Speaker raises awareness about Irlen Syndrome

A leading expert in the area of visual-perceptual problems was the featured speaker at a town hall meeting in Red Deer on Tuesday. The meeting was hosted by Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski, who is behind the proposed Bill 204 — the Irlen Syndrome Testing Act. The private member’s bill calls for screening of the syndrome in schools. Jablonski’s grandson has the condition that occurs when the brain is unable to properly filter the colour spectrum.

A leading expert in the area of visual-perceptual problems was the featured speaker at a town hall meeting in Red Deer on Tuesday.

The meeting was hosted by Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski, who is behind the proposed Bill 204 — the Irlen Syndrome Testing Act.

The private member’s bill calls for screening of the syndrome in schools.

Jablonski’s grandson has the condition that occurs when the brain is unable to properly filter the colour spectrum.

The meeting was an opportunity for people to ask questions about the syndrome and treatments, including the Irlen Spectral filters.

Helen Irlen, a Calfornia-based educator, researcher and therapist, created the concept that determined some individuals are predispositioned to bright lighting, fluorescent lights and high contrasts that create distortion and discomfort. Her research dates back more than 30 years.

“This little-known syndrome affects approximately 12 to 14 per cent of the general population but it’s almost a majority of those who are struggling in schools or identified with learning problem, reading problem and attention problem,” said Irlen.

She said if this condition is not picked up at an early age, people can suffer for a lifetime.

Teachers are being trained in the United States, England, Brazil and other countries.

“We want to make it as widely as available and known in Canada as it in other countries,” said Irlen.

The provincial government’s Standing Committee on Families and Communities will hear presentations on the Bill 204: Irlen Syndrome Testing Act today.

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