Solutions and Costs

How Teachers and Parents can help

  • Reduce your fluorescent lighting. If you have a room with enough natural lighting, do not turn on your fluorescent lights. Create areas where half the lights are off, and areas with full fluorescent lighting.
  • Coloured Paper. Allow as much work as possible to be done on coloured paper, the colour of the child's own preference or a grey or beige.
  • Worksheets/Test/Maths Sheets/Information sheets should be printed on coloured paper, if possible the colour of the child's preference, blue/green/yellow/pink. The incorrect colour may cause similar problems to white. Recycled paper is better than white.
  • Bookstand. The position of reading material affects the ease of reading. The reading material or material to be copied should be placed at an angle to reduce glare. An adjustable bookstand or holder can be helpful. Reading should be done from materials placed directly in front of the child. Children should not attempt to 'share' reading material.
  • Coloured Overlays. Encourage and remind children to use the coloured overlay(s) in all subject areas in which reading occurs including Maths.
  • Ensure that reading is tested using the child's preferred overlay colour(s).
  • Chalkboards. Write in columns rather than across the board. Write each paragraph in different colours to help with tracking. And whenever possible do not use white boards. The white boards are available in brown or gray which is much easier for readability.
  • Copying. Allow children to copy from paper to paper. If necessary, copying what has already been copied from a board by another child, if possible onto coloured paper.
  • Overheads. Limit the amount of work done using an overhead projector - the intense lighting may cause real discomfort or place a blue coloured overlay on the projector.
  • Hats or Visors. Let your students wear hats with dark underbrims in the classroom. This reduces the glare from the fluorescent lighting.

Help for the student with Irlen Syndrome

  • Paper Colour. You should avoid white paper and use coloured paper for writing whenever possible. Investigate the colour of ink which is most readable with coloured paper.
  • Coloured Overlays. An Irlen overlay can be used over reading material, especially with white, high gloss paper and under fluorescent lights, when you find yourself very fatigued or when working for long periods of time under fluorescent lights.
  • Natural Lighting. Experiment and find seating where the lighting conditions make it easier and more comfortable to read and work. Indirect natural lighting and incandescent lighting is the best. Dim lighting is usually better than bright lights.
  • Brimmed Hat/Visor. Wear a visor or hat with a brim in heavily lit rooms, supermarkets and shopping centres, possibly even when reading or studying. The underside of the brim should be a dark colour such as blue, green, or black.
  • Markers. Use of a ruler or book marker can aid accuracy and speed. Some individuals become more efficient readers by using markers under the line; others by using a marker on top of the line; others by using the marker after the word being read to block off the rest of the sentence. The colour of the marker should be the same colour as the overlay.
  • Enlarged-Print. There are several organizations which publish enlarged-print books, magazines, and dictionaries. Consider utilizing the services of Reader’s Digest Fund for the Blind, Inc., Large Print Department, Pleasantville, New York, 10570.
  • Breaks. Continue to incorporate breaks while reading, writing, or doing other visually-intensive tasks.
  • Read Aloud Onto Tape And Replay. Consider reading aloud or onto a tape and then replay the tape. Listening to the tape may increase reading comprehension.

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