The symptoms of the Irlen syndrome can look like other problems, in particular ADD or ADHD. If the words are moving on the page, a child is not going to spend a lot of time reading or trying to read. Some of the common symptoms of the syndrome are:
A child may skip words or lines, misread words, repeat or reread lines, demonstrate slow, choppy reading, need lots of breaks, rub their eyes, complain of tiredness or eye strain, fall asleep while reading, experience headaches or dizziness from visual activities, have a hard time comprehending or remembering what they’ve just read, become bothered by bright lights or read from the page with it turned at an odd angle.
The Irlen syndrome affects 15% of the general population but in struggling readers, it is 46%. There is a strong genetic component and we often find that several children in a family can have it but at varying degrees of severity. The rule of thumb for seeking help for the stress and fatigue associated with the syndrome is that if it isn’t interfering with school or life, it’s not a problem.
photo by Ruslan Omega