Have you ever heard of Irlen Syndrome?
Sometimes children and adults are misdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD when it’s a matter of not being able to focus when reading black words on white paper. Often, these individuals get frustrated, have a hard time focusing, may get migraines and exhibit many prohibitive behaviors that may appear like they don’t have a long attention span or just don’t care.
Those affected by Irlen Syndrome may complain that the text they are reading is blurry, wandering, jumping, swinging, changing places or disappearing. Check out this link to see what reading may be like for these individuals: http://irlen.com/distortioneffects.php
Over 20 years ago, Helen Irlen discovered “that a subgroup of individuals showed a marked improvement in their reading ability when reading material was covered by colored acetate sheets. For the next five years, Ms. Irlen worked on refining her discovery, developing diagnostic testing instruments, and patenting a set of colored filters.”
My friend, Roxanne, was telling me about her experience with a very dear friend who suffered from Irlen Syndrome. He would rub his eyes and often cry from frustration and pain. He was such a smart young man, but because he thought the fading, blurry text was “normal” didn’t know to explain what was happening as he would read. To make matters worse, the “blackboard” once used in school was a whiteboard…so he couldn’t follow along with the class or read instruction written up on the board. He was labeled as an ADD or ADHD kid by those who didn’t understand what was going on. After some love, understanding and investigation, his mother and Roxanne discovered he was suffering with Irlen Syndrome. Now his teacher runs his tests off on a certain color of paper and he has colored gels that he places over the pages of his text books.
Yes, colored plastic overlays on top of black text/white paper or even colored lens glasses can drastically improve reading ability for individuals affected by Irlen Syndrome. It is amazing that something so complex can be treated so simply.
Look here to see a list of symptoms and disorders that may be misdiagnosed, but are actually part of the Irlen Syndrome. http://irlen.com/index.php?s=who