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Who can have Irlen Syndrome?

man glasses The identification of Irlen Syndrome depends on what symptoms are being assessed.

  • Approximately 46% of individuals with reading problems, dyslexia, or learning disabilities, and 10 - 15 % of the general population also have concerns, to a smaller or greater degree, with perceptual processing.
  • Irlen Syndrome occurs on a continuum from mild symptoms to very severe symptoms (Irlen H., "Reading by the Colors" 1995)
  • It occurs equally in people who are gifted and talented and those with learning difficulties, so it is not related to intelligence.
  • Irlen Syndrome can occur with or without dyslexia but is more prevalent in dyslexic people varying from 31 to 46% (Irlen and Lass, 1989; Kruk, Sumbler and Willows, 2008).
  • It is highly genetic, with an 80% chance of a parent passing it to their children, and if one child in the family has it, then the chance of other children having it is 50 to 70% (Robinson et al., 1996)
  • 80% of inmates participating in prison education programs had a high incidence of symptoms of Irlen Syndrome. (Whichard, Feller & Kastner Sept 2000)

There is also an expectation that Irlen Syndrome may be over represented in trades and in the Defence Force. Many young people leave school early due to the impact of Irlen Syndrome and will pursue career options in these fields. This may be because their strengths lie in 'hands on' activities and verbal communication.