Overlays for dyslexia

(22 Posts)
sandiy Wed 06-Nov-13 18:45:01

I have no idea really,But having spent 5 years saying to school that I feel my sons problem with reading and writing is more than related to his speech and language problems Spending the last couple of years suggesting he might be dyslexic as he really struggled to read.My dad and my nephew both have severe dyslexia.I had a massive melt down in school relating to my other children (they are very bright and excellent readers) I ve never ever behaved in this way before I hasten to add but was at the end of my rope.No screaming or shouting just very very assertive.
My son has finally been tried with overlays he says they really help and From the little bit of reading we did this evening they appear to help.Is this right ?Is it really that simple or is my son just saying so so he gets to keep his funky overlay He is eight and just started year 4,his reading and writing is very very behind.Other subjects are fine within normal range and he is not stupid when you speak to him.Although his speech is fairly unclear at times.Any insight would be reassuring either way TIA

cathpip Wed 06-Nov-13 18:48:52

Has he been tested for irlens, not sure if that's been spelt right, people with it benefit from coloured overlays when reading, it makes a huge difference as quite often words on a white background just blend in but stand out on a coloured overlay.

muddymarvellousdarling Wed 06-Nov-13 19:02:13

My DD(11) has an overlay.
She started off with a A4 sheet overlay but now uses a ruler type one.

DD tried all the colours out and has settled on a pinky red one.
DD says it's made reading a lot easier and words now don't jump around.
DD has been moved up to set 2 in English since she has been using it.

For my DD they have made a big difference.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 06-Nov-13 19:04:27

Has he had an eye test with an optometrist?

smee Wed 06-Nov-13 19:21:09

sandly, get him to a specialised optometrist. Normal opticians can't test for Irlens. My son now wears dark green tinted glasses, and they make a massive difference.

To give you some idea, when he was tested they found a tint he thought helped, then gave him some random words to read against the clock. With the tinted overlay he ready 98% of the words and made just one mistake. He then read the same words without the overlay and only read 72%, plus made lots and lots of mistakes including skipping whole lines. I was blown away by what a difference it made.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 06-Nov-13 19:25:26

There are other issues that a behavioral optometrist could pick up - my son had eye teaming issues that caused problems. When I was a teacher I would refer parents to an optometrist first of all in order to rule out/find out about any physical issue with eyesight.

Periwinkle007 Wed 06-Nov-13 21:05:47

we went to a specialist optician (the school recommended one) and my daughter now has coloured glasses.

the difference between doing the test before the tint and after the tint were astonishing. before the tint she took nearly a minute longer to read it, she skipped almost every other word and every other line without realising she was doing it (she did read all the words right though), with the tint she was quicker and only skipped 1 word which she realised and corrected herself but then skipped the next line (probably from confusing herself more than anything else). Within 2 weeks of getting them she had gone up 3 reading levels and started reading chapter books. she no longer got tired after just 3 pages and her reading stamina was greatly increased. She was no longer rubbing her eyes all the time and complaining they were sore or the white board hurt them and made them water and she stopped getting styes.

Overlays can help greatly for some people but it is worth getting tracking issues and eye convergence checked too. there are exercises that can be given to help this. Anywhere with a vision therapy department should be able to advise.

sandiy Wed 06-Nov-13 21:12:19

He saw Orthoptist when he was five No problems He had his eyes checked a couple of weeks ago.All fine which I knew because he does really well with hand eye coordination stuff like teeny Legos and manages to make complex Lego stuff without reading that I could nt manage.Apparently his eyes coordinate etc no problems.But this ire lens sounds interesting how do I get a referral is it gp or senco?
I'm a bit hmmm that it's taken so long to get overlays He has been having intensive speech therapy since reception.He gets extra help with reading in a group I was a bit sad at parents evening when school told me that he could not see ed psych as he has no behavioural problems,and try's really hard and is a popular and much loved member of his year.Iwas told that the budget was allocated to more "troubled"children! School were not keen for me to go private as there was no funding for additional support.

Periwinkle007 Wed 06-Nov-13 21:20:54

well it isn't up to the school if you go private for an ed psych report and whether they would take any notice of one I am not sure (I am going that route myself probably) but at least YOU would know what the situation was then.

You can't be referred re irlens/scotopic sensitivity/eye stress. our school suggested a place to go because I asked them if they knew of anywhere that was good and they said that a few children had been there in the past. We found there was a problem ourselves, some schools will try overlays with any child struggling with reading but it only helps a small number of poor readers as you actually have to have the problem for it to help obviously.

Our costs were £45 for the test I think (might have been £35 actually, can't remember). I think overlays are about £10 but we had to get glasses for her because the white board was the reason she needed them (we didn't really realise there was a problem with her reading at this point, we just noticed a HUGE improvement once she got them) so the glasses were obviously more expensive (under £150 though for frames, lenses and tint so not the prices you will see some places charge). there is no NHS voucher valid for them in England but I am sure someone said there was in Scotland.

Tracking problems can be assessed with a different machine and exercises over a few weeks can improve them and help the child train their eyes to read from left to right.

Xochiquetzal Wed 06-Nov-13 23:18:43

I have overlays and yes they really do help, glasses are more convenient though as I don't have to move them/fiddle with the settings on the computer (I'm a student so have to read a lot).

I got my coloured lenses by telling my optician that I had overlays for uni and he suggested a place.

AngiBolen Wed 06-Nov-13 23:32:46

A behaviour optomotrist will test to find which coloured over lay is best, amd can prescribe coloured lenses and also bi-focals in my DCs case. An optomotrist would tell me their eyes are just fine.

The behaviour optometrist also picked up tracking problems and gave us exercises to help.

friday16 Thu 07-Nov-13 09:01:42
Periwinkle007 Thu 07-Nov-13 10:39:17

that is an interesting study friday16.

my daughter is an exceptional reader and her reading age was 2yrs ahead even before the glasses, we didn't get them for her reading, we got them to work almost like sunglasses with the glare of the lights and the white board but then noticed an improvement with her reading stamina and accuracy too. For example before getting her glasses she could read 3 pages of a hard book permanently but then suddenly somewhere around page 3/4 the words would all get mixed up, she couldn't see all the letters in them, she couldn't see punctuation and started skipping words etc. Put the glasses on and she could read the whole book perfectly. We weren't expecting that at all, we were just trying to stop her eyes watering all the time.

I think too often they are tried for children who are actually just poor readers for other reasons. in this case of course they won't solve the problem because even if the child does have irlen syndrome they are actually just a poor reader (or have additional undiagnosed problems). however for a child who actually is a good reader already but has issues with the letters moving etc then they can be great.

Periwinkle007 Thu 07-Nov-13 10:40:10

perhaps they should have used children of all reading abilities but who complain of tired, watering sore eyes or who suddenly plummet in accuracy after a few pages etc instead of focusing on poor readers

choccyp1g Fri 08-Nov-13 09:34:42

I found that study fascinating. I'm not a teacher, just a reading helper who has studied a bit of reading theory.
A few years ago, I used the overlays in a totally non-scientific experiment, simply letting a bunch of poorer readers try the different colours and use them if they liked.
One or 2 out of 12 felt that it really made a difference, and noticed a difference between particular colours. They didn't lose the overlays, and kept using them for the whole time I was reading with them.
For the others, there was perhaps a "placebo" effect for the following reasons.
2 or 3 found it fun and exciting, making the reading less stressful.
Some used it simply as a "reading ruler" to help keep their place.
Some used it as a bookmark.

My reasons for thinking that they really do work for some children:

1. I can see for myself that some colours bring the letters into sharper focus.
2. When we came across books with coloured pages or coloured writing, several children spontaneously moved the overlay away, saying was better without it.
3. I chatted about it with my son (then aged about 8 and an excellent reader) and he said "oh yes mummy, it's easier reading through your ruler. I think yellow is best but Friend A prefers blue." The DCs had been playing about using ordinary rulers and school and found this out for themselves. I actually mentioned it to the friend's mum and she had never tried the proper overlays with him.
4. Two of the boys chose pink overlays.

[Of course this is all ANECDOTE, not data, but in my opinion, no less scientific than the study which had the bright idea of excluding the results of the two children who appeared to benefit most from the overlays]

choccyp1g Fri 08-Nov-13 09:41:27

Periwinkle Yes, I think they should have used a complete mix of kids at all reading levels; plenty of DCs manage to do well DESPITE various issues.

NynaevesSister Fri 08-Nov-13 10:50:36

Just to clarify for the OP that Irlens and dyslexia aren't the same. You often get them together but not always. So do have him assessed for dyslexia too. Am a bit annoyed with your school. Our school had son fully assessed for dyslexia in year 4 with referrals to Ed Psych. I queried the behavioural aspect and they explained it covered emotional problems too. Because my son was reasonably bright he was getting very depressed at how far behind his peers he was.

TurnOffTheTv Fri 08-Nov-13 14:50:20

Can I just point out to someone further up the thread that an optician and an optometrist are the same thing, but different to orthoptists and ophthalmologists.

NikitaWhoWillNeverKnow Fri 08-Nov-13 14:58:15

And the majority of exercises a behaviour optometrist recommends are identical to the ones an NHS orthoptist prescribes.

And the coloured overlay testing is no more sophisticated then 'which colour seems better'. Ie no special fancy machine or anything.

Xochiquetzal Fri 08-Nov-13 22:25:02

TurnOffTheTV, I know they are the same thing but the optician I saw for my normal eye test said he didn't do the colour tests.

Elibean Sat 09-Nov-13 11:40:27

dd1 has an overlay, but doesn't use it anymore. She got it in Y2, as the words 'jumped around' and she got headaches after reading for a while - or so she said. She is a very good reader, but couldn't sustain the effort for more than a few minutes and lost her place at the end of every line.

She was tested for Irlens, not dyslexia, and tested positive.

I don't know if she has a degree of dyslexia as well, I sometimes think she might do (and we have a family history of moderate dyslexia on dh's side) but the Irlen's is a separate issue, and the overlay was NOT to treat dyslexia.

aciddrops Sat 09-Nov-13 22:30:38

This website may be useful irlen.com/find-an-irlen-testing-center/

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