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Meares-Irlen syndrome - school have suggested my daughter is tested.

(13 Posts)
RichardDawkinsAngel Fri 01-Mar-13 21:43:31

My daughter is articulate and enquiring, with a wide vocabulary and decent enough skills in maths. But her reading lags behind her peers a little and the speed at which she reads is agonisingly slow.

School think there may be sime kind of visual or processing problem as there is a disparity between her understanding and IQ and her reading. They have suggested a test for Mearles- Irlen syndrome (also called Irlen syndrome) before a possible referral to the school advisory service. DD is 6 and in Y1.

Apparently this is a visual disturbance where the glare from the paper makes reading hard and the letters and words can 'jump about' on the page. A coloured overlay can apparently help.

Does anyone know anything about this or have any experience with it?

Thank you.

frazzledbutcalm Fri 01-Mar-13 22:25:36

What you're describing is dyslexia ...
I'd accept all the tests they offer ... I'm trying to get DD aged 13 tested and no-one will help! School says they won't fund testing, I need to go to GP. GP says they don't refer for testing it has to go through school nurse. School nurse says they don't refer, it should be SENCO at school ... angry

Ineedmorepatience Sat 02-Mar-13 14:41:57

Hi RDA Actually I think what you are describing is a symptom of dyslexia.
Visual difficulties can be a part of the whole issue and are well worth checking out.

I know you have just moved this from AIBU but I would move it again to the Special Needs children board, it is loads busier than this one and there are people using different interventions over there.

Just for the record you need a behavioural optometrist to test your Dd's vision not an ordinary high street optician and in most places around the country it is not funded by the NHS.

Our BO did manage to get a grant towards Dd's coloured lenses in her glasses as she also has a diagnosis of Aspergers but dont know how widely available they would be.

Maybe see you over on the SN children boardgrin

Ineedmorepatience Sat 02-Mar-13 14:45:47

frazzled FWIW I tried for years to get Dd2 tested through school and it just didnt happen.

We used a BO for her too and it cost alot of money over a period of a few years. It made a massive difference to her though and she managed to pass all her GCSE's.

Now she is at sixth form college they flagged her as dyslexic within a matter of weeks and are just about to give her a full screening test to see where her weaknesses are. As if we dont know!

She is 17!

Please dont wait, if you can possibly afford to go private, do it.

Good lucksmile

RichardDawkinsAngel Sat 02-Mar-13 17:30:52

Thank you for all your replies and I am so sorry to hear that so many people seem to struggle to get diagnoses for their children :-(

Dyslexia is certainly a possibility so we will do the eye test thing first and see. I have made an appointment with a non-chain optician who have a page about coloured overlays for dyslexia on their website. They charge £10 for the test which seems reasonable.

Thanks again!

Ineedmorepatience Sat 02-Mar-13 18:52:18

£10 is very reasonable compared to the £280 that we were quoted!

Ask them to check her eye tracking as well as poor eye tracking can lead to great difficulty with reading.

Dd2 used to read the same line over and over or miss 3 or 4 lines on a page. She also couldnt copy from the board. A few months of eye exercises corrected this problem and her reading improved massively.

RichardDawkinsAngel Sat 02-Mar-13 22:07:17

She doesn't seem to be able to track at all - I didn't realise they could look at thus. Thank you!

Periwinkle007 Sun 21-Apr-13 22:50:40

my daughter hasn't been diagnosed with this as such, well no actual diagnosis but we have established that coloured glasses help her so there must be something in it. I think she is probably what they call a 'compensated dyslexic' ie she has learned to work round her problems.

We noticed she was complaining all the time about the white board at school, I noticed that whilst she was reading very very well at home she wasn't anywhere near as good at school or on the school books or when tired and couldn't sustain it. by that I mean she could read 2 or 3 pages absolutely perfectly with punctuation, expression etc and then suddenly it would all fall apart.

I did a lot of googling and by chance found a mention of the white board and irlens and went from there. I spoke to her teacher who agreed it made sense but that they hadn't really noticed anything (she is the top reader in the class but could read when she started school so I suppose they wouldn't be looking for a problem). anyway they suggested a specialist optician and we did a colour test and the test showed she skipped words, rows etc. she got her glasses in the easter holidays and the difference is amazing.

The optician we went to also do an eye tracking test which can then lead to exercises to help them if they need them but I am hoping the glasses alone are correcting her problem. will keep an eye on that. Am meeting the school SENCO this week as I asked if they had any experience or ideas even though I know she won't get any support from school because she isn't behind.

The normal route is to try the overlays and see if they work. the reason we jumped into glasses (obviously more costly) was because of her issues with the white board and her obvious issues with the fluorescent lights as well. She is so much happier now she has them. in our case the colourimetry test was £45. the glasses were then £87.50 I think if I remember right. I think overlay tests we were quoted were between £10 and £30. another opticians did say £35 for the colourimetry test but then their glasses were more expensive.

I wish I could help more but I am still in the early stages myself. I wouldn't have thought my daughter was showing any 'true' dyslexic signs at all but now I look into it it turns out you can be dyslexic but be a good reader, good vocabulary, early talker etc.

MariscallRoad Thu 09-May-13 21:23:30

RichardDawkinsAngel My son is a student and has last month been diagnosed with Irlen. That is how it was found: he was referred to by his student disability service to an Educational Psychologist who diagnosed him with with SLDs and Dyslexia last Autumn. The Ed Ps following her diagnosis referered him to a specialist colorimetrist for irlen syndrome. The specialist has prescribed a certain colour overlays and coloured spectacles for reading as as well - so the two go together. This has increased the reading speed somehow. The Ed Ps found e is in the top 1% of ability so this mitigates somehow the SLDs. Irlen has caused him headaches during reading, letters jumbled and reading speed was below the average. He is waiting for the coloured lenses because it takes long time to make them. A friend of mine discovered also while she was a student she had Irlen.

LuvMyBoyz Sat 25-May-13 06:37:31

The school can also order coloured exercise books for children who need overlays as this helps them read over their own work. Google Crossbow to find these.

Devonmother1 Sat 28-Sep-13 19:53:30

Does anyone have experience of applying for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) for a son/daughter with Irlen Syndrome ? My daughter was diagnosed when she was 15 and after that she was allowed to use a computer in school and exams because her reading/comprehension/writing speed and standard were so slow and she did much better using a keyboard and screen. She has now just started at university and has applied for the Disabled Students Allowance since this includes students with specific learning difficulties. Despite an Ed Pych report which recommended a laptop and other technological aids, Student Finance England have said that in the case of Irlen syndrome, they only pay for colorimeter testing and lens tinting and won't pay for any technological aids. We are currently arguing this with them. Firstly, I think they have broken their own rules because their guidance states that if they agree a student is eligible for a DSA (which they do), then the next stage is to send the student for a needs assessment to establish what they need as a result of their "disability". This is carried out by a qualified needs assessor in various needs assessment centres around the country (usually based in universities). Secondly, they seem to have a very narrow understanding of what Irlen Syndrome is and seem to suggest that all can be solved with coloured lenses (which in my daughter's case help but don't completely solve). They have said that if we can show my daughter has a wider sensory processing disorder, they may re-consider. But isn't that what Irlen Syndome is ? If anyone has any experience of applying for DSAs for Irlens or can expand on whether Irlens is a sensory processing disorder rather than just visual, I'd appreciate hearing from you. I must admit, despite the number of years, I am still a little hazy on exactly what it means. Many thanks

alimac87 Thu 17-Oct-13 22:22:29

I would call this visual stress, and it's part of a bigger picture with dyslexia & sensory processing difficulties. Ihave not rereally come across this as a syndrome on it's own.

tinytalker Tue 22-Oct-13 17:57:50

I would also suggest visiting an orthoptist or a behavioural optometrist who can assess for convergence insufficiency which can be corrected and have a massive impact on reading speed, accuracy & tracking. They can also asses for Irlen's.

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