Irlen Syndrome Screening Project
First, What is Irlen Syndrome?
Irlen syndrome is best described by the symptoms people suffer from the distortions they see, which range from nausea due to seeing letters spin, to headaches and choppy reading from seeing only one letter at a time, to eye pain from bright lights and white paper. Because public and educator awareness of this syndrome is relatively low, I screen all my students to assure their academic and behavioral challenges do not relate to having IS.
It is suspected that IS is hereditary; from my own experience screening for IS, I have found one of the parents has had IS as an adult, and they often tell me how their lack of reading ability has affected their entire life, including forcing them to choose careers that did not rely on reading.
When I screened the entire grade level at Coral Mountain Academy, I found many of the students who had Irlen Syndrome were low- to average-achieving; however, I was asked to screen an additional student after I completed the project. One of the participating teachers thought about a previous student she had to hold back a year. The student went on to the next grade level, and at the end of that year the new teacher was considering holding him back again; however, the participating teacher thought of the heredity component of IS, and when she realized the boy was related to one of her current students diagnosed with IS, she requested I screen him as well. He did have Irlen Syndrome, and due to his sudden ability read, he was not held back for a second time