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12th Irlen International Conference Presentation Abstracts


Marcia Reis Guimaraes, MD, PhD – Keynote:  Neurovisual and Clinical Profile of Patients with Irlen Syndrome

Irlen Syndrome directly impacts vision, the most important sensorial channel to the brain.  The ophthalmic diagnostic approaches are aimed towards detecting how severely neurovisual abilities are impaired and how to minimize or even suppress all manifestations of symptoms and its impact on patients’ visual performance.  Working in a clinical setting allowed us to design a detailed protocol to analyze the neurovisual profile of patients, thus helping in differential diagnosis of co-existing neurovisual factors.  All pre-treatment data is annually re-evaluated, providing significant evidence to support the efficacy of the Irlen Spectral Filters.  The protocol, the rationale behind the selected exams, clinical results, and analysis of our data will be presented.


Ricardo Guimaraes, MD, PhD – Keynote:  Experiences as an Ophthalmologist with Irlen Syndrome Patients:  What I Have Learned From Irlen

Ophthalmologists are often asked about the role of vision in learning disabilities.  As the basic visual indexation for visual performance is limited to visual acuity, most cases of visually-related learning disabilities are ignored and remain untreated.  Reading difficulties are the most prevalent complaint for learning disabilities which is also named dyslexia, a condition affecting ocular motricity.  However, these conditions are not detected by routine eye examinations nor diagnosed by direct eye observation.  The presenter will describe his experience when he entered into this new world once he was acquainted with Irlen Syndrome manifestations and patients’ complaints.


Helen Irlen, MA, LMFT & Sandra Tosta, PhD:  TBI & Concussions: Military, Athletes & Others

Head injuries, concussions, and whiplash damage neurons and alter brain chemistry causing behavioral, academic, cognitive, and emotional difficulties.  This changes how the person sees the world and processes experiences.  The military, athletic world, and medical doctors are slow to recognize the severe and long-lasting consequences that a head injury, even a mild concussion, can cause.  Irlen Spectral Filters are a noninvasive and effective method for addressing these changes, giving the individual back the best brain possible.  When you treat using Irlen, you do the right thing for your damaged brain…getting back in the game of life.


Marcelo Bernal, MEd:  Irlen Incidence in Cuenca Urban Schools

The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of Irlen Syndrome and identify the most common physical and visual-perceptual discomfort symptoms that affect reading in 3rd graders of public and private urban schools in Cuenca, Ecuador.  Two hundred and sixty-seven children, as well as directors, parents and classroom teachers, participated in this study.  Children were assessed through observations, interviews, and five tests of the Irlen Reading Perceptual Scale (IRPS®) during the 2013-2014 school term.  The prevalence of Irlen Syndrome in Cuenca urban schools is 25.84% in the severe range.  The most common visual-perceptual distortions and physical discomfort were also identified for this study group and will be presented and discussed.


Sandra Davis, PsyD, Jessica Jones, PsyD & Alyssa Scott, PsyD:  My Anxious Perception

My Anxious Perception will provide information on how Irlen Syndrome can create anxiety in those who suffer the perceptual disturbance and how “filtering” out the anxiety-inducing stimuli will create calm, ease, and comfort as he or she engages with the world.  Worry, nervousness and fear, for example, can impact one’s functioning in multiple ways and in several environments.  This presentation will provide information on how and why Irlen Syndrome sometimes results in misdiagnosis.


Shulamit Elad, MA:  Can Individualized Irlen Spectral Filters Improve the Attention Profile of People with ADHD?

Previous research has shown a connection between ADHD and Irlen Syndrome.  Our current research aims to find whether the use of individually-fitted Irlen Spectral Filters can improve attention and to what extent.  Subjects were 18-45 years of age.  The research was conducted using the CPT-d test (MOXO) which checks four variables:  attention, timing, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity.  Subjects took the MOXO test twice, first without intervention and the second time using Irlen Spectral Filters.  The presentation will review the findings that have been collected so far in this ongoing research.


Margaret Harris, MEd:  The Effects on Math of Irlen Syndrome

While we are all familiar with the effects Irlen Syndrome has on reading, many of us are not aware of the effects it has on math.  As a high school math teacher and Irlen Diagnostician, I will explain the distortions that are unique to math and that a student can have difficulties in math because of Irlen Syndrome without having reading difficulties.


Jeri LaVigne, EdD:  Efficient Brain

This presentation focuses on learning and processing styles to help professionals in understanding how the brain processes information using visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modalities.  When these are paired with the correct processing channel, conscious, subconscious and unconscious, then the brain can work more effectively.  Poor communication skills, disagreements, and misunderstandings can be a source of anger and distance, while effective communication can be a springboard to stronger relationships, a happier future, and better interactions with clients, associates, family members, and friends.


Jeri LaVigne, EdD & Sherry Ponder, PhD:  News from Mississippi – Bay St. Louis/Waveland School District Irlen Overlay Study

This quantitative and qualitative study is investigating the effects of using Irlen colored overlays to increase reading achievement of identified 3rd and 4th graders in the BWSD.  Intervention of Irlen overlays is in response to a state law commonly known as the “3rd Grade Reading Gate.”  The study design and preliminary results will be shared, as well as how the school district plans to implement Irlen screening for all students in grades K-12.  This study is designed to be replicated as an evidenced-based practice to share with other school districts.


Masanori Ogata:  Effectiveness of Irlen Lenses for People with Irlen Syndrome in Daily Life

The purpose of this preliminary study was to find out the amount of improvement in people’s daily lives with Irlen Spectral Filters.  The study looked at 88 items that included body, mind, society, and culture in 22 people who had Irlen Syndrome and 31 non-Irlen people.  The results will be presented in detail during the presentation.  In summary, scores of the Irlen group were found to be significantly lower than those of the control group in every area of daily life.  However, the scores of the Irlen group were significantly higher than those of the non-Irlen group when wearing their Irlen Spectral Filters.


Nadine Jasso Pabst, MEd:  Leadership and Dealing with Difficult People

The objective of this presentation is to identify the “key types” of difficult personalities that leaders come into contact with and gain an understanding in the importance of identifying those individuals.  Leadership strategies for toolboxes will be identified.  Situational examples will be shared, and some audience participation will be invited.  Specific guidance will be offered on communication, confrontation, and reframing when presented with each of the different “key types” of difficult personalities.


Shoshana Shamberg, MS, OTR/L:  Sensory Processing, Stress & Learning Problems: Solutions at Home, Classroom & Work

Dr. Paul and Gail Dennison, reading specialists, invented Brain Gym Exercises by providing specific exercises combined with movement, sensory input, and fun learning activities enabling the mind and body to interact and perform with greater ease and enjoyment during challenging mental and physical activities.  By combining Brain Gym Exercises and Irlen Colored Overlays or Spectral Filters, profound relief from adverse symptoms can be immediate and enable optimal functioning and learning.  This sometimes minimizes the need for more extensive and expensive interventions, while maximizing the effectiveness of those presently used.


Fritz Steiner:  The Irlen Method in the Context of Ophthalmology, Optometry & Therapies for People with Special Needs

Many barriers prevent us from working with other disciplines.  This presentation will try to reduce some of these obstacles and foster interdisciplinary collaboration focusing on functional testing and assessment.  This presentation will discuss: a better way to observe visual behavior, a reproducible description of symptoms, a more directed interpretation of a patient’s behavior and an objective assessment of visual performance, thus providing a standardized exchange of observations between professionals in different disciplines using a common language.  Simple tests are presented, always in the context of Irlen screening or Irlen Spectral Filter assessments.


Sandra Tosta, PhD:  Irlen Research: Why the Critics Are Wrong

Ever hear people say, “There’s not research to support Irlen?”  Why do they say that when there are over 200 published studies on the topic?  In this presentation, Dr. Sandra Tosta will present a historical overview of the research on Irlen Syndrome and the use of color, describe the current state of research on the topic, and explain concrete evidence that directly counters the negative opinion of Irlen technology offered by some professionals and professional organizations.  Walk away with a rich knowledge base and the information you need to take on skeptics in your own community.


Sandra Tosta, PhD:  Education, Outreach & Social Media: Growing your Irlen Business by Spreading the Word

The easiest way to increase your client base is by raising awareness about Irlen Syndrome within your community.  In this presentation, you’ll learn tips for raising awareness, creating professional partnerships, and using social media channels to grow your Irlen practice.  Before people seek out help, they need to know they have a problem.  Education and outreach get you in the door, spread the word, and build invaluable relationships with potential referral sources in your community.


Julie Yaxley, MA:  Friendly Apps to Help Level the Playing Field

Mobile, hand-held devices have the ability to revolutionize learning and information processing for children and adults.  Indeed, by careful selection of Apps and adaptations to the device itself, some of the symptoms of Irlen Syndrome can be compensated for, leaving the person free to concentrate on the task at hand.  The challenge, however, is to find useful Apps; and this session provides strategies for finding them as well as introducing tried and tested Apps that are free or inexpensive to help overcome difficulties in areas such as:  reading, reading comprehension, writing, note-taking, and math.