Does your child find reading a struggle?
Imagine you are trying to read and it looks like this:
Now imagine that you are trying to learn to read or sit an exam and it looks like this!
Pretty much impossible!
However it is thought that 12% of the population suffer with Visual Stress Disorder or Meares-Irlen Syndrome which is a perception disorder affecting the way the brain transmits visual information. Sufferers have great difficulty processing printed text, particularly black print on a white page, as it appears distorted like the image above.
It can cause huge problems educationally and it is estimated that in every class at school 1 in 5 children will suffer from Visual Stress Disorder to some extent. About 65% of dyslexia sufferers also have Meares-Irlen Syndrome.
If your child struggles with reading, do you recognise any of the following behaviours when they read?
Signs when reading:
- Moving closer to or away from the page or frequently changing position.
- Rubbing eyes.
- Excessive blinking or looking away from the page.
- Tiring quickly. Concentration may be poor and attention span may be short.
- Poor understanding of what has been read.
- Losing place easily.
- Poor spelling.
- Misreading words.
- Speed or rate of reading is slower than expected for intelligence level.
The good news is that once Meares-Irlen is diagnosed, it is relatively straightforward to treat. Amazingly, a simple coloured overlay (tinted film) reduces the symptoms of MIS, making reading much more comfortable and sustainable. Studies show around 1/3 of children benefit from reading using a coloured overlay however, it is essential that the colour is the right one.
Liz Wood, a Meares-Irlen specialist and Affiliate Member of the International Institute of Colorimetry, of Colour2C says that the colour chooses the person; many girls will want it to be pink or lilac but the colour will be specific to the person and not based on personal preference. Liz always recommends that a child has a routine eyesight test prior to an assessment for Meares-Irlen Syndrome.
A professional assessment of a child with reading difficulties can identify whether MIS is causing problems and then assess which colour is correct for the child and treat the reading difficulty with the correct colour (or combination of colours) overlay. The correct overlay will enable the sufferer to read more fluently and comfortably by alleviating their symptoms. Obviously this will impact positively on their educational attainment and also boost their confidence!
Kip McGrath Urmston are able to offer this assessment service as Kelly Barrett is a fully trained Meares- Irlen Syndrome assessor. We are also able to provide the correct coloured overlays, following a diagnosis.
Kelly and Claire Okeregha (centre owners and teachers) have both worked with several children with MIS and seen first hand what a difference diagnosis and treatment can make, not just to their enjoyment of reading but to overall educational attainment.
If you are concerned that your child may have Meares-Irlen Syndrome, please do ring us for further information on 0161 747 1819. We will be happy to give you more details on the assessment procedure.