last year we became very concerned when andie's teacher realized that her reading had not improved at all during the 1st grade school year. we had no idea what to do and were considering holding her back to repeat first grade. we decided to think on it over the summer before deciding. the weirdest thing is that she was strong in every other subject, but language arts. my friend tina agreed to work with andie when she found out our concerns. they were listening to a book on tape and andie was supposed to be following along with her finger, but her finger was moving along in a wavy line instead of straight. tina thought this was interesting and it reminded her of something she had heard at a reading conference she had once attended. she ran home to get some colored overlays. when she laid the overlays in different colors over the words in the book for andie to look at they talked about how pretty or funny the colors looked. when they placed the gold colored overlay on the page andie said "oh my goodness, the words are staying straight". ding, ding, tina figured out what was going on. it is called irlen syndrome. it is only recognized in 3 states so far and NO ONE at our school had ever heard of it before.
andie could not read because the words were moving all over the page, but when she has the overlay (different colors work for different people) the words stay still. i want you to visit irlen.com and go to the sample distortions. there are aprox. 6 there, andie sees all of them, but 2, all at once. we decided to send her on to 2nd grade where she is doing well and she is getting special help with reading at school and she is working with a tutor at home several days a week. we are so excited that she is now improving and moving forward in her reading skills. instead of taking an overlay with her everywhere she goes she got special lenses for glasses, so she can see everything easily where ever she goes. i feel so blessed to have friends and teachers who have helped us figure this out and help andie make up for all of the reading instruction she missed out on before now.