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how to become an irlen diagnostician


Become an Irlen Diagnostician – Get Training for Irlen Syndrome Screening

Becoming an Irlen Diagnostician represents a unique opportunity for professionals to expand their expertise into the realm of visual perception. The Irlen Institute offers comprehensive training for individuals interested in mastering Irlen Syndrome screening and diagnositic techniques. This critical skill set guides you in identifying and supporting those with this often overlooked visual processing disorder. Join the community of experts dedicated to improving lives through the identification and treatment of Irlen Syndrome.

Embark on Irlen Syndrome Screener Training to Be a Certified Diagnostician

Aspiring professionals eager to become an Irlen diagnostician can do so through dedicated screener training. This educational journey is the gateway to becoming vested with the expertise necessary to be a proficient Irlen Syndrome screener. Our certification program is meticulously designed for those seeking to be a pivotal part of the solution for individuals with Irlen Syndrome. With our comprehensive training, participants are immersed in a curriculum that primes them to become proficient in the identification of individuals with Irlen Syndrome . Candidates striving to be a beacon of hope in the Irlen community will find that our screener training equips them with the knowledge and practical skills required. Upon completion, trainees emerge as certified Irlen screeners , ready to conduct screenings and support the diverse needs of their clients. So, if you’re poised to become an integral part of this transformative field, embrace the opportunity to become an Irlen screener and join a network of professionals advancing this specialized domain.

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  1. Complete a training program conducted by the Irlen Institute or a certified Irlen diagnostician .
  2. Obtain certification after successfully passing the required assessment following the training program.
  3. Adhere to ongoing professional development and re-certification requirements as established by the Irlen Institute to maintain active screener status.

Acquire Essential Information on Irlen Syndrome to Be an Effective Screener

To become a proficient screener for Irlen Syndrome, it’s essential to delve into the vast wealth of information available on the subject. Understanding Irlen Syndrome is a cornerstone of the learning process for every potential diagnostician. In-depth research is necessary to grasp the nuances of this condition, which affects reading and learning in significant ways. Aspiring screeners must immerse themselves in the study of Irlen Syndrome to accurately identify and support individuals coping with this visual processing issue. Irlen.com offers comprehensive training that integrates research findings with practical screening techniques. Engaging with research is crucial, as it continually informs best practices for those tasked with reading assessments tied to Irlen Syndrome. By becoming well-versed in the latest syndrome facts and management strategies, candidates are well-prepared to undertake the crucial responsibility of guiding people through their Irlen journeys. It’s through persistent learning and sustained research that the mantle of Irlen certified screener is earned.

Learn How Certification as an Irlen Diagnostician Can Provide Real Solutions

Embarking on the journey to become a certified Irlen diagnostician, one gains the tools to provide real solutions for those affected by Irlen Syndrome. Aspiring diagnosticians must first learn about this visual processing disorder through comprehensive Irlen research as certified Irlen Screeners, which illuminates the challenges faced in reading and other activities. The Irlen method is not just about reading; it’s an approach backed by ongoing research that offers transformative impact. By getting your certification, you join a community of diagnosticians committed to making a difference. To get started on this rewarding path, you must first submit an application to Irlen.com. As an Irlen diagnostician, contact with clients is paramount, which requires a professional email for seamless communication. Once certified, diagnosticians become part of an international network, where exchanging contact details and experiences is encouraged. Get in touch with us today if you’re ready to learn how to deliver solutions as an Irlen diagnostician.

In conclusion, embarking on a journey to become an Irlen screener or diagnostician is not only a step toward advancing your professional skill set but also a compassionate move to assist those impacted by Irlen Syndrome. The Irlen Institute provides comprehensive training programs to equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary for effective screening and support. By committing to this training, you embrace the opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of individuals with visual processing difficulties. Join the dedicated community of Irlen professionals and begin your transformative path today.

Q: What is an Irlen Diagnostician, and what can I expect from becoming one?
A: An Irlen Diagnostician is a professional trained in identifying and supporting individuals with Irlen Syndrome, a visual processing disorder that can affect reading and learning. By becoming an Irlen Diagnostician, you will expand your expertise into the realm of visual perception, helping to improve lives through precise identification and remediation of the syndrome.
Q: How do I become trained as an Irlen Syndrome screener?
A: To become an Irlen Syndrome screener, you must meet the minimum education requirements and need to undergo screener training offered by the Irlen Institute. This educational journey includes a rigorous certification program designed to prime you to become a proficient screener with comprehensive knowledge of visual processing and practical skills necessary for effective assessment .
Q: What kind of research and preparation is required to become an Irlen Diagnostician?
A: After becoming a certified screeberm aspiring diagnosticians must engage in in-depth research to understand Irlen Syndrome thoroughly. The Irlen Institute provides comprehensive training that integrates current research findings with practical screening techniques. Continuous learning and staying updated on the latest syndrome management strategies are crucial for being an effective Irlen Diagnostician.
Q: How do I get started with my Irlen Diagnostician certification, and what resources are available to me?
A: To get started with your certification, you must submit an application to the Irlen Institute. All diagnosticians must meet the minimum educational requirements and complete the screener training prior to becoming an Irlen diagnostician. As part of the diagnostician community, you will have access to training programs, research, practical skill development, and a network of professionals for support and experience sharing.
Q: What impact can I make as a certified Irlen Diagnostician?
A: As a certified Irlen Diagnostician, you have the opportunity to make a transformative impact on the lives of those affected by Irlen Syndrome. You will provide real solutions, support the diverse needs of your clients, and join a dedicated community committed to improving reading and learning for individuals with visual processing challenges.
Note: The responses above are based on the information provided in the original text and would need approval for accuracy and adherence to the actual processes and offerings of Irlen.com.



how do they test fo Irlen syndrome


How Do They Test for Irlen Syndrome? – Irlen Syndrome Self-Test & Screening

Irlen Syndrome, or Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, is a perceptual processing disorder that affects the way the brain interprets visual information. Understanding the diagnostic process is helpful for those experiencing symptoms. At Irlen.com, we offer a first step for individuals to identify potential challenges associated with this condition. Expert diagnostic procedures aim to tailor intervention that can significantly improve comfort and efficiency in reading and other visual tasks.

Irlen Syndrome Self-Test and Official Diagnosis: Unveiling Hidden Reading Challenges

Irlen Syndrome, often also referred to as Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, is a visual processing disorder that is not detected by standard educational, visual, or medical tests. It relates to the brain’s ability to process specific wavelengths of light. The first indication of this disorder may come through difficulty with reading, where the individual finds that text appears to move, shake, or blur, making the reading experience strenuous. A self-test can be taken as the first step to identify potential Irlen Syndrome symptoms. The Irlen self-test is a simple and informative way to make an initial assessment concerning the likelihood of the presence of the syndrome. It involves a questionnaire that helps pinpoint areas of difficulty and discomfort related to visual processing, particularly while reading under fluorescent lights or when surrounded by bright colors.

The official diagnostic process for Irlen Syndrome is more comprehensive. It starts with a screening, which is a specialized assessment performed by an Irlen-certified screener or diagnostician. The screening is designed to explore how visual information is processed and whether spectral filters might improve the individual’s visual perception. If a significant improvement is noticed with the use of colored overlays during the screening, it is a strong indicator that the individual may benefit from further, tailored testing.

Following the initial screening, the next step involves precise testing for spectral filters—lenses that are customized in terms of hue and density to cater to the individual’s sensitivity to specific colors and lights. These filters are then provided in the form of tinted glasses or contact lenses.

For those looking to dive deeper into the relation between Irlen Syndrome and reading challenges, Irlen.com is a top resource for information and services. Here, one can find ample research backing the existence and treatment of Irlen Syndrome, along with an extensive list of clinics—and even the opportunity to email and connect with experts for a more personalized approach. The Amen Clinics have also associated themselves with Irlen assessments, recognizing the importance of addressing visual processing difficulties in improving overall cognitive function and aiding those with reading difficulties.

Individuals with autism may also find that Irlen Syndrome complicates their visual processing. The use of colored overlays or spectral filters can be a game-changer, making visual stimuli and reading a less daunting. Diagnosing Irlen Syndrome is not conducted through a traditional eye test—instead, it targets the brain’s ability to see and process visual information without discomfort or difficulty. It’s not about vision—it’s about cognitive processing.

To begin the journey towards a potential diagnosis and personalized solutions for Irlen Syndrome, interested individuals can visit Irlen.com. This page provides a comprehensive look at services available, lists clinics where one can undergo the necessary screening and subsequent tests, and become informed on the importance of recognizing and managing this unique visual processing disorder.

  1. Difficulty with reading, including problems such as strain, fatigue, and headaches, which tend to worsen with prolonged exposure to text or bright, high-contrast reading materials.
  2. Sensitivity to certain lighting conditions or visual stimuli, including fluorescent lights, bright sunlight, and high-glare environments, leading to discomfort, squinting, or the need to wear sunglasses indoors.
  3. Perception issues like seeing text that appears to move, blur, shimmer, or form patterns, making it hard to maintain focus on the words while reading.

Assessing Irlen Syndrome: Testing Light Sensitivity and Lenses

At Amen Clinics, individuals seeking clarity on the challenges they face with reading and visual processing can undergo comprehensive testing. The in depth brain imaging conducted by Amen clinics can reveal a hyper-reactive visual system pointing to Irlen Syndrome. This condition, characterized by light sensitivity and difficulty with reading, often goes undiagnosed despite its prevalence. Light sensitivity isn’t just discomfort; it’s a barrier that can hinder one’s ability to interpret the written word effectively. Amen Clinics’ dedication to cognitive research and brain health makes them an ideal setting for those suspecting they have Irlen Syndrome.

The process to determine if someone has Irlen Syndrome begins with an Irlen Syndrome self-test—a simple yet effective way to identify symptoms that may warrant further screening. For some, reading under regular white light can cause discomfort, while colors like blue or yellow might make a significant difference. This is where the use of color becomes vital in the testing. If the self-test suggests the presence of the syndrome, a formal assessment follows, which includes a test of different lenses to see how color can alleviate visual stress.

As testing progresses, Irlen-certified diagnosticians meticulously analyze how individuals react to various light spectrums. This testing isn’t just about identifying Irlen Syndrome; it’s about finding solutions to make reading and other visual tasks more manageable. Through the use of specifically tailored spectral filters, many find that the previously difficult task of reading becomes more effortless. The affirmation that lenses can improve visual processing offers hope to those who’ve struggled silently, often attributing their challenges to personal failings.

Frequent exposure to screens in our digital era has only amplified the difficulties associated with Irlen Syndrome. Irlen interventions are more pertinent than ever, as the glare from screens can escalate light sensitivity issues. The prescribed colored overlays and lenses are tools that have their grounding in years of research, providing empirical support for their efficacy in mitigating the effects of Irlen Syndrome. This syndrome can occur comorbidly with conditions such as autism, adhd, dyslexia, learning disabilities, and other conditions heightening sensory sensitivities, and necessitating a refined approach to diagnosis and management.

Discovering the correct color combinations that assist an individual’s visual processing can be likened to finding the key to unlocking their reading potential. This is the expertise that Irlen Diagnosticians offers through their comprehensive screening and assessment services. To find out more about the approach to diagnosing and managing Irlen Syndrome, prospective patients can visit their website, contact them through email, or make an appointment to explore how spectral filters and lenses can address their light sensitivity and reading difficulties. By tailoring lenses to accommodate individual needs, they enable clients to navigate the visual world with renewed confidence. The Irlen Institute is at the forefront of providing services that bring to light the often unseen struggle of Irlen Syndrome.

Understanding Irlen Syndrome is a critical step towards achieving comfort and success in reading and visual processing. At the Irlen Institute, we are committed to providing accurate screenings and assessments to correctly identify this syndrome. From self-tests that help recognize potential symptoms to more comprehensive diagnostic procedures, our certified specialists are dedicated to aiding individuals in navigating their visual experiences with greater ease. To learn more about Irlen Syndrome testing or to find a qualified professional, visit Irlen.com and start your journey to visual comfort today.

Q: What is Irlen Syndrome, and how does it affect individuals?
A: Irlen Syndrome, also known as Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, is a perceptual processing disorder that impairs the brain’s ability to interpret visual information, resulting in difficulties with reading and other visual tasks. This disorder may lead to symptoms such as text appearing to move, shake, or blur, often making the reading experience strenuous and uncomfortable for the affected individual. It is not identified by standard educational, visual, or medical examinations, but rather through specialized assessments focusing on visual processing difficulties.
Q: How can someone suspect they might have Irlen Syndrome?
A: An individual might suspect they have Irlen Syndrome if they experience difficulty reading where the text seems to vibrate, blur, or create discomfort, particularly under fluorescent lighting or when surrounded by bright colors. A self-test available on Irlen.com is the first step in identifying these symptoms. This test is a simple questionnaire that can help pinpoint specific visual processing challenges and discomforts.
Q: What is involved in the official diagnostic process for Irlen Syndrome?
A: The official diagnostic process for Irlen Syndrome begins with a screening conducted by an Irlen-certified diagnostician. This initial assessment explores how an individual processes visual information and determines if spectral filters can improve visual perception. If the screening suggests benefits from the use of filters, the next step involves precise testing to customize filters in the form of lenses or overlays tailored to the individual’s sensitivity.
Q: Can Irlen Syndrome be treated and if so, how?
A: Yes, Irlen Syndrome can be treated through the use of spectral filters—customized lenses that adjust the hues and densities to cater to an individual’s specific sensitivities to colors and lights. These filters may be used as overlays or incorporated into glasses or contact lenses, making reading and other visual tasks more comfortable and efficient.
Q: Where can individuals get tested or seek support for Irlen Syndrome?
A: Those interested in getting tested or seeking support for Irlen Syndrome can visit Irlen.com for a comprehensive list of services and clinic locations. Irlen.com provides resources, research information, and connections to Irlen-certified diagnosticians.
Q: Is Irlen Syndrome related to other conditions, and can it benefit from similar interventions?
A: Irlen Syndrome can occur comorbidly with conditions such as autism, where sensory sensitivities are heightened. Interventions involving the use of colored overlays or spectral filters can significantly benefit individuals with autism who experience visual processing difficulties associated with Irlen Syndrome. These tailored visual aids help make reading and other visual tasks less daunting and more manageable.



how to get irlen glasses



Find Irlen Glasses & Lenses: How to Get Irlen Glasses and Locate Testing Centers

Welcome to the Irlen Syndrome Foundation’s comprehensive guide on how to get the right Irlen glasses and lenses that can significantly improve your quality of life. If you’re experiencing visual distortions or strain that hampers your reading and learning abilities, this article will provide you with the essential steps to obtaining specially-tinted Irlen glasses. Moreover, we’ll guide you through locating authorized testing centers, ensuring you receive a professional assessment and tailored solutions. Dive in to discover how the Irlen Method can unlock a new world of clarity and comfort for you.

Find Solutions to Irlen Syndrome: Get Testing and Glasses at Certified Centers

Seeking relief from Irlen Syndrome begins with finding certified centers that specialize in the Irlen Method, a reputable approach backed by empirical evidence. Individuals with visual processing problems can find proper testing from certified screeners or diagnosticians, ensuring that their unique needs are met The Irlen Method, a cornerstone in addressing visual issues associated with Irlen Syndrome, offers a pathway to identifying visual processing problems that standard vision tests may overlook. Through specialized assessment you will be able to determine ifIrlen spectral filters, worn as glasses or contacts, will benefit your visual experience.. These spectral filters are tailor-made to address the specific visual processing problems inherent in Irlen Syndrome. The glasses utilize innovative lens technology to filter out troublesome wavelengths of light, thus alleviating the challenges faced by each individual. The use of precision-tinted filters enhances visual comfort and processing.

Sourcing Irlen lenses requires engaging with certified professionals who can provide a custom-fit solution. These individuals have undergone comprehensive training to administer the Irlen Method and understand the intricacies of the visual processing problems you’re facing. To find testing centers and expertise in creating Irlen glasses, it’s best to consult the Irlen Syndrome Foundation or visit Irlen.com. By connecting with these resources, individuals can access a network of professionals who can aid in acquiring the spectral filters needed to mitigate the effects of Irlen Syndrome effectively. Remember, testing is a critical step to ensure that any visual processing problems due to Irlen Syndrome are addressed appropriately, and only certified screeners and diagnosticians are equipped to administer these tests accurately.

  • Improved Reading Comfort — Irlen Lenses can reduce glare and visual stress, making reading more comfortable, which can lead to longer periods of sustained focus and better comprehension.
  • Reduction in Visual Distortions — For individuals with Irlen Syndrome, these lenses help minimize distortions such as blurriness or words that appear to move, resulting in a clearer and more stable visual experience.
  • Enhanced Visual Clarity — Irlen Lenses are tailored to filter specific light wavelengths, which can enhance clarity and contrast, making the visual environment easier to navigate and less overwhelming.

Overcoming Visual Problems – Test for Irlen Syndrome and Obtain Therapeutic Lenses

Struggling with visual problems can be a daunting hurdle in day-to-day life. Fortunately, identifying and overcoming these challenges is possible through accurate testing for Irlen Syndrome, a condition often associated with light sensitivity, reading difficulties, and, in some cases, can occur alongside other conditions, like dyslexia. To obtain relief and enhance visual perception, Irlen Spectral Filters, available as overlays or tinted Irlen lenses, can be personalized to meet the specific spectral needs of individuals. Research supports that these unique color-based interventions are engineered to alleviate the brain’s stress from processing light, thus making reading and exposure to light more comfortable.

The first step towards overcoming these visual problems is to get a professional assessment at certified Irlen testing centers. Then, the diagnostic process helps to pinpoint the precise colors that will help in mitigating your difficulties. Once identified, you can get your custom-tailored Irlen glasses, ensuring the spectral filters match your individual needs.

For those with light sensitivity, Irlen spectral filters serve as a therapeutic tool, helping to manage the brain’s response to problematic wavelengths of light. Whether you’re combating the challenges posed by reading difficulties, or simply seeking solutions to reduce eye strain, the ability to obtain and make use of these lenses is a significant step in the right direction. By addressing your light processing issues, these lenses help in creating a more conducive environment for your brain to process visual information without the usual strain or discomfort.

Share your experiences and save others from the struggles of undiagnosed visual processing problems by spreading the word about these solutions. Get testing, share research, and join a community committed to helping those affected by Irlen Syndrome. Ultimately, you can obtain and make use of Irlen lenses to mitigate the effects of this condition and improve your day-to-day life.

In conclusion, finding the right Irlen lenses are crucial for those affected by Irlen Syndrome. The journey begins with identifying a certified screener or diagnostician through the Irlen Syndrome Foundation, followed by precise testing and lens tint customization to meet your specific needs. Remember, accurate Irlen lens creation and the support of trained professionals can lead to significant improvements in your daily life. Locate a testing center near you by visiting Irlen.com and take the first step towards visual comfort and enhanced reading capabilities.

Q: What is Irlen Syndrome, and how can Irlen glasses help?
A: Irlen Syndrome is a perceptual processing disorder that affects the brain’s ability to process specific wavelengths of light, often leading to visual distortions, eyestrain, and reading difficulties. Irlen glasses are equipped with spectral filters, also known as Irlen lenses, which are custom-tinted to filter out the troublesome light frequencies, alleviating these symptoms and improving visual comfort.
Q: How do I know if I have Irlen Syndrome and could benefit from Irlen glasses?
A: If you’re experiencing light sensitivity, visual distortions, or reading difficulties, you may have Irlen Syndrome. The best way to confirm this is by undergoing a professional assessment at a certified Irlen testing center, where specialized testing can determine if Irlen lenses would be beneficial for you.
Q: Where can I find a certified testing center for Irlen Syndrome?
A: Certified Irlen Syndrome testing centers can be located by consulting the Irlen Syndrome Foundation or visiting Irlen.com. These authorized centers will have professionals trained in the Irlen Method to conduct accurate assessments of your visual processing issues.
Q: What should I expect during the diagnostic process for Irlen Syndrome?
A: During the diagnostic process, trained professionals will evaluate your visual perception and sensitivities to identify the specific issues caused by Irlen Syndrome. They will help pinpoint the precise colors of Irlen spectral filters that can mitigate your difficulties, which will guide in custom-tailoring your Irlen glasses.
Q: Is there any research to support the use of Irlen spectral filters for those with Irlen Syndrome?
A: Yes, research supports that Irlen spectral filters, which can be personalized to meet the individual’s spectral needs, are effective in alleviating the brain’s stress from processing light. These color-based interventions make activities like reading and exposure to light more comfortable for those with Irlen Syndrome.

Everything You Need to Know About the Different Names for Irlen Syndrome


You’re at a dinner table with 6 friends: a psychologist, a teacher, an optometrist, a teacher, a physician, and a neurologist. You tell them, “bright lights hurt my eyes, words move on the page when I read, and fluorescent lights give me a headache. Any chance one of you knows what my problem might be?” Much to your surprise, you get several different answers. “It’s Irlen Syndrome,” one of them says. “No, no, I think you have visual stress,” says another. The neurologist on your right says confidently, “I’m pretty sure you’re describing a visual processing problem.” The answers keep coming, “Meares-Irlen Syndrome! Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)! Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome!”


Woah, hold on. How can they all have a completely different diagnosis for the symptoms you are describing? Who’s right? The answer…they’re all right. Over the last 40 years, there have been a variety of different names used to define the cluster of symptoms that all stem from a light-based processing problem.

About 40 years ago, American psychologist, Helen Irlen, identified the symptoms of a disorder that would eventually come to bear her namesake, Irlen Syndrome. In its early years, Irlen referred to the disorder as Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, based on the belief that the primary difficulties associated with the disorder occurred when the brain tried to process light within the scotopic range of the visible light spectrum. Many people misinterpreted the label to mean scotopic vision or night vision, which confused professionals and discredited the method. As a result, researchers began calling the disorder Irlen Syndrome. Early research on the topic can still be found that uses the term Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, however. Some places in the literature also refer to the disorder as Meares-Irlen Syndrome, paying respect to Olive Meares, a teacher in New Zealand who identified similar symptoms as Helen Irlen during the same time period in the early 1980’s. Unlike Irlen, Meares did not move beyond symptom description to treatment protocols or developing methods of intervention. In recent years, optometrists introduced the term, Visual Stress in an attempt to simplify and generalize the name with the hopes to garner broader acceptance and understanding of the disorder. Academic research using the term Visual Stress also acknowledges the disorder’s other labels, Irlen Syndrome, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, and Meares-Irlen Syndrome.


When it all comes down to it though, at its core, Irlen Syndrome is a visual processing problem (i.e., a problem with how the brain processes the visual information it receives). It is also technically a sensory processing disorder, as it involves one of the primary senses. So, don’t let the names confuse you. It doesn’t really matter what it’s called. If your brain struggles to process visual information correctly and this causes symptoms of physical discomfort or visual distortions, you probably have Irlen Syndrome, Meares-Irlen Syndrome, Visual Processing Problems, Sensory Processing Disorder, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, or Visual Stress. Don’t worry, the good news is that the most effective intervention for your symptoms is colored filters, no matter what you decide to call it.


Teen Makes a Splash in Ireland to Raise Awareness of Irlen Syndrome

Seven months ago, I had a conversation with Ethan Lynch, a 19-year-old college student from Ireland, who wanted to help raise awareness of Irlen Syndrome within the Irish education system. I never could have imagined what would happen next, as Ethan, his cousin Oliver, and his friends embarked on an awareness and fundraising campaign to help change the lives of individuals with Irlen Syndrome. Below, Ethan details his journey in his own words. We hope Ethan’s motivation, creativity, perspiration, and supreme dedication inspire you as much as it inspired us. One person can make a difference. One person can ignite change. One person can generate momentum. Thank you, Ethan, for your incredible dedication to changing lives!

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Irlen Syndrome: A Whole New Perspective

by Ethan Lynch 

Hello, Irlen Syndrome Foundation, just a brief introduction. My name is Ethan Lynch, I’m 19 years old from Dublin, Ireland. Currently, I’m a second-year college student studying marketing at TU Dublin. Alongside my college course, my main interest is boxing which I’ve been doing for the last 3 years. Recently, this experience lead to me obtaining a coaching role in one of the most highly regarded boxing gyms in Ireland named ‘Headon Boxing Academy’ (HBA). Before then, I was playing rugby for both my club Lansdowne FC and my school, St. Michaels College.

I was diagnosed with Irlen syndrome in my final year of secondary school (High School) at 18yrs, 6 months prior to my final exams known as the ‘Leaving Cert’ in Ireland. I cannot begin to explain the positive impact these tinted glasses have had on me in all aspects of my life, but I will get to that later. Firstly, I feel it is important and helpful for people who do not have Irlen syndrome or have recently become aware of the disorder, to understand it better by outlining the impact it has had on my life.  So, I will briefly go through some of the struggles my family and I went through throughout my time in the education system.

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From the age of 5yrs to 12yrs I was assigned to the resource classes, as the teachers spotted early on that I needed further help and guidance, especially with reading. As the years progressed, my resource teacher (Mrs. Hogan) could not exactly pinpoint what was happening or why I was struggling. For years I was just labeled as dyslexic, even though I was never diagnosed with dyslexia. I remember just how frustrated I would get, and my overall confidence and self-esteem were slowly being diminished. While that was going on, my mom brought me to see two educational psychologists to try and determine the root cause of my struggles. The second educational psychologist tested me again for dyslexia. This was my third negative result from a dyslexia test. This particular psychologist also made it clear to my mom that the resource classes were not only ineffective but were having a severe negative effect on my self-esteem and any help I needed moving forward should be completed outside the remit of my school. I was a very shy and sensitive kid back then. I did not know what the feeling was, but I ended up having bad anxiety issues whenever I was around my friends and family. Surrounded by big groups of people, I could not engage properly, I always wanted to play on my own. It also impacted my one big escape, sport.

I loved playing rugby and football as a kid, it was the only way I could show glimpses of my true personality and my fun side. It was a time when I was not surrounded by extra assistance or feeling like I had a disadvantage because I simply could not process information as fast as others. It was the one time I was on a fair playing field. But there were occasions where I always felt that I was going to mess up and not perform for my team. I tended to always talk down about myself because of what kids around me in school would say to me. My decision-making on the pitch would be poor, and I simply had no confidence at times. But that mindset soon changed for me and that amazing feeling of being in your happy place came back.

My mom discussed the Educational psychologist’s report with Mrs. Hogan who agreed that we needed a change in direction in dealing with my issues. She put us in touch with a new speech and language therapist who recommended that I meet with Karen O’Connor who runs the ‘Child Development Centre’ in Ireland. This center runs programs for children with a wide range of issues.  We did not know it at the time, but this program was going to drastically improve my school and social life. I vividly remember the first time I stepped foot into the room where “The Lift” as it was known was run.  I was in a group of 8 to 10 children who had experienced similar issues to me. This program, to explain it briefly, was a music therapy program that took place 5 days a week for 3 weeks. Each child was given a microphone headset and any book of interest. For 20 to 30 minutes, each child would take a spot in a room by themselves and read aloud while listening to classical music, and as you read, you can hear yourself through the microphone.

This form of therapy helped with my sensory imbalance and enabled me to navigate my world much better in terms of social cues and interaction with others.  My mom has said it was like someone had unlocked me. A good example of this was on a trip I took with my grandmother shortly after completing “The Lift”. Usually, I would sit in silence and not interact with anyone. I do not personally remember this happening, but apparently, I was constantly talking, asking questions and giving my own input into the topic of discussion. My grandmother thought she picked up someone else’s grandchild! That is just one example of the impact this program had on me.

From here, my parents were more confident with how I would cope with life in senior school (13-18yrs). Although I was more confident than I had ever been, there were still some difficulties I was dealing with academically. I was still being mistaken for having dyslexia year in year out, but this time it wasn’t just the teachers, friends and other students were also saying the same thing. I was constantly making the same silly mistakes both for homework and in exams, so you could say it was understandable to make that assumption, as I didn’t fit into any category recognized by the Department of Education in Ireland. These mistakes were repetitive – reading the question wrong, struggling to copy down notes on the board, losing the meaning of a sentence, comprehension was particularly difficult and my time management for exams was poor. Along with this, I was still nervous to read aloud in class or ask questions in front of everyone.

Fast forward to my final year in senior school. One evening during after-school study my good friend Mikey Kelly came in wearing orange-tinted glasses. He told me that he had been diagnosed with pattern glare, similar to Irlen syndrome and the tinted glasses helped him to read.  He then went through his symptoms and what his perspective was when reading any text. The glasses stopped the words from appearing to move or jitter on the page. I could instantly relate to what he said.  As soon as I got home I told my parents what had happened. They then remembered that my cousin Oliver had mentioned that he had new colored reading glasses a few years previously and contacted him straight away. He explained he had Irlen syndrome and that very evening we completed the online test on the Irlen website. Two days later I had my first appointment with Maureen McMenamin, a Diagnostician.

I will always remember my first appointment with Maureen, it was a mixture of emotions. It reminded me of the many places my mom had brought me to seek extra help and some of those had no positive impact whatsoever, so as well as being excited, I had that nervous feeling that it might not work out. Maureen could not have been more welcoming and friendly to us as we walked into her own home. I felt comfortable around her, and I honestly could not speak more highly of her. Without her, I’m not sure where I would be in terms of my journey to Third level education.

Further assessment proved without a doubt that I had Irlen syndrome, thankfully on the milder scale. So then we started to investigate what color or colors would be needed to make my filtered lenses. After 2 and a half hours, we could not get a perfect match … we were 90% there. At the time I was so drained and disappointed, I went back to school thinking I could do some study, but I was both physically and mentally exhausted. I had to wait a further 2 weeks for my next appointment with Maureen to try again.  It was possibly the toughest two weeks of my final year, knowing that there was something out there that could help me but I couldn’t have it yet frustrated me so much. Finally, back in Maureen’s home, focused and beyond determined we found a 100% match after an exhausting 3hrs of trying.

People tend to ask me how it must have felt when I finally got my tinted glasses. Yes, I was full of joy and excitement, but my main feeling was relief … I was relieved that it worked and that I finally had an answer as to why I constantly made all those mistakes.  I looked forward with optimism reading my next school report card, which hopefully wouldn’t say “Ethan needs to concentrate harder,” or “Ethan keeps making silly mistakes.” At the same time, I don’t have anything but nice things to say about my teachers, they’ve helped me to the best of their capabilities, and I couldn’t be more appreciative of the support they’ve given me over the years.

I could instantly tell the difference these glasses brought to my academic life. They’ve given me a whole new perspective of learning. Finally, I can read a page of text the same way that the average student can, which is quite mad to say if you think about it. As soon as I told my teachers what I had, and how this was an issue I had for my whole school life, every teacher had the same reaction, “that makes a lot of sense now,” referring to the common and constant mistakes I always used to make and how long it took me to complete some tasks.

Two years on, after a long hard 18 months of the devastating impact of covid-19, where the majority of people had too much time on their hands and were desperate to keep themselves busy, I, along with my cousin Oliver Madigan and my good friend Mikey Kelly, decided to organize a fundraiser for the Irlen Foundation in the summer of 2020. We documented all the fundraisers on my Instagram. With the kind help of Adam Kerr, I made a quick 2-minute video explaining what Irlen syndrome was and the task for this charity event. We planned to swim in the Irish Sea every day for 17 days (representing the 17 years of my life without my Irlen filtered lenses!). On the final day, along with some friends, we cycled from Dublin to Kilkenny, 95km (60 Miles) approx. It was tough at times, but overall, an extremely rewarding experience.

[video width="368" height="672" mp4="https://www.irlensyndrome.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Irlen-Go-Fund-Me-Video-2.mp4"][/video]

With our fundraising effort, we managed to donate €5,400 or $6,150 to the Irlen Syndrome Foundation! It was the very first independent charity event for Irlen syndrome in Ireland. Along with the challenges, we also held a competition for two pieces of clothing from Get Ahead & Co. This competition helped us push our message out to others, as contestants had to share the post on their Instagram and tag one friend. Overall, it was an enormous success and one giant step for the recognition of Irlen syndrome in Ireland. Lastly, my former school St. Michaels College, Ballsbridge donated an extra €1000 to the Irlen Syndrome Foundation, which was included in the same fundraising effort! It was documented on the school’s weekly newsletter, https://stmcdaily.tumblr.com/

I want to personally thank everyone again who shared, donated, and took part in the fundraiser, without you guys, I would not have been asked to write up my story for the Irlen Syndrome Foundation website and continue this unbelievable journey! It was a dream come true to shine light on Irlen in a country that knows little about the disorder. I want to give a special shout out to my old school St. Michaels College notably Mr. Hogan, Mr. O’Connor, Mrs. Hogan, and all the chaplaincy team for all the help and guidance you have given us for this venture. To Maureen McMenamin for her kindness and endless patience. To Karen O’Connor and the Child Development Centre for the brilliant work they do, my family and close friends, and lastly to Sandra Tosta, who has been so supportive over the last few months especially with allowing me to talk about my story on the biggest platform for Irlen.

Research About Irlen Syndrome that Isn’t About Reading

Irlen Syndrome may affect an individual’s reading performance, but it’s not a reading disability. In fact, many great readers suffer from symptoms of Irlen Syndrome, such as eyestrain, fatigue, headaches, light sensitivity, depth perception issues, or attention and concentration problems. Here are a few key research findings related to Irlen Syndrome that have nothing to do with reading.