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A Poetic Description of Irlen Syndrome

It can be a daunting task to try and explain to someone who doesn’t have Irlen Syndrome exactly what Irlen Syndrome is, or what it’s like to have Irlen Syndrome. People who have Irlen Syndrome tend to offer the best descriptions, and this poignant and elegant poem is one of the best. This what 14-year-old Pip Wood wrote for her English teacher when she was told to write a poem about something close to her heart. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
I sit in class
The paper glares
Rivers appear and words move 

I try to read
My head bangs
I close my eyes
Reboot my mind
No luck again

My hand goes up
“Blue paper please”
I am ignored
My hand goes up
Ignored again
Finally I have been seen

Blue paper arrives
After all I have a chance
To get the grades I need
To do the job I want
To live the life I want

I was given white paper
They know I can’t read

Irlen Syndrome
That’s what it’s called
I’m not colour blind
As some people think

I need coloured paper
Unless you want half my ability
I need coloured backgrounds
I could get two grades better

It’s called Irlen Syndrome
And some of us live with it everyday

-Pip Wood-