- Irlen Alberta
- Irlen Syndrome
I'm messaging you this picture, and letting you know how appreciative I am of what you've done for my daughter and myself! You've given her a fighting chance, and for that I will be forever grateful. It is the craziest transition I've ever seen. And in the last 24 hours I’ve broken down into tears a few times, because I'm just so happy to see that she's able to do everything like everybody else now. Thank you so much for all you done.
Subject: Standing Committee on Families and Communities - Submission
Date: May 31, 2013 5:04:37 PM PDT
Dear Assembly Committee, I am writing as a medical doctor and also the parent of a child with Irlen Syndrome whose life has been changed by the identification and remediation of her scotopic sensitivity using Irlen filters. My daughter, Devlin, is now 9 years old. When she was in first grade, she was identified as a severe dyslexic. She could not read or write, but was very intelligent by every other measure. By the end of the year, her self esteem had plummeted and she was feeling hopeless. We were able to get her placed into Prentice School that specializes in dyslexia, but despite the specific remediation, her reading was still very problematic after her first three months in second grade. She started complaining of headaches and light sensitivity and ultimately was able to describe that the words on the page appeared "doubled." We took her to an ophthalmologist who said her vision was 20/20 and that she probably had a lazy eye. Exercises did not help whatsoever. I then was fortunate to have a conversation with another mother whose grown child had been helped by Irlen filters, though much later in life. I made an appointment with the Irlen Institute and had Devlin evaluated immediately. She clearly had Irlen syndrome, and filters were prescribed. In the office on the first diagnostic visit, she was able to read fluently because the words were clear to her and didn't hurt her eyes. The first night she had her glasses and filters, she read an entire chapter book and understood every word and was so happy that it made us both cry. She loves her glasses and wears them all day because they not only help with reading but also with her light sensitivity. Within two weeks of having her filters, her reading level jumped two levels (equivalent to half a grade level). Now she is reading at the 4th and a half grade level at the end of 3rd grade. Identification of Irlen Syndrome has been nothing short of a miracle for her and has opened up a world of possibilities to her that didn't exist for her before.
This condition is not well known or screened for in schools. After discussing our breakthrough with her school, several of Devlin's classmates have been evaluated and some have been identified and helped. It is a simple fix for a complex issue that doesn't cure dyslexia but allows students to remove a very significant obstacle to them reaching their potential. I see no defensible reason why scotopic sensitivity shouldn't be screened for in all children who are having issues with reading, headaches, light sensitivity, and stomachaches related to school, to name a few of the symptoms.
As a medical doctor, I endorse Irlen filters for those children who are affected by scotopic sensitivity. As a mom, I can't imagine what my daughter's life would be like right now if she still were struggling with reading without her filters. Irlen has given me my daughter back and has gifted her with happiness and self-confidence again. I no longer worry about her future as a potentially depressed teen who could easily take the wrong path. She is a smart girl who feels she can do anything. I ask that you incorporate Irlen screening and referral in your district. You will be doing a great service to these students by changing their academic and personal lives, their families lives, and the community that these citizens will become a productive part of in the future. Irlen is real, and it should be supported fully.
The spectrum spans all ages, with my youngest patient having severe symptoms from age 5, and the oldest being diagnosed at age 75 after moving into a seniors complex that was extremely well-lit – all with fluorescent lights. This elderly gentleman knew that he felt strange if he left his apartment and became disoriented by the lighting in the halls that he actually fell and fractured his sternum.
Liz Turner, MD
UCLA Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care
Assistant Clinical Professor
Director of Bedside Ultrasound
Dr. Sharon Vaselenak
I am a family physician in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. After several years of increasing health problems which almost cost me my job, I ‘discovered’ that I had Irlen Syndrome as my son was being re-investigated for a learning disorder. It also came to explain many school difficulties that my youngest daughter was having as well.
Subsequently, several other family members have been found to be severely affected, with their primary aggravating factor being fluorescent light and LCD computer monitors.
Over the past 15 months, I have identified 60+ patients in my practice who are affected to a significant degree and the number continues to grow. I am now also being contacted by people from other cities as word gets out that I have an interest in this area. It is overwhelming!
Sharon Vaselenak MD, CCFP, FCFP
Dr. Daniel Amen
I am a board certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, medical directory of Amen Clinics, Inc. (four psychiatric/brain imaging clinics), and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine.
For the past 10 years, my clinics have screened all of our patients for the Irlen Syndrome. When appropriate, we have made many referrals to Irlen Clinics and our patients have successfully used Irlen Filters to alleviate many symptoms, including headaches, learning and reading problems, light sensitivity, and depth perception issues.
In performing before and after scans with the Irlen Filters as the only intervention, we have seen the brain become significantly more balanced. I have often been amazed at the improvements patients have experienced. My sense is that the lenses help to filter out certain colors of the light spectrum that are irritating to brain circuits.
Daniel C. Amen M.D.
We recently found out the Ruby has ‘Irlen Syndrome’! Ruby turned 12 last month. She has a cognitive disability which affects just about everything she does – motor skills, coordination, balance, hand-eye coordination, depth perception as well as reading, writing, processing, comprehension, reasoning, etc.After struggling in the public school system until grade 4, we decided to have Ruby attend Renfrew Education (the school for children with disabilities) for the past 2 school years. She will be transitioning into grade 7 come September, back into the public school system.
I decided last November that I should have a WISC (Intelligence) & WIAT (Achievement) test done on her so we can be completely sure where she is at in order to get her into an appropriate school programme that matches her disability. Both test results were lower and worse off from previous testing 3 years ago. Her psychologist was perplexed & concerned at her results and knew that there had to be “something” else wrong. She had always noticed that when she saw Ruby, she was wearing her sunglasses! She asked me if Ruby was sensitive to the sun or bright lights? I told her she was, and that I had had to carry sunglasses in every handbag and car, as Ruby complained like mad if caught without them. I thought she was over reacting when she was little and told her to stop fussing. What a mean mum I was! I figured it was easier to carry the sunglasses with us so I didn’t have to hear the constant complaining!
Ruby’s optometrist, Dr. Renchko, also told me that blue eyed people are more sensitive to sunlight than others! Oops!So her Psychologist asked me if I had ever had Ruby tested for “Irlen”? I said “Irl – who?” With all Ruby’s deficiencies, I have always tried to search for any answers to help Ruby or improve learning to make her life better, as you know but had never heard of Irlen Syndrome. I did my research and found it sooo very interesting! No wonder Ruby complained about headaches & dizziness on the school bus. The fact that Irlen Syndrome can NOT be diagnosed by an Optician because it is not a visual problem, who would have thought? I’m so happy someone recognized the ‘symptoms’!
So the Psychologist set us up with a colleague who is an Irlen Syndrome screener and an appointment was made! – the sooner the better I figured. In the testing, Ruby was presented with different coloured overlays (transparencies), from yellow, orange and pink to green, purple and blue. Well, when she placed the blue overlay in front of Ruby, it was like a miracle!!!!! Ruby could see! It brought tears to my eyes! She read each and every word on the page smoothly and was actually focused - the aqua blue was Ruby’s colour!
We then met with Nola Stigings, a Certified Irlen Diagnostician. She figured out the exact coloured lens combination that Ruby’s brain responded best to and it was so exciting for us! Her reading was better; she walked up the stairs without holding on to the railing; walked backwards without looking! Maybe most kids can do this naturally, but Ruby never could until she had the coloured lenses! I always blamed her clumsiness on her disability but now realized this was going to open up a whole new world for Ruby. I knew it wouldn’t cure her cognitive disability, but It had to help somewhere along the way!
Ruby has worn her new coloured lenses for about 4 months now and wow! the difference is amazing. When she prints on a lined page, she can write ‘between’ the lines; her numbers straighter & printing is better; her reading smoother & math numbers aligned; her depth perception & hand-eye coordination are improved – she is even a Pro-Bowler on the Wii!I know there are children out there struggling with reading, writing & math. It may not be there fault or it may be getting over looked; that they are slow & stupid or inattentive, not ‘applying’ themselves. Ruby was one of the fortunate ones that didn’t have to ‘fall through the cracks’ and actually, it was a huge relief for myself, to find another piece of the puzzle for Ruby! She has much more confidence & less frustration in life and can now ‘see’.
As she settles in with her new Irlen glasses, I can see the improvement it has made and am starting to see the difference it has made in her life.
Kathryn has her Irlen glasses now!! We picked them up after school – she is extremely happy. Just the other day she told me “Mommie I’m so much more happier now”. She experiences a different world on the car drive home, everything is now viewed differently – she even played the Wii when she got home and no headache – what she wanted to do most though was read!
Ethan has made remarkable progress since receiving his Irlen lenses, he is truly one of the poster children for Irlen – tried, tested and true!
Ethan is 9 years old Grade 4, and had been struggling with school right from the get go. Since September 8, 2011, his first day with his Irlen glasses, he is excelling in all areas of school this year! He comes home EVERYDAY from school and tells me how awesome of a day he has had. Ethan’s teacher said he no longer asks for help on given tasks and the words “I don’t know” does not exist in his vocabulary. He has gone from a level Grade 1.5 reading to a level Grade 3.2 in such a short period of time. He is on his 4th chapter book and up until now he had never had any desire to pick up a book and read. He no longer needs his finger or a bookmark to guide him from line to line as he reads, it’s amazing! From his written output to math, everything is improving dramatically. Even the school bus ride home, no more motion sickness.
Beyond all of these unbelievable changes for Ethan, the most significant and important one is the confidence we see in him. It is something that you cannot teach and yet is so extremely important and needed for children in school and in their everyday life.
I have a Print in the entrance way of our house that says “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” The change in Ethan because of his Irlen glasses has taken our breaths away!!
We are so thankful to Ethan’s principal, who initiated the Irlen testing. To June Walker, who did the initial screening and to Nola Stigings who made the perfect fit of lenses for him, we will be forever grateful.
Angela & Greg (Ethan’s parents)
Gregory S. – Medical School Student
Sorry it has taken me so long to write to you to tell you how much of a difference the lenses have made. I can’t begin to tell you how much easier Medical school has gotten.
I got my lenses about 7 – 10 days before midterms and my midterm grades went down a little (about 4% in each class). I was a little disappointed but decided to stick with them and I’m so glad I did. For finals I finished in the top of my class. My biggest jump was in biochemistry – after midterm I was ranked 23rd in a class of 43 students, after finals 5th. In neuroscience I went from middle of the pack (17 – 20th place) to 2nd. And for anatomy and physiology I went from bottom half of the top ten to first in class, by a lot (the next student to me was 6 points behind me).
I’ve wanted to write and tell you thank you for a long time but school never ends. Thank you again, it made a world of difference to me.
Susan Hughes – Bells Palsy
This client is a shining example of an Irlen success story. He is very intelligent, articulate, personable….but reading and math were inexplicably difficult for him and he frequently had headaches at school. With Irlen lenses (spectral filters) his world settled into place and he is now thriving and his struggles are a thing of the past.
Before getting his Irlen lenses (spectral filters) he also had difficulty under fluorescent lights, stuttered, fidgeted a lot, could not look at people’s faces, and would spin in circles rather than standing still. He moved uncontrollably when trying to read from a simple book. ALL of these symptoms have been alleviated with the Irlen lenses.
I am honored that I get to work with people with Irlen Syndrome every single day. I get to make a difference in their worlds and it brings me more joy than I can say.
The Irlen Method for testing and assessment is available in Alberta. We can help with treatment for those afflicted with Irlen Syndrome.