Friday, March 02, 2007

Irlen Syndrome

Have you ever wondered if you were dyslexic?

Our doctor is the kind of guy that remembers his people and would gladly stop on the street corner to chat. So when I went in to see him about my sleep issues a couple weeks ago he asked how hubby was doing and how the out-of-town job was going. I said pretty well, that he'd been taking his Industrial First Aid course and in fact was taking his final exam at that exact moment. Doc was interested and assured me hubby would do fine. I said, well, he's a bit concerned because he's a bit dyslexic. Doc had just been leaving the examining room but turned on his heel.

"Have you ever heard of Irlen Syndrome?"

Um, no. I hadn't. He recommended looking it up and gave me the name of a woman in a nearby town who is a licensed screener for Irlen's. When hubby got home the next day (with high passing marks, thank you very much!) we looked Irlen Syndrome up on the web. Just glancing through the basic info caught hubby's attention, so we printed off the five page test. Hubby scored fairly high on this test (not as positive a thing as scoring high on the first aid test!) and spent the next couple hours testing his parents and then pacing the floor talking about the possibilities and what it might mean to him if the Irlen lenses really worked. It was obvious that we needed to pull this to the next level.

Yesterday he had a two-hour consultation with the screener. Then he continued on his drive to work while telling me all about it on the phone. He's EXTREMELY excited about this possibility so (you guessed it) we're moving on to the next level, in which a professional from Toronto comes to Calgary every couple of months to go through the testing in greater depth and figure out which color lenses will make the biggest difference. This will be sometime in April; we expect to get a call next week with an appointment date.

This doesn't seem to be covered by our health insurance (though hubby's gonna double-check). The screening cost us $150. His next appointment (including the glasses) will run about $800. It's a lot of money, but if it makes the words stand still on the page for hubby, if the numbers don't keep jiggling into different columns (or becoming different numbers altogether, such as 6s and 9s), if more than one word is visible at a time--isn't that worth it? We think so.

Is it a scam? No. Hubby was tested with around 50 colored lenses and as soon as the blues rolled around, he relaxed. Suddenly he saw things clearly for the first time EVER. At his next appointment they will finetune the color; he expects about 700 colored lenses that day.

He has terrific eyesight; this has nothing to do with that. This just allows those bothersome little words and numbers to hold still to be analyzed and read. He reads a lot of fiction, but I think he kinda skips across the surface of the words, if that makes sense. And he sees the action happening rather than the words marching. Non-fiction--technical--is much harder for him. At any rate, I'll let you know what develops.

If you've ever wished you could see the world through rose-colored glasses--check it out. It may not be a bad idea!

1 comment:

Jean said...

This sounds fantastic! (Not the $800 if insurance doesn't cover -- the fact that tinted lenses could help resolve such a debilitating lifetime challenge.)

Since he clearly loves to read, this will enhance the experience. Isn't it amazing how a casual remark can result in such a potentially life-changing result?

And good news on the Industrial First Aid results. I hope everything works out positively for you.