Tuesday, 22 November 2016 21:34

HELPING YOUR CHILD READ ACCURATELY

This video below explains ways in which you can help your child to read successfully. These children sometimes appear to be having difficulties reading, but sometimes, it is just the "technique" of reading that they use.

Published in Dr Joan Brien
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 17:57

Reading Difficulties Newcastle

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Pencil grip..... Is it that important??

Have you even noticed how your child holds his/her pencil when writing? There are not many children that I see in the clinic that actually hold their pencil correctly. Most of them have no idea. It makes me wonder why this is not something that is considered important these days. Most parents probably don't think it is important either, especially when you consider all of the other demands that are on children and parents both in and out of school. A lot of students experience tired arms and hands when doing a lot of writing. If they hold their pencil or pen incorrectly, then they are actually using more muscles in their arms than they would be using if they held their pen correctly. If they wrap their thumb over their second and third finger, they lose the natural flexibility that we have in our second finger (index) and thumb. Try it yourself and see if you can feel the difference! Once I show the kids the difference, they agree that it feels strange, (because they have never done that before), but also that it improves their writing.

 

 

Published in Dr Joan Brien
Thursday, 18 September 2014 16:48

Reading Problems Newcastle

 

 

How do you think you would cope, if every time you sat down to read, after a few minutes, the words started to float off the page? It would be very disconcerting wouldn't it? Sometimes the words float right off the page, for other people, the words float up and down off the page (like waves). There are children who see words behaving like this every time that they sit down to read or are asked to read to the teacher or their parents. Sometimes this distortion makes them feel nauseas, a bit like sea-sickness. There are some children who constantly feel sick at school, and often spend a lot of time in sick-bay. They are often not believed when they say they are sick, and that is understandable, as it is often every day, and there is no obvious cause for the sickness. BUT... these kids really are feeling sick, but don't know why and nobody else knows why, so they are told that they just have to get on with it. If you know of anyone (particularly children) who seem to be sick at school a lot of the time, without any explanation, it may be worth investigating Irlen Syndrome.

Published in Dr Joan Brien
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

Children try really hard, but when it gets too hard, they give up!

A little girl came to the clinic today to be screened for Irlen Syndrome. She is in Year 5 and was really struggling at school. The result of the screening indicated that she did have Irlen, but as well as words not looking very good for her, she also did not see the clinic room as a "square". In other words, she sees the world as almost 2-D so that the corners of the room just looked like a small indentation in a flat surface. After selecting the overlay that helped her, she looked through it and noticed this difference in how the room looked. Prior to this, her parents did not know that was how she saw the world, because she had not mentioned it to them. But why would she? As far as she knew, how she saw the world was how everyone saw the world.

That is why I feel so strongly about screening all children for Irlen in the school situation, because they don't self- report because they don't know that what they see is different from others and the only way we can know this, is if we screen them.

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
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 10:21

Reading Difficulties Newcastle

Irlen Syndrome and Dyslexia

Did you know that Irlen Syndrome is sometimes confused with dyslexia? Irlen Syndrome is not dyslexia, but many people (many teachers) believe that if a child (or adult) has Irlen Syndrome, then they have dyslexia, and that they are one and the same.

This is not the case... Irlen Syndrome is a visual processing problem that MAY cause dyslexia, but it MAY NOT either! Many people with Irlen Syndrome do not have reading difficulties but may experience other symptoms, but they simply believe that if they get tired after reading a few pages, "that is just how it is for me". It is not until they come to the clinic with their child that they realise that they have Irlen Syndrome themselves and that their tiredness when reading is actually the result of that. So if a person does not have reading difficulties but has Irlen Syndrome, they may experience the following symptoms:

  • Headaches after reading a few pages
  • Sore eyes when reading
  • Falling asleep when reading
  • Having to reread sentences because they cannot remember what they have just read
  • Words becoming blurry and difficult to see clearly when reading for a long time.
  • Being able to read, but not enjoying reading.

Read further information and comments on the following link

https://www.facebook.com/IrlenDiagnosticClinicNewcastle 

Published in Dr Joan Brien
Thursday, 15 May 2014 09:52

Reading Difficulties Newcastle

There was a Dad who came in with his child yesterday and he said that he (Dad) had ADHD. His child has been diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome, and was selecting his specifically tinted lenses. Dad had a look through the lenses as well. When he did, he said that he felt calm compared to how he felt before he put them on. He took them off again and noted the difference and when he put them back on again, he commented on the calm feeling that he was experiencing. This response is common for adults who come to see us. They often remark that they can't believe that when they look through the lenses, their whole body relaxes, but particularly, their eyes. The AMEN Clinic in California does brain scans of people with many neurological conditions. The scan shown here is of the brain of a person who has been diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome and who normally wears Irlen lenses. In the top scan, the person is doing a concentrating task without their lenses, and you can see that there are many parts of the brain that are active. In the bottom scan, the person is doing the same task, but with their Irlen lenses on and you can see that there are less areas of the brain that are active than those in the top scan. This could explain the "calmness" that is reported by a large number of people when they put their Irlen lenses on.

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