In the never ending quest to find another piece in the puzzle that will enable my 11 year old adopted son to be a reasonable human being, I am having him tested for Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome. I know you are all thinking, what the hell is that? I became aware of it, just last week, through my Sensory Integration Dysfunction Support group listserv. The condition, also known as Irlen Syndrome, is one of light sensitivity. The brain incorrectly processes and interprets what the eye is seeing. Some examples of the distortions include blurriness, print jumping off the page, strange spacing, swirling characters and even in one case, the inability to interpret the addition symbol +; one subject saw it as a multiplication symbol x. Check out the Irlen website and take the test. It is really fascinating. www.irlen.com
My son was tested 4 years ago for visual processing disorder by the Illinois Eye Institute. They concluded that he had 20/20 vision, but had severe visual processing disorder; what is commonly called dyslexia is actually visual processing disorder. My son confused b & d, p & q, and wrote most of his numbers backwards for years. We tried vision therapy twice with 2 different practitioners but he wouldn't cooperate, so we gave up. He still continued to complain that he had blurry vision even though he just had an extensive eye test with an optometrist who said he had 20/20 vision. My son has struggled with writing and math and although his comprehension is excellent when material is read to him, I've never been quite sure how well he can read. I've often thought he memorizes books he has "read" over and over.
In the 1980's, Helen Irlen developed the Irlen Method; by using colored plastic overlays and filters, the wavelengths are changed so that the brain can make sense of the characters on the page. The testing consists of trying different combinations of colored overlays until the print becomes clear. They are made into glasses and each person's "prescription" is unique to him. I am pretty certain that my son has this condition and that he will benefit from the glasses. My biggest worry is that he will lose the glasses within 24 hours of getting them. I'll just have to nail them to his face. Just kidding. Not really!