Irlen Syndrome and Autism

 Taken from the website:

“I looked in quick glances, understood by piercing fragments. I saw cracked children, cracked steps, print, and writing. Since having Irlen® Tinted Lenses, I have the sight and hearing I very much wanted.”– Richard Attfield


Seventy percent of the information an individual receives enters through the eyes and must be correctly   interpreted by the brain. Any problem in the way the brain processes visual information can cause difficulties in the general ability to function. Sensory overload causes problems processing, interpreting, and interacting with the environment. The Irlen Method helps individuals with Autism and Asperger Syndrome who have perceptual problems, light sensitivity, and sensory overload by filtering the frequencies of light to which the individual is sensitive. This allows the brain to process visual information normally.

Types of Problems

The Irlen® Method is not a cure for Autism or Asperger Syndrome. Not every individual with Autism and Asperger Syndrome suffers with perceptual problems, light sensitivity, and sensory overload. The Irlen® Method is a piece of the puzzle for some individuals. Typical problems that can be helped by the Irlen® Method are:

(1) Sensory Overload caused by bright lights, fluorescent lights, and sunlight. Lighting is stressful; and this results in behaviors to filter out the light, poor eye contact, and physical symptoms such as anxiety or headaches.

(2) Environmental Distortions where the individual sees the world in a distorted fashion. Objects are blurry, moving, changing, and can disappear. People may look frightening, stairs may look like a slide without steps, and walls and floors may swing and sway. Misperceptions can cause difficulties with sustained attention, eye contact, gross and small motor coordination, ability to interpret facial expressions, and poor social skills.

(3) Print Distortions make learning or reading difficult. The individual may have good or even advanced reading skills but has trouble with reading comprehension or experiences strain and fatigue when reading or doing other activities. Tracking or building breaks into reading may be a problem.

Autism Articles

Edmonton Autism Society                                          Download File Now                  
Autism Today, Volume 10 Issue 3, 1994, “I Can’t Stand the Bright Lights: Breaking Free From Perceptual-Sensory Distortions.”

Irlen Method: The Link to Autism
Submitted by Ann Pemberton, who is a registered nurse in the U.K. and mother of a 13 year old boy with a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome who wears Irlen Filters, on 11/1999.       Download File Now