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Living with Irlen pt 3

I broke my glasses. A simple fix but it has taken me the better part of a week to get around to it, and I’ve been reminded how hard it is sometimes. I haven’t read for a few days, on trains or on buses, which is usually my ideal reading nook! I’ve had terrible headaches, felt sick and nauseous constantly without them. The physical reality of Irlen is quite severe sometimes. If you’ve ever been very tired you’ll know the heaviness of your eyes, imagine that constantly, as if you haven’t blinked for an hour, as if a lens is constantly refocusing in your head. Some days I am very frustrated with my brain, it definitely doesn’t work the way we’re told it should.       On a lighter note; I work in secondary, and it fills my heart every time I see a child using their glasses, or their overlays, or even hear other children refer to these resources – not with prejudice and misunderstanding like I had just 7 years ago – but with acceptance and at times just interest. There are a lot of children and young people being listened to and diagnosed, which can only progress knowledge and understanding of these conditions. I wish they had known when I was 12, think of the books I could have read in those 4 years!!        I am also happy when children see me wearing my glasses on the bus, and when I teach. It shows them that this is a grown up difficulty as well, and that we can still make it places. Sometimes I hear children hiding behind their difficulties, because that is what we are taught to do, but I hope that is one child remembers the mental, ginger, supply teacher who wore her Irlen glasses on top of her head at every moment, they’ll think they can get through the difficult patches.         I’m very open about my Irlen, and now and again a child will ask me ‘Miss, why are you wearing sunglasses inside?’ and I’ll blag their heads, and answer honestly. I like to think they respect me for that; these teenagers have a lot more in their heads then we give them credit for.

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