Tuesday, 16 September 2014 16:17

Learning Difficulties Newcastle

Irlen Syndrome is Hereditary

Imagine being 6 year old and trying really hard to read from your school readers and also trying to show Mum and Dad that you can read (but in fact cannot achieve what is expected of you). I met such a child yesterday, and she was accompanied by her Dad who is a teacher. During our discussions, it became apparent that Dad also had problems with schoolwork and even now, only reads what he has to read! He does try from time to time to read a novel, but after only a short time, the words become unclear, and he has to work too hard to keep reading. He did not know that he had Irlen, but does now! His daughter was able to read much more fluently and accurately with the final overlay selected. She is now coming to get the Irlen lenses, so life should be easier for her at school from now on. Once again, it is so rewarding to be helping children (and adults) who have struggled to read efficiently. I love going to work!

Published in Dr Joan Brien
Tuesday, 22 July 2014 16:02

Learning Difficulties Newcastle

I spent the day at Singleton today, and screened four young children who were really struggling at school and they had been referred to lots of specialists in an effort to find out why they were having trouble reading. All of them had Irlen Syndrome, and were able to read much more fluently with the selected overlay than without it. One little boy could not bear to look at the white page for longer than about 5 seconds before his eyes started to hurt. Another one gets headaches every day. He said that he got a headache yesterday evening and when asked what he was doing at the time, he said "nothing" but Mum said "playing with his WI". This is a part of Irlen that is not always recognised. When playing with electronic games, children often don't wear their lenses because the games are colourful, and don't require a lot of reading. However, they emit a lot of glare so children can get sore eyes, headaches or tired eyes but don't realise that it is the result of the glare from the games. So if your child has Irlen lenses and doesn't wear them when playing electronic games, try to explain to them, that the glare is making their brains work harder than they should be.

Published in Dr Joan Brien
Monday, 25 August 2014 10:35

Learning Difficulties Newcastle

Did you know that some people with Irlen Syndrome suffer from anxiety and/or depression. I even see some "little people" who have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. That is sad. Whether this is a direct result from their Irlen syndrome or a combination of this along with other experiences, I cannot say. I know that some of the "littlies" who come along to the clinic, are actually phobic about reading. I have had some who cry when it comes time to read, and often it is because they have been in trouble (at least in their eyes) for making mistakes when reading. Some get anxious when they have to read to the teacher, and this can cause them to make more mistakes than they might otherwise make. I wish I could make the teachers see the effect that they have on some of these kids, and help them to understand why they have trouble reading, and that it is not that they are incapable of reading, it is just that they cannot "see" the words clearly and without distortions. Of course, the kids don't tell anyone about what the words look like, because they think that everyone "sees" the words as they do. So if your child is seeming to make silly mistakes when reading to you, or if you tell them a word on one page and then they don't recognise it when they see it on the next page, consider Irlen Syndrome and get them assessed instead of "bashing your head against a brick wall" and getting frustrated continually, and causing your child to experience stress, which can be expressed as anger or frustration or even refusal to read.

Published in Dr Joan Brien

Helen Irlen has reported that Irlen lenses can help children who have autism and aspergers. See the following link. http://irlen.com/autism-asperger-syndrome-the-irlen-method/

Currently, there is research being conducted in Australia to determine the impact of irlen lenses on those people who have autism or aspergers. The researcher is looking for participants to take part in this important research project. The participants have to be between 16 years and 26 years old. They have to have a formal diagnosis of High Functioning Autism or Aspergers and wear Irlen lenses. If you would like to be a part of this exciting project, go to the following link.

http://www.tonyattwood.com.au/index.php/research-studies/1263-what-impact-do-irlen-spectral-filters-have-on-the-sensory-profile-of-students-who-have-both-irlen-syndrome-and-autism-spectrum-disorders 

Published in Dr Joan Brien
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 09:49

Reading Difficulties Newcastle

I saw a little person today who reported that the words on the page went up and down like waves. This can make it really difficult to read efficiently. For some people, this "waving" motion can be flat on the page, or it can even be "lifting off the page" in an upwards motion. For some, this causes nausea when looking at the words. Unfortunately, children don't understand that other people don't see the words like this, and can often be in trouble because their parents and teachers don't know what the words look like for them. If you have a situation in your own home or if you know of other situations where parents are getting frustrated with their child's apparent reluctance to read, please check with the child about how the words look for them or ask them is it hard to see the words? If they say yes, ask them why is it hard? With any luck, they may be able to verbalise the problem and this may help the parent to understand.

Published in Dr Joan Brien
Monday, 12 May 2014 09:47

Reading Difficulties Newcastle

Comprehension Questions..

Some children have trouble with answering comprehension questions because they either don't understand the question or don't know how to "look for" the answer. Comprehension questions are designed to test whether a child can 1: find factual information in the passage (words are in the passage); 2: find hidden information (the words are not in the text); 3: work out what the writer is trying to say (what is the idea of the passage); 4: predict what might happen (use the information provided to work out what they "think" might happen); 5: give an opinion about what they have read in the passage (there is no right or wrong answer, but they need to justify their answer). Why not pick a small section of a book that your child is reading and make up some of these types of questions, and help them to find the answers... even if you don't feel confident to do this, I am sure you can!

Published in Dr Joan Brien
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 09:44

Reading Difficulties Newcastle

I was contacted by a parent today who had been referred to our clinic by an optometrist! Hallelujah! All too often, children are taken to optometrists because they are having problems with reading, and more often than not, end up with prescription lenses because the optometrist is doing what they can to help the child to read better. However, a number of those children still end up being diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome because their reading problems are actually not the result of a vision problem. Another thing that happens occasionally is that a parent will take their child to the optometrist to have their eyes checked before coming to our Clinic to be assessed for Irlen. When they mention to the optometrist that they are coming to be assessed for Irlen Syndrome, they are advised to "wait a few months to see if the problems go away with the optometric lenses". I find this frustrating because these parents have usually told us that their children have words moving or fading and we know that their new "reading glasses" will not stop these symptoms, and it means that the child is going to continue to flounder at school for another "few months" and get further and further behind. If this happens to you or any of your friends, and you have the opportunity to pass on some information, please let them know that an optometrist cannot diagnose dyslexia or Irlen Syndrome and that, even though their child may have a vision problem that is detected by the optometrist, if they also have symptoms of Irlen, then they should proceed with the assessment at an Irlen Clinic, because prescription lenses can be tinted so that both problems are corrected.

Published in Dr Joan Brien