Friday, November 18, 2011

What things can help overcome Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome?

The following excerpt is taken from the book 'My World is not your World' written by Alison Hale. It is her autobiography that aims to tell her story from her point of view. Alison has Dyslexia, Aspergers and Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome. The book gives a very good insight into what it is like to live with these conditions. The book traces her life from her early childhood experiences to the present.
"I looked out into the world through my distorted senses unable to make coherent meaning of all the mesmerising fragments of noise, light, words and sensations....    "

Alison also talks about the things that helped her overcome Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome.
    These include the following:      
Reducing glare: using dull coloured paper for reading and writing. Never reading in bright light, fluorescent or sunlight.
Wearing tinted lenses in my glasses to reduce some of the visual distortions and make my eyes feel calmer.
Always wearing sunglasses when outside on sunny days.
Using LCD computer screens as opposed to CRT screens (CRT screens flicker).
Setting up Computer Screen to suit me - Optimise Computer Screen.
Adjusting website text size using my Internet Browser settings (In IE in top menu bar go to 'View' then select 'Text Size'). This works on my website but not on all websites!
Using a bookmark when reading so that I do not lose my place.
Reading for short periods with breaks rather than trying to read continuously over a long period.
To ensure I do not become too tired I limit the time I spend in busy crowded places (eg. supermarkets, shopping centres, pubs!, etc...) where there are lots of visual stimuli.

Her book is available from Amazon and is called 'My World is not Your World'.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Can frequent headaches be associated with Irlen Syndrome?

Can frequent headaches be associated with Irlen Syndrome and what is Visual Stress?

One of my readers emailed me the above question yesterday and I thought I would share this with you.
The answer to this great question is yes. Yes, headaches can be associated with Irlen Syndrome and  this can be due to a condition we call, visual stress. How do you get visual stress? Visual stress can be caused by something known as light sensitivity. An individual who suffers from light sensitivity is basically very sensitive to sunlight and/or inside lights. E.g. fluorescent lights. You would find a person with light sensitivity wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day for example. This is because the glare is too bright for them, even though there is no direct sun light.

Visual stress can also be a result of reading, looking at your computer monitor or laptop for long periods of time, watching movies or TV, sensory overload, allergies, brain injury and visual distortions. There may be other causes for visual stress as well that I have not mentioned here.

This is where using the Irlen overlays or wearing Irlen lenses can provide relief for individuals in some cases. I believe that there is currently some research happening in this area at the moment, and this is  very exciting for all of us interested in this area.

Please forward any questions and I will endeavour to answer them for you.

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Irlen Syndrome and research into the area of Irlen Syndrome

There is a lot of documented research  in the area of Irlen Syndrome. I found this study that was conducted by the University of Newcastle here in Australia. The study links levels of cholesterol in individuals with Irlen Syndrome and neurotransmission. Interesting. Here is the summary page from that study.




University of Newcastle

Summary.--The preliminary study investigated metabolic anomalies in children and teenagers with Irlen Syndrome, particularly in relation to the levels of n-3 and n-6 essential fatty acids, plasma cholesterol levels, and the relative abundance of plasma saturated fatty acids. The experimental group involved 13 subjects with Irlen Syndrome (M=13.3 yr., SD= 2.5 yr.), with a comparison group of 16 age- and sex-matched controls (M + 13.8 yr., SD = 2.4 yr.). The Irlen Syndrome groups were selected from people referred for help with reading and writing problems. The control group were primarily recruited from the general public. All subjects were screened for symptoms of the syndrome using the Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome Screening Manual. Samples of whole blood were collected and plasma extracted. Metabolites were compared using the Student t test. There were no differences in n-3 and n-6 essential fatty acids between Irlen Syndrome and control groups, although the former group had lower mean levels in most of these essential fatty acids. Total plasma cholesterol level was significantly decreased for the Irlen Syndrome group, and there was a significant increase in the relative abundance of the odd-chain fatty acid, heptadecanoic acid. The difference in heptadecanoic acid may have implications for altered membrane function and neurotransmission. The differences in plasma cholesterol levels, as well as heptadecanoic acid, may also point to the presence of viral or bacterial infection."
(Perceptual and Motor Skills, 2003, 97, 743-752)

Parenting- are you a passive or assertive parent?

Parenting is a daily challenge, and is often even more difficult for parents of children with Aspergers. How you react to every little incident, request or behaviour is often that little bit harder. It can be so exhausting. So as a parent, we are often tired and sometimes, we give in. Knowing the most effective words to say at these times can be tricky. For example, a passive parent will not set boundaries or limitations. The assertive parent will handle the same situation differently. IE The misbehaviour is handled with an appropriate consequence or by working with the child to find an acceptable way to get desires met.

Remember the importance of using humour in difficult situations. Modeling humor is one of the most effective methods for parenting assertively.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dyslexia and assistive technology

Assistive technology is becoming more common, especially for individuals with Dyslexia and special needs. Google Scribe is a great tool that is free to download from Google. It suggests words or phrases as you write. The other great tool is the Livescribe smart pen, which allows students to record classroom lectures while they take notes. After class, students can touch the pen to paper specifically designed for the pen and listen to the audio that went along with that portion of the lesson. <>