Yesterday, I asked an adult client about his first experience of the Irlen Method: "One day, while reading to my mother during a storm, the wind blew some cellophane from the art table over my book. I really liked how the page looked all red, with the black letters, so I left it there and continued reading. Mum didn't say anything but listened carefully while I read 2, 3, 4 and more, pages. I finished the book and looked up to see tears in her eyes. It was the first time I had finished reading a whole book, without any arguments. Usually, I read half a page and the whinging would start - 'How much did I have to read? Was that enough? I was tired. I was thirsty. I wanted to go outside and play. I couldn't do it. It was too hard'. What was different this time? It was easy to see the letters through the red cellophane, and because it was easy, I kept going! That was it, for mum! Whenever I had to read (we were homeschooled), out would come the cellophane and off I would go! I was in high school before I got my 'coloured glasses', ...
I’m often asked by clients, “So if my child has Irlen Syndrome, does that mean they are dyslexic?” These two conditions often overlap, but they can also stand alone and a person with dyslexia may not have Irlen Syndrome and vice versa. This is why it is so important for me to look at both conditions, when a person comes to me for an assessment. NOTE: At the end of this post is an excellent TEDEd video, particularly at 0:56 where it states that ‘dyslexia’ is a phonological processing problem where people have trouble manipulating language. Differences This is where dyslexia differs the most from Irlen Syndrome, as Irlen Syndrome is a visual perception problem, where difficulties cannot necessarily be explained by phonetic deficits or by a weak sight vocabulary. Faulty reading occurs, often characterised by omissions and additions. Glare, lighting, contrast, patterns and colours impact this syndrome and individuals commonly suffer from any of the following: slow reading rate, inefficient reading, poor reading comprehension, inability to do continuous reading, strain and fatigue while reading, difficulties with depth perception or sport performance. Meares-Irlen Syndrome or Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome as it is also known, can affect attention span, concentration, motivation, work production and classroom performance. Individuals with Meares-Irlen Syndrome/SSS might ...
My grandson wrote a story last week – he’s in year 4 this year – about his favourite topic, dinosaurs, of course! It had a very imaginative plot and showed the beginnings of correct grammar and structure. I was quite proud of his achievement, as all grandmas would be. However, I was horrified to read the teacher’s comment: “a great story and you made there adventure seem real” If his teacher doesn’t know the correct usage of their/there/they’re, how is she going to teach this knowledge to her students? Can you imagine my excitement today, when I read the following news item: “All would-be primary and secondary school teachers will have to pass a rigorous new competency test before they can graduate and enter classrooms under a new federal government plan…” The item goes on to say Australian school children are now ranked 14th in the world for literacy, down from 9th in 2009! The system is setting our kids up to fail! > Read full news item here
We must be way behind US in these episodes, so here is the one on Irlen Syndrome from last week’s “The Doctors” TV. (Past clients will spot “pumpkin face” in the section assessing for the lenses :-) ) Please share with anyone who is struggling with reading / writing / headaches… > DOCTORS TV: Glasses Help Brain Process Visual Information
In my office – which reaches from Jurien Bay in the Midwest of WA, to Derby in the Kimberley, I deal with students (and adults!) every day, who have struggled within the school environment. Usually with learning to read, spelling, comprehension, writing and maths. Now, when you are having difficulty in most of those areas, it is probably fair to say, school is not a great place to be! For 12 years! And yet it is where we send our kids to acquire those skills. Parents are the best teachers for the first five years of their children’s lives, but they are not trained in teaching children literacy and numeracy skills. For kids to be successful in literacy and numeracy skills, they need teachers, specifically trained in the methodology of teaching those subjects and in recognising the learning styles of students. These two factors exist side-by-side and when one (or both!) is missing, a student cannot possibly reach their full potential. This is when I see them, bright, eager-to-learn young people, starting to believe they are dumb and stupid because they struggle, every day, to learn. It is not a fault of the teacher – they don’t know, what they don’t know. They believe they have been ...
Walked out on the balcony of the motel and was so amazed at the stunning trees, right in the middle of our beautiful city – Perth! The Convention Centre is in our laps on one side of us and on the other is this tree-lined street! And not the small, stunted “trimmed to head-height” excuses, found in my own town. These trees are seriously huge! Even the bus looks small! How brave of Perth, to let trees mature with their own branches and not chop them off, just in case they fall over in the wind. Is this an example? – of the possibilities, if we encourage growth in our kids?
I tell parents of young kids to make the most of them before they go to school – because school ruins kids. They change. When I first had my kids, 30 something years ago, (that DOES make me feel old!), I experienced their transformation, from happy, curious, mischievous little individuals, eager to learn, who, by the end of the first year, had developed a nastiness and resentfulness that completely changed the atmosphere in our household. For 10 years I had only seen the other side of it – as a teacher. Now I saw both sides. I knew it was an effect of their schooling because it would take (at least) the first five days of holidays for them to begin to use their imagination again, to “play”, either on their own or together, to be able to have a conversation with them that didn’t involve belittling or putting the other person down. They turned back into enthusiastic, happy kids, not “students” who had to be told what the next activity was and how to do it. They made things, made mistakes and made decisions (like when to go to the ‘loo’ and when to eat!). Not being forced to keep them at school until the end of ...
Found this post of a Dyslexia awareness evening (Michigan) as part of Dyslexia Awareness month (USA) to discuss symptoms and teaching methods that help kids learn. Unfortunately no mention of the difference changing the colour of the paper can make, for the child who is struggling with learning. I would love to see that month included in Australian calendars! Many dyslexics have above average IQs and have devised their own ingenious strategies to cover up the difficulties they are having! So we, as teachers, are often not aware of how much they are really struggling. Parents know and should always follow their instincts and persevere to get help for their child. > Read full article and watch videos on The Voice publication website