Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Reading problems with kids

If your kids are having trouble reading, this story could be the answer to your prayers. There is a little known disorder that impacts about 50 percent of kids who are slow readers, but children in the U.S. are often not tested for it. Irlen Syndrome is most often misdiagnosed as ADHD.

Here's the story from CNN:

"It was like pulling teeth. Seriously, that's how it would look at it. He just hated to read," said mom Priscilla Klaus. Priscilla couldn't understand why her son had such an aversion to reading. She even had his eyes tested only to find out there was nothing visibly wrong. He was later diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome.

"You Can Learn" Director Carla Jay said, "It's not eyesight. It's what happens from the eyes as it delivers it to the brain and they actually see too much information when it's a black and white or a high contrast." And for those who have Irlen Syndrome, that makes reading a confusing, and even painful experience. Priscilla's son Drew said, "I just didn't want to do it. I would just say no. I don't want to read anymore because it would give me way bad headaches."

Some children get headaches, and some even become nauseated as words become
rivers of ink and pages begin to spin. Many children will see rivers which means the way the word breaks up in the background looks like rivers or cracks running down the page. Jay said," Irlen Syndrome can also cause pages to become fuzzy, some children see in double vision and in a few children the whole page will spin or move up and down and kids with Irlen syndrome don't understand that not everyone sees books as they do. I'll have parents call back and they'll say he is so relieved. He's so happy. He thought he was dumb all of these years. He had no idea that the page was moving around for him and not for everyone else."

The treatment for Irlen Syndrome is simple: remove the sharp black and
white contrast. "If they do have Irlen Syndrome, we get out colored overlays or
colored gels and determine which color calms the page down for the child," said Jay. Now, ten year old Drew sees the written word through rose colored glasses,
specifically made for him and he likes reading a lot more.

Here are the signs to look for:

  • These children may not like to read.
  • They cover their eyes or shade them while reading.
  • They love a story but not if they have to read it.
  • They rub their eyes or their eyes water.
  • They get sleepy or have headaches while reading.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


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