Living with Irlen syndrome. Part 1

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

I’m writing this entry through the colour purple (no this isn’t some experimental writing project, yet), it’s in fact the only way I can stand to look at the screen without squinting. If the sun comes through the window and hits the screen I can’t do my work, and reading a book on the bus whilst we drive past long railings in the morning is actually my idea of hell. These are just a couple of the annoying things that are affected by Irlen Syndrome.  When I first made this blog I had to ask my partner if the text was easily read because although this blog pleases me aesthetically I can’t read my own reviews with all that image of the room behind the writing. Irlen syndrome is a lot more than having trouble reading.

    I was first diagnosed with Irlen syndrome in year 11, when I was 15, a few months before my GCSE’s, the optician just happened to have gone to a few lectures on this relatively new optical condition and had quite basic equipment for testing for it. I complained that text was often unfocused and moved around the page, but the list of complaints grew once I knew more about the condition. My head was put inside of a brightly lit box, in the box was a roll of text with random words in rows all over it. Things like ‘Dog has a parrot’ or ‘The grapefruit razorblade was’ and I had to read this sheet of paper first with a regular white light and continue reading as the optician filtered different coloured overlay’s and counted the increase or decrease of my word count. In the end it was pretty clear I had Irlen syndrome, there isn’t a wide spread knowledge of this condition and if my optician hadn’t noticed I don’t even know what would have happened.       This all happened quite late on in the GCSE year and it was no longer permitted to apply for different exam circumstances. I had to sit all of my GCSE’s on white paper, in a stupidly fluorescent room with nothing but my glasses to help. My results were good, but I can’t help thinking how much easier high school would have been if I had know about this earlier. I have always loved reading but in high school I slowed down considerably, and I now know it’s because it hurt to read.


This will be a continual blog post / ranty knickers.

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