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Reading overlays for dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome are a cost-effective tool to help with reading difficulties. In this blog post, we look at what dyslexia and Irlen® Syndrome is and how assistive technology such as Irlen Institute Overlays or reading software can help.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that affects approximately 1 in 10 people of all ages and abilities. Dyslexic children and adults will often experience difficulties in their reading and writing. You can find out more about dyslexia by following this link to our previous blog post: What is dyslexia and where can I find support?
What is Irlen® Syndrome?
Irlen® Syndrome is a perceptual dysfunction which affects both children and adults of all ages and abilities. 12% of the general population are affected by Irlen® Syndrome, and up to 47% of these also have disabilities such as dyslexia, autism, dyspraxia and much more. Symptoms can include:
- Light sensitivity – may experience discomfort in fluorescent light, sunlight and lights at night.
- Difficulty judging distance – problems with special awareness and may find it difficult to cope with stairs, sport and driving.
- Eye strain and headaches – may experience headaches and fatigue.
- Contrast and colour sensitivity – problems with black print on a white background, bright colours and using a computer or tablet.
- Inefficient reading – inability to develop reading skills due to skipping words and lines, slow reading rate and problems with tracking.
- Distortions of print – problems with printed text moving, fading or blur.
More symptoms can be found by following this link to the Irlen East website. It is important to remember that Irlen® Syndrome is not caused by a problem with the eyes, but by the way the brain interprets the visual information sent from the eyes.
What assistive technology can help with reading for people with dyslexia or Irlen® Syndrome?
There is a variety of assistive technology software and hardware available which can support reading difficulties experienced by dyslexic people or those with Irlen® Syndrome. Many websites, including dyslexic.com, also have built in accessibility features on their website. This means that you can easily adjust font size and background colours to view the website in a way that suits you. (To change the accessibility settings on dyslexic.com, please follow the ‘Accessibility’ button in the main navigation bar).
ClaroView and ScreenRuler Suite software allows you to add a digital coloured overlay to your screen. This means that you can quickly adjust the coloured tint on all of your applications on your computer, which can help those who experience contrast and colour sensitivity. ClaroView also has the ability to add in a ruler across the screen which can have the contrast changed and the background coloured or greyed out. This helps if the individual struggles to track lines when reading.
Changing the paper colour or using reading overlays for dyslexia and those with Irlen® Syndrome can be a great help. The colour that works for you is on an individual basis – at dyslexic.com we stock a wide range of colours and brands, including Irlen® Institute Overlays and Pukka Pads. To find out which colour you need you can be screened at an Irlen Centre which will determine the severity of your situation. To find your nearest centre, please take a look at the Irlen® Centre website. Alternatively, you can purchase a pack of 10 Irlen® Institute Overlays for our sale price of just £19.99 (RRP: £29.99). This is a low-cost option and lets you try out all 10 colours from the Irlen® Institute.
Do you have dyslexia or Irlen® Syndrome? Comment below to let us know if changing colours has helped you!