Irlen Syndrome Awareness Week may not be until October, but Irlen families in Brazil have taken awareness into their own hands with their Irlen Family Picnics and #IrlenDoesExist movement. On August 5th, families gathered in 27 cities in Brazil, 1 city in Italy, and 1 city in the USA to show solidarity, raise awareness, and make new friends! We asked Ana Paula Federicci, one of the main coordinators of this incredible multi-city event, to share with us how it all came together.
My name is Ana Paula D. B. Federicci, I have two children, 14-year-old Luis Felipe and 11-year-old Gabriela, and all three of us discovered we have Irlen Syndrome in October 2016. Early in July, 2017, through a WhatsApp chat group formed by patients, relatives, friends, and professionals who live with the Irlen Syndrome and share experiences and knowledge, we had the idea of a picnic. The objective of this gathering was to strengthen and materialize the force and bond of the Irlen group, showing children, teens and relatives that there are many others like them and that they are not alone. We also wanted to make the #IrlenDoesExist movement public, so as to obtain acknowledgement by 100% of the middle class, and to gain the attention of media and government to recognize Irlen Syndrome so that the diagnostics and treatments could be accessed by all patients.
The first Irlen family picnic happened in 2017 and turned squares and parks in 8 Brazilian cities colorful and happy. Everyone had a lot of fun through
conversations and entertainment. It was such a huge success, that in 2018, we began preparing earlier for the 2nd Irlen family picnic. This year, we had Irlen Family Picnics in 27 different Brazilian cities, 1 city in Italy and 1 in the USA.
We had a wonderful exchange of experiences, information, music, dance, entertainment for children and teens. The atmosphere was contagious to
everyone; once more we had parks and squares filled with color and the number of attendees only grew. Now it is a tradition! Every year we will repeat it on the 1st Sunday of August and we are stimulating people through Facebook and WhatsApp to expand the event around the world, as it happened in Houston, Texas – USA and Bergamo, in Italy, showing the world that Irlen Does Exist!
2018 – Cities which held the Irlen Family Picnic:
Aracaju – SE, Belo Horizonte – MG, Brasília – DF, Campinas – SP, Cuiabá – MT, Curitiba – PR, Fortaleza – CE, Joao Pessoa – PB, Juiz de Fora – MG,
Macaé – RJ, Maceió – AL, Maringá – PR, Natal – RN, Osorio – RS, Ourinhos – SP, Petropolis – RJ, Porto Alegre – RS, Recife – PE, Resende – RJ, Rio de
Janeiro – RJ, Salvador – BA, São Bento do Sul – SC, São Paulo – SP, Vale do Paraíba – SP, Vitoria – ES, Wenceslau Braz – PR
These are just a few of the hundreds of photos from the big day!
Save the Date for the next Irlen Family Picnic: August 4, 2019
More information and pictures from the annual Irlen Family Picnics at https://www.facebook.com/pg/irlenexistesim/photos/?tab=album&album_id=248709902428658
Ana Paula’s blog: https://irlen.blog/