What is Irlen Syndrome?
Irlen Syndrome is a specific type of perceptual problem that affects the way the brain processes visual information. It is not an optical problem.
For those with Irlen Syndrome, the brain is unable to process full spectral light. This results in:
It is exacerbated by environmental factors such as lighting, brightness, glare, high contrast, patterns and colours. Irlen Syndrome affects people of all ages.
Having Irlens Syndrome can make you feel that a part of you is missing. You feel like an outsider and an onlooker. Try as hard as you can, you never feel quite involved with activities and other people. This might push you inward on a spiritual journey or to find your own passions that you can pursue mainly by yourself. Either way it can be a lonely path.
For example, when your family is having a barbecue on a beautiful summer’s day you are thinking about the glare of the sun and and the heat and the smoke. And beyond this you feel ‘charged’ for some reason that you don’t even understand. You feel that if one more person speaks you are going to break or if one more dish clatters you are going to scream. You feel like a charged bundle of hyper sensitivity.
This is what has always happened to me and the potentially most wonderful occasions have turned into my most miserable moments. I find myself wishing it was an ordinary day and then the disappointment at not being involved wouldn’t run so deep. Of course I try to be happy for others but this doesn’t stop both the disappointment and a feeling of inadequacy from setting in. And when it does, I feel like all I want is some attention – some sweetness from someone. I just want someone to understand my misery and lift me out of it. I suppose as a child my family saw this in me and called it attention seeking behaviour. In fact just my lack of involvement was called attention seeking behaviour so talk about being kicked when you are down!
Now I understand this, it is all a little easier to bear. I don’t know yet know who I am when I have my Irlens glasses but I am looking forward to finding out. I wonder who I will be when I have the involvement with life and others that I have craved my whole life! Might I finally find my real sense of self and find where I fit in the world? I hope so!
If you have a child who follows you around and seems to drain you dry maybe they are feeling overwhelmed by light, other stimulus and all sorts of brain activity that you might never guess they were experiencing. Maybe they are are feeling so ungrounded that they need your physical presence as close to them as possible. If you are raising your child to be trusting and secure, behaviour that might be seen as ‘attention seeking’ could really be a symptom of some deeper discomfort. My suggestion is that you have them checked for Irlens Syndrome.