This last weekend I went to a two day training about something I thought I knew a lot about. The reality was I didn't know as much as I thought I did. I learned about Irlen Syndrome.
What is Irlen Syndrome?
Irlen Syndrome is a perceptual processing problem that was called Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome or (SSS). Those are a lot of big words that only a doctor really knows about so here it is in simple terms. Irlen Syndrome is basically a sensitivity to light and how we process information as we think we see it.
People with Irlen Syndrome take more effort to complete reading and other visual activities such as driving, walking, copying, writing, math, spelling, and computer use. People may also have headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and strain.
What is the problem with Irlen Syndrome?
The problem with Irlen Syndrome is people may not know they have it. Let me say that again, people may not know they have it. Instead they are seen as lazy, or clumsy.
How do I know this? Well because I found out this weekend that I have some sensitivity to light. I found out while volunteering to be the sample tested student.
So what happened?
I was given a few tasks to complete which I thought should be very easy because I am an A-B student, so I wasn't that worried about it. But as I was completing the tasks, my head started to hurt, my eyes were burning and I was getting extremely tired. I also noticed was that I was missing certain things on the page.
For example one of the tasks was to look at a star and at the same time find certain shapes. While looking at the star, I noticed that some of the shapes disappeared even though the screener told me they were there. Another task was to look at some music lines. I was asked whether or not the lines were straight or wavy. To me they were wavy. But I didn't worry about that because when you stare at anything for any amount of time it will come out of focus. However the screener put colored overlays over the music lines stopped being wavy. I also noticed that the shapes from earlier appeared. The screener also asked me some questions about my life. For example she asked me about running into doorways, missing exits while driving, tripping up stairs, etc. I answered yes to all of the questions that she asked.
Where to go from here?
One of the things that we discussed was that all students in grades Kindergarten through second grade should be tested and any student that struggles with learning, attention, ADD/ADHD, and autism.
Since I am just learning about Irlen Syndrome, I am offering a free screening to anyone till the end of the school year. I am doing this so that I get a better idea of how this affects other -people. I love teaching and helping out others as I can. So give me a call at 641-257-9530.
My name is Stena Schmitt.
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