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’, a result of mum doing lots of research and heaps of phone calls, to see if anyone else had ever experienced this.
I’m now 42 years old and still use my ‘coloured glasses’ every day.”
A graduate of Cornell University and former school psychologist, Helen Irlen has been in the field of education for the past 40 years. It was during her research under a federal research grant in the 1980s that she discovered that a subgroup of adults who were struggling to read, responded to material covered by coloured acetate sheets. For the next five years, Ms. Irlen worked on refining her discovery, developing diagnostic testing instruments and developing a set of coloured filters, which became the foundation for the Irlen Method.
Over the past three decades, the Irlen Method has been the subject of segments of 60 Minutes, ABC Worldwide News, and numerous TV news shows around the world. Helen Irlen’s work has received international exposure through National Geographic, along with other newspaper, magazine articles and research papers. Helen Irlen’s first book, Reading By the Colors (1991), introduced Irlen Syndrome while The Irlen Revolution proceeds through the many advances made over the past 30+ years, while also providing hope for millions of people suffering from this unique visual processing disorder.