What is the Irlen Method?
The Irlen Method provides a unique service for some children and adults identified with reading and learning difficulties, low motivation, attention deficit disorder (ADHD), discipline problems, headaches and migraines, autism, and traumatic brain injury. The Irlen Syndrome is a perceptual processing disorder caused by the brain's inability to process specific wavelengths of light. The symptoms are wide-ranging, but the Irlen Method focuses on one core problem: the brain’s inability to process visual information. You don’t have to have a diagnosed reading or learning problem benefit from the Irlen Method. Even good readers and gifted students can be helped. If you or your child are struggling with any of the below challenges I can help you determine wether the Irlen Method would benefit you and if so, provide you with tools and recommendations for improving these areas of your life.
Who Can Benefit?
Gifted and Average Students with Good Reading Skills:
- Spend longer to complete homework
- Physical complaints of headaches, strain, or tiredness when reading or at school
- Avoids reading or reading for pleasure
- Does poorly on timed tests or standardized tests
- Unable to keep up with reading assignments
- Reads beginning and summaries rather than the entire chapter
- Listens in class rather than doing assigned reading
- Finds it easier to learn from discussion than reading
- Works hard to get grades but feels that s/he is brighter than grades indicate
- Considered lazy or unmotivated. Told they could do better if tried harder
- 12-14% can be helped by the Irlen Method
Reading Problems, Dyslexia and Learning Difficulties:
- Reading is difficult and cannot use their reading skills or learn basic reading skills
- Problems with flow, fluency, and comprehension
- 46% of this population can be helped by the Irlen Method
- Other problems may exist and instruction or remediation may be necessary
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/HD):
There is confusion and controversy over using medication to treat ADD/HD. Conflicting information has led to under-recognition as well as over-diagnosis and over-treatment. According to the experts, almost half of all children in the country with ADD/HD are not receiving appropriate care. As many as a third of those identified as having attention deficit disorder may be mislabeled and can be helped by the Irlen Method. The characteristics of those who can be helped are:
- Problems concentrating when reading or writing
- Easily distracted when reading or writing
- Distracted when under fluorescent lights
- Daydreams in class
- Problems staying on task with academic work
- Problems starting academic tasks
Headaches, Migraines and Other Physical Symptoms:
Headaches, migraines, stomachaches, dizziness and fatigue are a few of the physical symptoms which may be alleviated by the Irlen Method. These symptoms can have a variety of triggers, and those who benefit from wearing Irlen Spectral Filters may demonstrate the following problems:
- Discomfort in sunlight
- Discomfort in bright lights or fluorescent lights
- Prefer dim lighting
- Bothered by headlights at night
- Bothered by glare
- Discomfort with computer use
- Stress or strain with sustained reading
- Stress or strain from visually-intensive activities
- Difficulty looking at stripes or patterns
- Certain colors are bright and bothersome
- Snow, rain, and hazy days can appear to be glary
- Bothered by glare, fluorescent lights, bright lights, sunlight and sometimes lights at night
- Some individuals experience physical symptoms and feel tired, sleepy, dizzy, anxious, or irritable. Others experience headaches, mood changes, restlessness or have difficulty staying focused, especially with bright or fluorescent lights.
Autism and Asperger Syndrome:
Approximately 50% of those with Autism and Asperger Syndrome have the following types of difficulties which can by helped by the Irlen Method:
- Looks in a series of short glances
- Looks away from visual targets
- Squints or looks down
- Finger flicks
- Sideway glances
- Poor eye contact
- Rubs or pushes on eyes
- Mesmerized by colors, patterns, or light
- Behavior changes in bright lights or sunlight
- Poor spatial or body awareness
- Light sensitivity
- Difficulties with stairs, escalators, or catching balls
- Poor small or gross motor coordination
Traumatic Brain Injuries, Head Injuries, Concussions and Whiplash:
35% of people suffering from these conditions have the following symptoms which can be helped:
- Reading. Problems reading because of a change in clarity or stability of the print.
- Sustained Attention and Concentration. Problems with ease and comfort reading and doing other visual activities
- Light Sensitivity. Individuals become light sensitive. This makes going outside, being in bright lighting or fluorescent lighting, and driving at night uncomfortable or stressful.
- Physical Symptoms. Experience headaches, nausea, dizziness, anxiety, irritability, or stomachaches. The severity of these physical symptoms is often increased by sunlight, bright lighting, reading, and other visually-intensive activities.
- Depth Perception. Problems with activities that require the ability to judge depth or spatial relationships.
- Fatigue. General sense of being tired and fatigued.
- Neurological Problems. Light-induced seizures, tremors, or other similar problems.
Psychological, Medical and Visual Problems:
The following are a sampling of some conditions whose symptoms include light sensitivity, processing difficulties, and sensory overload and which have been helped by the Irlen Method:
- Low Vision/Visually Impaired
- Light-Induced Epilepsy
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Auto Immune Diseases
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Cerebral Palsy
- Viral Illnesses
- Tourette Syndrome
- Lyme Disease
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