Irish Testimonials

Screeners/Diagnostician

My Irlen Revolution – My first Irlen Screening

Jenny Farrell, Screener, North Dublin

My husband has worn Irlen filters for years now and I have always been fascinated with how they worked and amazed by how much he said they helped him. Then a couple of years ago an opportunity arose for me to train as an Irlen screener - I jumped at the chance and haven’t looked back since.

The first boy I screened was named Jack and he was 13. He had been to his optician a year and a half previously and been told that his eyesight was perfect. Then just before the end of the school term the following year a nurse visited his school to do eye tests and reported to the parents that he was saying he ‘couldn’t see the page clearly’ and should see an optician. So his mother went back to the optician very confused and wondering where the mistake had been made. Luckily the optician knew about The Irlen Method and recognised where the problem probably lay, and sent him onto us to be screened.

Jack arrived to my house with his parents and was a little anxious at first not knowing what lay ahead for him. He was dyslexic and 13 years old with a reading age of 7. Once I explained that there wouldn't be any reading involved and he would just be doing some counting, he visibly relaxed. He was a lovely boy with great communication skills. Jack was very good at describing where his problem lay. He said that he could see everything around him and everything in the distance perfectly; it was just when he was looking at the page that ‘everything started moving and nothing was clear’. When he said this to me I just thought “this boy definitely has Irlen Syndrome” and it struck me that it was such a pity that more people don’t know about the Irlen Method in Ireland as Jack could have been helped so much sooner and his reading difficulties could have been minimised.

Part of the Irlen Screening involves counting black squares on a white page - I found it absolutely incredible how hard a task he found this. Jack said that all the lines were moving and he found it very difficult to count, trying over and over. As the tasks got more difficult Jack found it next to impossible to count the boxes and complained of the black lines on the page ‘moving up the walls’. My heart really went out to him, I couldn't help thinking how hard school must be for him every day, just not being able to see what everybody else around him sees. He also suffered from physical symptoms: having itchy eyes, rubbing his eyes, pressure in his head and generally huge discomfort when looking at written text.

Next we found an overlay that he liked, he was amazed at the difference and it was clearly visible that he was already excited by the prospect that he’d be able to see the page more clearly. I half covered a page of writing with the preferred overlay and he read the letters across the page. Without the overlay he was very hesitant, moving closer and further from the page and making a lot of mistakes. With the overlay he was reading the letters more quickly, more confidently and with no discomfort. He said that it still wasn't fully clear but I explained that the overlays are a crude solution and that he would have an even better result with filters. We went back and counted the squares again and found that he was quicker and a lot more confident when counting.

Jack’s parents were delighted with the results too and Jack, with his new Aqua overlay, seemed to leave a happier boy than when he arrived.

My first screening was an eye-opening experience for me and this turned out to be one of the most extreme cases I have had as a screener to date. After this session I promised myself that I would do my best to spread the ‘Irlen Revolution’ word and help as many children as I could.