Color And The Dyslexic Child: A New Way Of Looking At Things
Can a pair of glasses (or contacts) with colored lenses help your dyslexic child read? Maybe. If you're the parent of a dyslexic child, learn more about why colored glasses just might be worth trying.
The Connection Between Dyslexia And Irlen Syndrome
Irlen Syndrome, also called scotopic sensitivity syndrome, is a visual disorder that is closely linked to dyslexia. It's also sometimes referred to as "visual stress."
You don't have to be dyslexic to suffer from Irlen Syndrome, but many dyslexics do. In fact, some children diagnosed as dyslexic, may actually be suffering from Irlen Syndrome instead. Dyslexics and children with Irlen Syndrome share two things in common, which can make the disorders hard to tell apart:
- Children with either problem have difficulty reading. Text becomes blurred, shifts around on the page, or looks hopelessly jumbled. The problems get worse in bright light, or when looking at white paper. Other difficulties, including misreading words, reading slowly, or losing their place when reading, are common among children with either disorder.
- Treatment through the use of color, including colored reading glasses and contacts, seems to help.
The Use Of Color To Treat Dyslexia
The connection between color and dyslexia is well established. Using pastel papers instead of white can help the dyslexic child read better, and so can using transparent, colored vinyl sheets to overlay text. Reading becomes easier, and the child's comprehension of what he or she has read becomes better.
Not every dyslexic child can be helped by using colored lenses in his or her glasses or contacts. But, for those that can be helped that way, the results are dramatic. Symptoms have sometimes been totally eliminated.
More Than One Choice For Treatment
One approach to finding the right colored lenses for dyslexic children has been to use an Intuitive Colorimeter. This tool is used to determine the right color the lenses should be, how bright the color needs to be, and how dark to make the lenses.
Unless the right combination of these three things is found, the lenses won't have any effect. Children have to be retested periodically, to make sure that nothing has changed, and to readjust the colors as necessary.
Another type of lens, called chromatic lenses, are also being used to treat dyslexic children, although the treatment remains controversial.
Chromatic lenses essentially reduce the visual distortions patients with either dyslexia or Irlen Syndrome see when they're trying to read. While the lenses weren't originally intended to treat dyslexia, they're gaining growing support among dyslexics who've tried them.
Many optometrists feel that chromatic lenses haven't undergone enough studies to prove that they really do help dyslexics. Chromatic lenses were never developed as a treatment for dyslexia or Irlen Syndrome, which is partially why their effect on other disorders hasn't been well studied.
If you feel that other methods of treatment for dyslexia haven't helped your child, the use of colored lenses may be something to consider. Science is improving treatments for dyslexic children every day, and new innovations are always worth exploring. Education centers like HARP Learning Institute are also effective in helping children with dyslexia.