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dyslexia

  • How To Tell If Your Child Has Dyslexia

    How to tell if your young child may be at-Risk of Dyslexia

    (Suitable for Kindergarten and 1st Graders).
    Research tells us that approximately 1 in 4 people have some level of a vision processing problem and 1 in 20 has dyslexia.
    Dyslexia is a distinct type of vision processing problem. This means that there is likely to be at least one child in every class who displays the pattern of strengths and weaknesses characteristic of dyslexia. Do you have a young child who puzzles you, displaying well‐developed skills and abilities in some areas and unexpected difficulties in others? Complete this checklist to determine if that child could be at‐risk of dyslexia.
    What Is Dyslexia

    BACKGROUND

    ♦Family history of literacy learning problems
    ♦Delay in the onset and/or the development of speech and language
    ♦Seems bright and capable but not making expected progress
    ♦Is unhappy soon after starting school compared to their age peers dyslexic children often display difficulties in the following areas:

    SPEECH DIFFICULTIES

    Dyslexic children typically have well‐developed oral language skills but display specific speech problems, such as:
    ♦ Gets sounds in words muddled up (e.g., says flutterby for butterfly)
    ♦ Mixes up words (e.g., says ‘jungled’ for ‘jumbled’)
    ♦ Displays word finding difficulties (e.g., calls a ‘stamp’ a ‘sticker’ or often uses words like ‘thing’, ‘stuff’ or ‘junk’)

    MEMORY DIFFICULTIES

    ♦ Finds it hard to remember the words in nursery rhymes, songs, poems, etc.
    ♦ Has a poor memory for names (of friends, teacher, etc.)
    ♦ Difficulty remembering instructions

    DIFFICULTIES IN ACQUIRING PRE‐LITERACY SKILLS

    ♦ Has unexpected difficulty developing reading and spelling skills
    ♦ Enjoys listening to stories read aloud but shows little interest in letters or words
    ♦ Has trouble learning and remembering the sounds corresponding to the letters of the alphabet
    ♦ Has trouble learning and remembering common sight words (e.g., you, have, like, come, etc.)
    ♦ Cannot write own name correctly from memory by age 5
    ♦ Has difficulty recognizing numbers after considerable exposure at pre‐school/school

    MEMORY DIFFICULTIES

    ♦ Finds it hard to remember the words in nursery rhymes, songs, poems, etc.
    ♦ Has a poor memory for names (of friends, teacher, etc.)
    ♦ Difficulty remembering instructions DIFFICULTIES IN ACQUIRING

    PRE‐LITERACY SKILLS

    ♦ Has unexpected difficulty developing reading and spelling skills
    ♦ Enjoys listening to stories read aloud but shows little interest in letters or words
    ♦ Has trouble learning and remembering the sounds corresponding to the letters of the alphabet
    ♦ Has trouble learning and remembering common sight words (e.g., you, have, like, come, etc.)
    ♦ Cannot write own name correctly from memory by age 5
    ♦ Has difficulty recognizing numbers after considerable exposure at pre‐school/school

    PHONOLOGICAL PROCESSING DIFFICULTIES

    ♦ Displays poor phonological awareness skills (i.e., finds it hard to reflect upon the sound structure of spoken words)
    ♦ Has difficulty analyzing spoken language into its component parts (e.g., sentences, words, sounds)
    ♦ Has trouble recognizing and predicting rhyme (e.g. trouble picking the odd one out of sand/hand/cup)
    ♦ Fails to appreciate alliteration (e.g., trouble picking the odd one out of jam/jug/bed)
    ♦ Confuses similar sounding words (e.g., cone/comb)
    A child who appears bright and capable and displays many of these difficulties may be at-risk for dyslexia.
    However, it is important to remember that the levels of development and speed of learning in early childhood differ significantly for each child. For this reason psychologists tend not to formally diagnose dyslexia until a child is 7 years of age or older. Nevertheless, much can be done at this young age to prevent later difficulties. A good starting point is a comprehensive assessment by an educational psychologist a developmental optometrist who will identify cognitive strengths and weaknesses and make recommendations to help address identified difficulties. A psychologist will also suggest other specialists if appropriate (e.g. vision therapist, speech pathologists, occupational therapist, tutor, etc.).
  • Symptoms of Reading Problems

    The following symptoms may indicate that YOU or your CHILD has reading problems along with writing difficulties.

    reading problem

    Physical Cues of Reading Problems

    ¨      Red, sore, or itching eyes

    ¨      Jerky eye movements, one eye turns in or out

    ¨      Squinting, eye rubbing, or excessive blinking

    ¨      Blurred or double vision

    ¨      Headaches, dizziness, or nausea after reading

    ¨      Head tilting, closing or blocking one eye when reading

    ¨      History of recurrent ear infections

    PERFORMANCE CLUES

    ¨      Avoidance of near work

    ¨      Frequent loss of place

    ¨      Omits, inserts, or rereads letters/words

    ¨      Confuses similar looking words

    ¨      Failure to recognize the same word in the next sentence

    ¨      Difficulty identifying sounds in words and recognizing rhyming words (phonological awareness skills)

    SECONDARY SYMPTOMS

    ¨      Smart in everything but school

    ¨      Low self-esteem, poor self image

    ¨      Temper flare-ups, aggressiveness

    ¨      Frequent crying

    ¨      Short attention span

    ¨      Irritability

    ¨      Day dreaming

    ¨      A history of speech or language delay

    ¨      Family history of  literacy learning problems

    ¨      Muddling sounds in words eg ‘hostipal’ for ‘hospital’

    ¨      Enjoys being read to but no interest in looking at the words

    LABELED 

    ¨      Lazy

    ¨      Dyslexic

    ¨      Attention deficit disorder

    ¨      Slow learner

    ¨      Behavioral problem

    ¨      Juvenile delinquent

    ¨      Working below potential

    ¨      Has no interest in being read to (may be described as an ‘outdoor kid’)

    EVEN THOUGH THIS IS AN EXTENSIVE LIST OF SYMPTOMS, IT DOES NOT COVER ALL THE POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH NEUROLOGICAL PROCESS DIFFICULTIES.   FOR MORE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES PLEASE CONTACT THE COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRISTS IN VISION DEVELOPMENT (COVD), OPTOMETRIC EXTENSION PROGRAM FOUNDATION (OEP FOUNDATION) AND NEURO-OPTOMETRIC REHABILITATION ASSOCIATION (NORA).

  • Fluorescent Lighting Can Trigger ADD/HD and Dyslexia

    Fluorescent lighting may do more harm than good. Long term clinical studies by the Irlen Institute and independent sources have found that reading difficulties aswell as academic underachievement may be related to fluorescent lighting. For example, a 2006 study by Capital E found that students in schools that had natural lighting instead of fluorescent lighting had 10 to 21 percent higher learning rates and test scores. Fluorescent lighting may cause pain and suffering for 12-14 percent of the world's population, triggering headaches, migraines, and other physical symptoms.

    According to U.S. Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R-N.M.), the long-term visual and perceptual effects of fluorescent lighting on Irlen Syndrome should be considered when drafting fluorescent lighting legislation.

    "Energy efficiency should be balanced with consumer protection and protecting the public health," she said “The long term effects of fluorescent lighting should be well studied and understood before Congress mandates that consumers use fluorescent lighting in their homes and businesses."

    Tens of thousands of people have sought help from the Irlen Institute because of difficulties with fluorescent lighting. These people are already at a distinct disadvantage because of the fluorescent lighting in their schools and workplaces. They stress and tire quickly. For many, reading ability quickly deteriorates and productivity suffers in the classroom and on the job. If forced to replace burned out incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones, these people may experience the same issues adversely affecting their lives at home, too.

    The following are just a few of the individuals who have been helped by the Irlen Method and no longer have problems directly resulting from fluorescent lights. But they are the lucky ones. Millions of other individuals are struggling to perform in a fluorescent lighting environment. We need to spread the word so that these individuals have a choice and are not forced to struggle in their homes, schools, and workplaces.

    • Sarah is 17 years old and in 11th grade, but not attending school. She was diagnosed with severe dyslexia and reading problems in second grade. She gets headaches daily when in school and migraines about twice a month. She was physically exhausted when she would come home and sleep for hours and was experiencing extreme anxiety. Her psychiatrist determined her problems were triggered by fluorescent lighting, placed her on Prozac, and recommended that she leave school. The negative affects of the fluorescent lighting have seriously affected her motivation, attention, and performance.
    • Bryce is 12 years old and in the sixth grade. He was getting poor grades in school, was unable to finish tests, could not finish his work in class, or focus. He was diagnosed with ADD and placed on medication, which was not helpful. Once it was determined that fluorescent lighting triggered poor attention and concentration, the problems were resolved using specially filtered lenses.
    • Tanisha is a third grader with reading problems who falls asleep in class under fluorescent lights. She also gets headaches when trying to read under fluorescent lights, because the words and numbers move around on the page.
    • Mariel is 29 years old and would always fall asleep in class even though she had enough sleep. For her, fluorescent lights are too bright, bothersome, and irritating. She is unable to concentrate and wants to turn them off. Fluorescent lights make her dizzy, tired, irritated, nervous, and anxious.

    The Irlen Institute has seen thousands of individuals like these who struggle trying to read and perform under fluorescent lighting. Individuals have been mislabeled with LD, ADD/HD, reading problems, and dyslexia—all as a result of having to perform under fluorescent lights.

    This is a little known problem that affects millions. Faced with a worldwide movement to ban incandescent bulbs, it is critical for all of us to be more informed and to raise the awareness of others. Energy efficiency should be balanced with consumer protection and protecting the public heath. I encourage you to share this information with others and visit the International Irlen website. Then take action by making your concerns known to your schools, employers, and legislators at the local, state, and national levels.

    By Helen L. Irlen, MA, LMFT, Executive Director, Irlen Institute International

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