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What can overlap with Irlen Syndrome?

People with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/HD), Autism Spectrum Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Head Injuries, Concussion, Whiplash, Psychological, Medical and Vision Problems often present with indicators of Irlen Syndrome.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/HD)

teenager fatigued There is a large overlap of behaviours between ADD/HD and Irlen Syndrome. Many ADD/HD individuals may be mislabelled with this condition and instead may be suffering from Irlen Syndrome. They can be observed looking away from the page, appear to daydream or seem inattentive. They often rush through activities ignoring careless errors, or may "give up" easily. 

These are coping strategies to manage visual stress. Telling them to pay more attention or keep trying may not be helpful.

Wearing Irlen Spectral Filters helps provide better focus, requiring reduced effort to achieve the same output. This results in an increased attention span and motivation. Improvements when using colour may allow for easier differentiation from ADD/HD and may reduce the need for medication.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (including Asperger's Syndrome)

Irlen Syndrome is likely to be a factor for many individuals with Autism or Asperger's Syndrome who demonstrate:

lady migraine and light

  • Sensory Overload caused by lights and sunlight can result in behaviour which "filters out" the light: poor eye contact, looking down or away from visual targets, or in a series of short or sideways glances as well as physical symptoms such as anxiety or headaches.
  • Environmental Distortions can extend to people, property (stairs, walls, floors can appear blurry, moving, changing, and can disappear) and activities such as ball sports. These cause misperceptions which can affect: gross and fine motor coordination, the ability to interpret facial expressions and social skills.
  • Print Distortions can make learning and/or reading difficult even though reading skills may be good or even advanced. 

However, not every individual with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome suffers with perceptual problems, light sensitivity or sensory overload.

Psychological, Medical and Visual Problems

Robert Dobrin, MD (Amen Clinics) reported that Irlen Syndrome should often be expected in a range of disorders: Bipolar Spectrum, Sensory Integration, ADHD, Anxiety, Tic, Mood and Reactive Attachment. He considers Irlen may also be associated with Migraines, School Phobia, Traumatic Brain Injury, Visual Dyslexia, recurrent automobile accidents, excessive daytime fatigue, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. As anxiety associated with visual stress is reduced, patients make physical improvements.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), Head Injuries, Concussions and Whiplash

Up to 80% of people suffering from these conditions have one or more of the following symptoms related to visual stress:

  • Reading - Change in clarity or stability of the print.
  • Sustained Attention and Concentration - Discomfort in reading and doing other visual activities
  • Light Sensitivity - Reduced rehabilitation because going outside, bright or fluorescent lighting, and driving at night is uncomfortable or stressful.
  • Physical Symptoms - Headaches, nausea, dizziness, anxiety, irritability, or stomach aches is often increased by light, reading, and other visually-intensive activities.
  • Depth Perception - Interferes with home and work related activities that require the ability to judge depth or spatial relationships.
  • Fatigue - Greater sense of being tired and fatigued.
  • Neurological Problems - Light-induced seizures, tremors, or other similar problems.

Irlen Spectral Filters eliminate the environmental factors that may be triggering stress and causing headaches and migraines. Many Irlen TBI clients reported improvements even years after the injury and after a variety of previous unsuccessful therapies.

Colour protects the brain from further stress and allows healing to take place. The longer those with head injuries wear their Irlen Spectral Filters, the greater the increase in normal cognitive, behavioural and academic function.

Using Irlen Spectral Filters can reduce the need for medication.