Let’s talk about Irlen Syndrome. In this blog we’ll explain exactly what is Irlen Syndrome, what the symptoms are, and what to do about it. We are also going to hear what it is like to experience Irlen Syndrome from a bibic Developmental Therapist.
What is Irlen Syndrome?
Have you ever had difficulties with reading, attention, headaches, or light sensitivities? These symptoms and more could be a sign of perception difficulties.
Irlen Syndrome is a visual perceptual processing disorder that can affect children and adults of all ages. It is a difficulty with the brain’s ability to accurately process visual information. It has been the subject of medical and educational research and is a recognised syndrome with a physiological basis.
Tabby is a Developmental Therapist at bibic, in her early 20’s, she had experienced difficulties when reading in the past and was unable to concentrate easily, she talks about her experience when she first realised she could have Irlen syndrome.
Did you know you might have Irlen Syndrome?
“Prior to having an Irlen assessment, I had not heard of Irlen syndrome and didn’t think there was anything wrong with my visual perception. Before my assessment I experienced lots of difficulties when reading, for example I would get extremely tired, have headaches, I found it difficult to concentrate on the words, the words would go blurry, and most of the time I wouldn’t even take in what I had read, having to re-read it again. I had my eyes tested at the opticians and everything came back okay, so I didn’t think there was anything abnormal about this and presumed everyone experiences visual stress and there was nothing you could do about it.”
How did you feel when you found out about Irlen Syndrome?
“When I found out about Irlen Syndrome, I immediately wanted to have an assessment to see if it would help with my reading. I found out I have Irlen Syndrome and require grey overlays when reading to reduce the visual stress I experience. Since the assessment I still cannot believe how much easier it is reading with a coloured overlay and the huge difference it makes; the words look so much clearer and I no longer become tired or get headaches when reading. I also understand what I read so much more as I’m not having to put as much effort into reading the words. If anyone experiences the difficulties I had when reading and cannot understand why, I would highly recommend looking into Irlen syndrome as it has made such a positive difference for me, making my work life and completing my degree so much easier!”
What can I do about it?
Individuals with Irlen Syndrome have difficulty processing all visual information, not just words on a printed page, so it can cause reading difficulties, light sensitivity, physical symptoms, fatigue. As well as difficulties with depth perception, driving, behaviour, writing and gross motor skills. It can also lead to stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, and underachievement. The difficulties that Irlen gives an individual can manifest itself differently for each individual. If left un-helped it can often become a lifetime barrier to learning and performance.
bibic is a charity based in Langport, Somerset, they offer a range of assessments, from a full two-day bibic assessment where they assess the child as a whole to more specific screeners with their experienced developmental therapists.
If you think yourself or your child could benefit from an Irlen screening session or an assessment with bibic, get in touch with the team, they can have a chat with you via phone or email to discuss your enquiry further.
Learn more about Irlen Syndrome here!