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Wednesday, 27 August 2014 10:32

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 crooked and she sees sparkling when she looks at the page, and sometimes she sees coloured dots when she wakes up in the morning. She said that it takes a while before the dots disappear. Dad also said that he experiences sparkling in his vision, but he just accepted that as normal for him. The boy gets headaches and gets very sore and tired eyes after reading for a short time. He is really light sensitive, even more than his sister. A common observation of children who are light sensitive is the dark rings under the eyes. There are probably other reasons for them, but I believe that it is a certain "give-away" that they are light sensitive, and as a result, usually have Irlen Syndrome. So, if you know of someone who is light sensitive (blinks a lot in the light, can't keep their eyes open for too long when looking towards a light source, prefers to sit in a darker part of the room, shades their eyes with their hands when looking at a page in a bright room or gets headaches each school day, but not necessarily on the weekends) then you should consider that they may have Irlen Syndrome and have them assessed. We have clinics in Coffs Harbour and Taree, and I go to Singleton once a month, and our main clinic is in Wallsend.

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
Thursday, 21 August 2014 16:08

Learning Difficulties Newcastle

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 the years, has had tutoring but has just not been able to cope with his schoolwork. It got to the stage where it was just no use for him to attend school so he is now attending the local TAFE college doing English English and maths. He was found to have severe symptoms of Irlen Syndrome and is particularly light sensitive. He selected a coloured overlay that helped him to see the words more clearly and also made his eyes feel more relaxed. He was able to read more fluently with the overlay and is looking forward to coming along to select the correctly tinted Irlen lenses. He obviously saw the difference that colour made so I am hoping that this is the first day of the rest of his life, where he can achieve his full potential. Without being diagnosed with Irlen, he would have continued to struggle and as we know, some of the young people who don't achieve, despite trying really hard go "off the rails", so I feel that he may have been saved from this potential outcome. His Mum was concerned about how he would react as she felt that he wasn't really wanting to come along, but once he could see the difference, he was "hooked". Another great story from the Irlen Diagnostic Clinic... and it is not over yet, as he is yet to get his lenses, which are going to make an even greater difference for him than what the overlay has done. So please pass on this good news story, particularly if you know of young people who think it's not "cool" to wear coloured lenses.

Published in Dr Joan Brien
Monday, 18 August 2014 16:13

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 were the same as the overlay. She has also been using violet paper for handouts etc. Recently, one of her teachers noticed that when she was reading with these tinted lenses, she was reading better on blue paper than the violet paper, so she suggested that the girl come back to the clinic to check the colour. During the assessment, I pointed out that when wearing Irlen lenses, white paper looks white but softer, so that the lenses don't make it feel like you are in a green world, or pink world etc. She was surprised at this, as she said that when she wears the lenses from the optometrist, the page is changed to violet and she actually had commented to her mother that when she has them on and looks around, she feels like everything looks violet. There are some optometrists who have a machine called a Colourimeter and they use it to select coloured lenses for children and adults. It involves looking down at a page of text while they change the colour of the light shining on the paper. We recently saw another person who had lenses selected this way and they also said that the paper looks coloured when they are looking through them. I was also told about a little girl who had been given a yellow overlay at the screening appointment, and instead of bringing her back to the clinic for the correctly tinted lenses, her mum took her to an optometrist who gave her yellow lenses. She is constantly saying in class that they hurt her eyes and give her headaches, so the teacher has been telling her to tell her mum. She said that she has, but mum just says she has to get used to them because that's what the optometrist said. I want to stress how important it is for the tinted lenses to be selected by an Irlen Diagnostician, because the colour of the lenses is often different from the colour of the overlay. So if you know of any people who have done this, maybe you can pass this information onto them.

Published in Dr Joan Brien
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 16:06

Learning Difficulties Newcastle

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, catching a ball on the full or be fearful of getting on and off escalators. If you are playing tennis with someone who seems to swing before the ball is close enough, it may be that they "see" the ball in a different position than its actual position. I have had conversations with parents who are teaching their child to drive and they have made comments like, "they don't seem to be stopping quickly enough when we come up behind a car" or "I feel that they are going to drive into the roundabout when they should be stopping". In both of these situations, it appears that the learner driver is "seeing" things in a different position than what they appear to be for the instructor. People with Irlen Syndrome can have these depth perception issues, but not everyone experiences this. If you have a child (or know someone who has a child) who falls into this category, and also seems to be underachieving at school for no apparent reason, then maybe Irlen Syndrome should be considered as a possible cause. It is best to have them tested and then you can either rule it out or in as the cause of the apparent clumsiness.

Published in Dr Joan Brien

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 Irlen Syndrome, which is a Perceptual processing dysfunction, sometimes known as Scotopic Sensitivity and Meares-Irlen Syndrome. Many children experience symptoms of…
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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. Many critics of Irlen suggest that if a child is diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome and provided Irlen lenses, it somehow removes the possibility of them…
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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. These children sometimes appear to be having difficulties reading, but sometimes, it is just the "technique" of reading that they use.
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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…
Read more...

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…
Read more...

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…
Read more...

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…
Read more...

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,…
Read more...

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…
Read more...

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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