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Dr Joan Brien

Dr Joan Brien

About me

I have a B.Sc majoring in Biological Sciences and Psychology, a Post Grad Diploma in Education (Primary) and a Ph.D in Medical Science. I have taught students from Kindergarten to University level, including TAFE and Professional Development students from the Health and Science industries. I worked as a teacher with the NSW Department of Education for seven years during which I taught Primary school children and High School Science and Biological Sciences. I am qualified in Occupational Health and Safety Management and was responsible for the OH&S of all research laboratories at the University of Newcastle. I worked in Medical Research for seven years before moving into administration. I have previously owned two tutoring businesses where I provided educational support for children from Kindergarten to adults from University. I won the Champion of Champions NSW Small Business Awards in the category of Childrens’ Services in 2006. I have been an Irlen Diagnostician since 2007 and have trained a number of new Irlen Screeners who can identify the symptoms of Irlen Syndrome.

A REAL LIFE STORY OF HOW IRLEN LENSES HELPED A STRUGGLING CHILD

This article demonstrates how important it is for children to be screened for the presence of Perceptual processing dysfunction, also known as Irlen Syndrome, Scotopic Sensitivity, Meares-Irlen Syndrome.…
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COLOURED OVERLAYS

Irlen overlays are the first step in helping someone who has been identified as having Irlen Syndrome. Once the symptoms have been identified, the next step is to put the different coloured overlays over the printed page to see if it removes the visual…
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IRLEN METHOD TO TREAT SCOTOPIC SENSITIVITY COMES TO TOMAREE

Harmonie Baker, 11, finds reading much easier since she's worn Irlen Method lenses.
Port Stephens Examiner A CLINIC destined for Tomaree Library once a month will assess children and adults for scotopic sensitivity, otherwise known as Irlen syndrome. For sufferers, the tell-tale signs are varied when reading, from words jiggling and swirling…
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THE TREATMENT FOR IRLEN SYNDROME

The treatment for Irlen Syndrome is NOT a programme but IS a method to help visual processing dysfunction. See video below.
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HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU HAD TO READ WORDS YOU COULD NOT SEE?

How would you feel if you had to read words you could not see? This is reality for some children.. do you think they would like school? See video below
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HELPING YOUR CHILD READ ACCURATELY

This video below explains ways in which you can help your child to read successfully.
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DYSLEXIA AND IRLEN SYNDROME

Dyslexia is associated with reading difficulties for no apparent reason. If you look at the literal meaning of dyslexia, it is defined by the Collins English Dictionary as follows: "a developmental disorder which can cause learning difficulty in one or more…
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COLOURED OVERLAYS

When ever we are looking at white paper, all of the visible light spectrum (the rainbow) is reflected into our eyes. For people with Irlen Syndrome, some of these wavelengths of light cause visual distortions and discomfort. This makes it difficult for some…
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Article written in education review magazine July 2016

Irlen Syndrome: Educators and MDs Speak Out By: AAIC in Advertorial, In The Classroom July 14, 2016 0 The reason most people become educators, is to effect the lives of the next generation of humanity, in a tangible way, during their crucial juvenile years.…
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How light energy can interfere with the other energy systems in our brain

This is really fantastic science. For all of you who know that it is the colours in the light that make it difficult for people with Irlen it helps to explain how light can affect our brain. Because light is energy and travels to us in waves of energy but…
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Irlen Syndrome does not "go away".

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WE DO NOT "GROW OUT OF" IRLEN SYNDROME A number of students who come to see us have been taken to an optometrist because of their reading problems. This is usually in response to teachers advising parents to get their eyes checked. Some of these children are…
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Why is fluorescent lighting so discomforting for people with Irlen Syndrome?

In order to understand why fluorescent lights seem to cause discomfort for the majority of people with Irlen Syndrome, it is necessary to understand about the visible spectrum of light. The human eye can only perceive the colours that we see in the rainbow…
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Learning Difficulties Newcastle

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Irlen Syndrome can cause headaches and nausea A teenage girl came to see us today.. she is doing Advanced English and Extension English. She also has Irlen Syndrome (just found out today).. in Advanced English, she gets no support from the teacher and is…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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Learning Difficulties Newcastle

A little girl came to see me last week, along with her brother, Mother and Father. Dad has just found out that he has Irlen Syndrome (while his daughter was being assessed) and both children have it as well. The little girl sees words floating, lines look…
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Learning Difficulties Newcastle

A sad little girl who probably hates school, because she just can't succeed despite trying very hard.
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…
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Learning Difficulties Newcastle

This sad face hides many thoughts. Isn't it wonderful when we can make a difference and change this to a happy face.
I saw a young man today, who has had to leave school because he is unable to do what is required of him at school. He gets very tired at school (and did so today, while sitting under fluorescent lights in the clinic). He has had special help at school over…
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Reading Difficulties Newcastle

I saw a young girl today who is in Year 9 at school. She was screened about 3 years ago and was given an overlay. We recommended that she come back for the Irlen lenses, but for whatever reason, she was provided with tinted lenses from an optometrist that…
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Learning Difficulties Newcastle

Children are always trying their best
If you have a child that seems to "fall over their own feet", then they may have a problem with depth perception, meaning that they have trouble judging distances. Children and adults with depth perception issues often have trouble hitting a ball with a bat,…
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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…
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Reading Difficulties Newcastle

Helping Your Child to Understand Mathematics Lots of children have trouble transferring the mathematical concepts that they learn at school to "real life" and this makes it difficult for them to "get their head around it". Ways in which you can help them…
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Reading Difficulties Newcastle

Helping your child understand the relationship between mathematical operations can lead to success when doing maths. For example, Multiplication and Division are related as shown in the following examples. Multiplication gives an answer that is "greater than"…
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Reading Difficulties Newcastle

Some adults with Irlen Syndrome are quite good readers
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…
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Reading Difficulties Newcastle

The original newspaper article in the Newcastle Herald
Coloured paper for HSC Exams.. We are still trying to get the board of studies to change their mind! Just goes to show that if we go to the press, we have a good chance of getting the BOS to change their mind.. share this with anyone that you know of whose…
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Reading Difficulties Newcastle

Brayden Kennedy
It is sad that the Board of Studies thinks that just giving a reading test that lasts for only a short time compared to doing a whole HSC exam is enough to determine whether a student should have coloured paper for the HSC. We have tried to explain that the…
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Reading Difficulties Newcastle

Brain activity with and without Irlen lenses
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…
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Dyslexia and Learning Difficulties Newcastle

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…
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Reading Difficulties Newcastle

Parents can be wonderful helpers of their children
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…
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Reading Difficulties Newcastle

How many parents have heard their child say these words?
Dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome (Part 2) I certainly put the "cat amongst the pigeons" recently when I talked about Irlen Syndrome being confused with dyslexia! (see my Irlen Diagnostic Clinic Newcastle Facebook page June 5 post). I honestly believe that most…
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Dyslexia and Learning Difficulties Newcastle

Children try really hard, but when it gets too hard, they give up!
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,…
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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…
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Reading Difficulties Newcastle

words sometimes take on a wave-like movement.
See-Sawing Distortion How would you like words to look like this when you are trying to read? In the image, the words are not moving, but in reality, these words would be moving in a see-sawing motion. A number of children that I see actually experience this…
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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…
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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…
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Stay relaxed when helping your child read

Stay relaxed when helping your child read
Helping young children to learn their sounds and simple words. Learning The Alphabet "Learning" involves "recognition", "memory" and "recall". Probably the most important part of knowing the letters of the alphabet is being able to recognise the shape of the…
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Reading Difficulties Newcastle

Did you know that some children with Irlen can spell really well when they are asked to spell orally, but when they are asked to write the same words down, they do not get them correct and are often not even "near the mark". This is because spelling orally…
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