Daniel Amen’s clinics have amassed the world’s largest database of brain scans related to behavior, more than 21,000. He states that “One of the factors that drew me to SSS (Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome aka Irlen Syndrome) is its simplicity and effectiveness.

Irlen tinted lenses drastically improve daughter’s life

Letter from a grateful momTo: Irleninstitute@irlen.com Tuesday, March 04, 2008My daughter has Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome (SSS)/ Irlen Syndrome; it has been a frustrating and painful journey searching for answers. Heather has had headaches on a daily basisnfor most of her life. She has also suffered with migraines, dizziness, loss of appetite, and learning difficulties. When she would come home from school, she would close herself in her bedroom with the lights off and the blinds drawn.Heather was seen by an M.D., a Neurologist, a Head and Neck Specialist, Optomitrist, and a Physical Therapist. An MRI and blood tests showed nothing unusual. The doctors said her headaches were tension and stress-related, and they continued to prescribe medications to  ease her pain.In June of 2006 Heather said “Mom, just let it go. Nobody is going to figure it out. I just have to live with it; I don’t want to see any more doctors.”Shortly after that I read about Irlen Syndrome and found that Heather had most of the symptoms. I immediately took her in for a screening and diagnostic exam, and Mrs. Irlen said her case was so severe, she wondered how Heather had managed to go through life for 15 years without treatment.She now wears the Irlen special filter lenses. She can function at school without having a migraine at the end of the day, and she can read a book without the words “moving” on the page.To make Heather more comfortable in her own home without her glasses, we have removed all fluorescent lights and replaced them with incandescent lights on a dimmer switch, and we are in the process of repainting the walls to get rid of the blinding white paint.It was such a relief when Heather was diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome, we finally understand what she has been suffering with and can do something about it instead of aggravating it!Sincerely,Barbara S.Huntington Beach, California  

Explanation of Irlen Syndrome by Rhonda Stone, Author of The Light Barrier

Irlen Syndrome, Meares-Irlen Syndrome, or Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome is a very specific problem associated with the photoreceptors of the eye and how wavelengths are absorbed and processed by multiple systems of the brain. There are different manifestations of this complex problem. An individual may experience just a couple or all of the symptoms: eye-strain, fatigue, headaches (including migraine), nausea, motion sickness, confusion or lack of clarity in thinking, the perception that text is moving (rising, falling, shaking, swirling, disappearing, etc.) and even problems with depth perception. Individuals with this problem may love to read but struggle to read for long periods of time; resist reading altogether because the physical issues make it a struggle; or simply appear disinterested in reading because they “don’t like it” (but they don’t know why –most adults with Irlen Syndrome live all their lives with it and, therefor, don’t know that issues they experience aren’t normal). One of the most serious manifestations is epileptic seizure (now widely understood to be caused by strobing, but less understood to be caused by what researcher Arnold Wilkins, Ph.D. University of Essex, calls “visual stress” and “pattern glare.” Reading involves patterns of text and is a visually stressful task.)

Dyslexia is commonly thought of as a learning issue. The neurobiological issues associated with it are little understood. Irlen Syndrome is a neurobiological issue that affects a variety of brain systems (beginning with the photoreceptors) and a handful of researchers are doing excellent work to define and document it. It is a neurobiological problem that can affect both health and learning, just health, or just learning.

Think of the human visual system as beginning with a “solar power plant.” The “photorecptors” capture the energy (literally, the individual wavelengths), a biochemical reaction occurs, signals are sent as a result of this biochemical reaction through the visual pathways to the deeper structures of the brain. What the photoreceptors have captured is pure ENERGY. The human skin also has photoreceptive qualities. Do you know people who burn easily? Tan easily? Some react better to ultraviolet (UV) radiation than others, right?

Well, Irlen Syndrome exists because some people have photoreceptive “solar power plants” that react inappropriately to UV radiation and a myriad of other aspects of light (short wavelengths, medium wavelengths, long wavelengths, volume of lights as expressed through dark and bright, and pattern and contrast modulation). The resulting effect is physical stress on the eyes and/or brain AND/OR unstable visual perception. For many of these people, fluorescent lighting and computer screens are particularly problematic because both are in a constant state of flicker (except LCD screens), which adds to the visual stress.

Irlen Syndrome is a very specific condition that manifests in different ways. Tinted lenses reduce the symptoms by modifying the wavelengths (or ENERGY) absorbed by the photoreceptors. The modification improves how the physical system receives and processes the light. This is totally logical to physicists and a few people studying both photosensitivity and the neurobiology of the brain. Sadly many ophthalmologists and optometrists have never studied the physics of light, let alone photosensitivity and neurobiology.

I am pleased to see that the first International Symposium on Visually-Induced Motion Sickneess, Fatigue, and Epileptic Seizure (VIMS) is being held in Hong Kong this December (2007). Because thousands of children were stricken by epileptic seizures during and immediately after a popular Pokemon movie in theaters following a short strobing segment a number of years ago, the scientific community finally became interested in this important new area of brain science. A brand new American movie may produce a smaller effect, if the scientific community pays attention. The movie is American Gangster, and it too includes a short strobing segment.I welcome further discussions on this topic.

RSStone74@aol.com Taken from a discussion at beingdyslexic.co.uk November 4, 2007

Note: Scroll down to see previous article which is what she was responding to.

Invisible Reading Problem, Easy Solution

Arizona newspaper article by Paula Abromovitz, Irlen diagnostician

Man Bombarded By The Universe Enjoys A World Of Difference

This is a real life story of a man with Asperger’s Syndrome who was helped enormously by an Irlen tint that is not even noticeable. This tells me that one can resolve Irlen Syndrome without assuming it will necessitate a dark tint. I had considered the title “The world that was attacking Chris Cooke now finds Chris attacking his world; he is reading, driving and running with his new Irlen filter lenses.”

Chris Cooke is a 34-year-old accountant working in London and living in Folkestone, England with his wife (me) and one year old daughter. Chris has been wearing his filters for over a year now. They are part of everyday life and you would never catch him without his filters on, even going to the toilet in the middle of the night!

So how did it all happen? Well, it all came to a head the day before Christmas Eve, 2006, driving to my parents’ house to drop off Christmas presents, me singing away to the radio, and I turned to see Chris in the passenger seat looking sad and upset. I stopped singing and asked what was wrong. He said he couldn’t cope anymore. “What do you mean,”I asked, and then he explained. Chris felt the world was coming at him. Everything kept moving and he was feeling sick and hated going to unfamiliar places, especially if they had bright lights.

A week after this, having talked over and over what was happening, we started looking on the Internet and researching Chris’ symptoms. As Chris has Asperger’s Syndrome we started there but could only find support and help for children. Chris then came across Irlen Syndrome. He went through the checklist and had almost every single one of the symptoms suggesting signs of Irlen Syndrome so we rang the doctors.

Two days later Chris got an appointment and we discussed what we had found. The doctor did not recognise Irlen and although he looked it up on the Internet while we were there, he could not help. As I am a teacher I knew a child at school had Irlen and wore filters so I traced the child’s parents and asked if they had a contact number and that is how Chris got his initial screening, the screening that would change our lives and the life of our unborn daughter forever.

Before finding out and getting filters for his Irlen Syndrome Chris was a typical man on the outside, but inside every day was hard work and heavy going. From a young age Chris was a competitive runner, but as he got older it became harder and harder to concentrate on his running when “the world was coming at him.” The pavement moved like an ocean and trees and buildings would come at him as he ran. The world became too scary to run so he gave up a promising running passion and, as with many of the things Chris liked, hid from it. Now, since having his filters Chris has started up running again and found it a relaxing and enjoyable experience, so much so that he has started to run competitively and hopes to run the London Marathon next year. Chris now describes it as ” the world now stays still and the only thing moving is me.”

Living in Folkestone and working in London the journey isn’t pleasant for anyone, but Chris used to describe his journey to and from work as hell and when you listen to the details of the lights flicking and chairs flying at you, patterns of the seats swimming around in front of your eyes and the people coming from nowhere, I think it truly was. Chris would get home from work most days with a headache and throw up, his eyes would always be very red and sore. Now Chris still doesn’t enjoy his travel to work, but with his filters everything is how it should be and this is useful time he uses to study for promotion at work and read.

Studying and reading sound like simple things everyone can do, but when you have to fold a newspaper into tiny parts to read it you can understand the joy this brings. Now Chris likes to hold the broadsheet as wide as possible to take it all in (a little extreme and annoying but what a change). Chris says that his Irlen filters extend the point at which overload occurs. His concentration period at work before taking a break has gone from approximately ten minutes to about forty-five.

In 2006 we got married and as we planned to have a family we decided Chris should learn to drive. Sundays from then on were awful. Chris hated driving and had no perception of where the car was on the road and cars seemed to come at him. We now know what a danger Chris would have been to himself and others and thank goodness he recognised something wasn’t right and said so. Since Chris has had his filters he has been driving and is amazed that everything seems a lot simpler and is going to be starting his lessons up again soon.When we had our daughter in 2007 we were very grateful for Chris’ filters and he feels that without them he would not have been able to cope. He says that without his filters he would not be able to look after her, change her nappy or push the pram. But with them he is a fantastic Dad.

Chris’ filters have helped in so many different areas of our lives it is hard to share them all but being able to wash up without five breaks, mow the grass without the blades of grass and trees coming at him and no longer being “scared of heights” as everything moves when you look at it, has changed our lives.The initial assessment was a little scary as we had no idea what would happen. It was also an emotional time to openly admit to these problems for the first time. The full assessment was amazing. Chris describes it as “The day he opened his eyes and saw the world the way everyone else see it.” The process is very exciting and to watch your husband’s face go from sheer fear looking at a picture to smiling was a moment I will never forget.

I just wanted to share with you one of the best things that has happened to our little family and hope that sharing our story may help someone else to “see the world the way everyone else does.”

A footnote: For those of you not familiar with English terms a nappy is a diaper and a broadsheet is a newspaper. Roger Wheaton

If you or someone in your family with Asperger’s Syndrome has an Irlen success story you can share, please leave a comment or better yet e-mail me at wheat42@hotmail.com with your story so I can share it here.