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ISAW 2016 Shines a Light on Irlen Syndrome

The third annual Irlen Syndrome Awareness Week was a huge success, drawing participation from around the world in variety of in-person and digital awareness events. Below are brief summaries from just some of the awareness events and activities that took place. Thank you to everyone who participated in helping educate others about Irlen Syndrome during ISAW. Everyone’s efforts generated a huge overall impact!

Facebook Profile Pictures Got Brighter with the ISAW Filter

Nearly 500 people changed their Facebook profile pictures to show their support and draw attention to Irlen Syndrome Awareness Week.



Thousands of People Turned Out the Lights!

This year’s Turn Out the Lights event was a huge success with participation from thousands of locations in 103 different countries! Fantastic! Check out the final results here:


Cornell University Releases Research Results on Color and the Brain

Cornell University neuroscientists get closer to understanding the mechanisms behind why color helps Irlen Syndrome. Read about their latest research results here:



The Irlen Syndrome Infographic is Viewed by Over 42,000 people

The Irlen Syndrome Infographic made its way into the Facebook timelines of over 42,000 people around the Internet during awareness week, encouraging thousands of people to venture to to learn more.



Here’s a Sampling of More Irlen Awareness from Around the World…

TEXAS, USA: Laura Woefel and the Texas Irlen Association

The Texas Irlen Association offered free mini screenings to the Austin community at Milwood Public Library.  A flyer promoting the event was emailed to over 2,500 parents in 5 schools (elementary to high school) that were within 8 miles of this library’s location. Two TIA members, Laura Woelfel, Irlen Diagnostician, and Angela Eaton, Irlen Screener, were very busy. In four hours, the two ladies screened over 30 children (ages 6 to 18) and 5 adults. Parents were armed with Irlen information to take back to their schools and the children were given an overlay.


ALBERTA, CANADA: Nola Stigings and Team

  • 30 new schools participated in the ‘Turn Out The Lights’ campaign
  • 15 elementary and high school Irlen kids did presentations at their schools
  • Irlen screeners did presentations to parent groups across the province
  • Three mayoral proclamations were obtained for the cities of Red Deer, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat
  • Irlen screener training in Calgary


ONTARIO, CANADA: Adel Francis, Stacey Cantor and Team

The province of Ontario was all a-buzz during Awareness Week, with presentations and gatherings of Irlen clients and supporters happening in various cities and towns, including one with the Eastern Star organization in the Barrie community, an organization that has provided over $2500 to assist students with the cost of their Irlen Filters. Amazing!!! They also got a great interview with Monique Hyatt ‎in the Lakeshore News, a community newspaper, in Windsor, Ontario. Below are a few pictures from those events.



Presentation in Huntsville


Huntsville presentation team


With members of the Eastern Star organization



Val Rizok kept busy during ISAW by presenting to the local community college adult learning group, parent councils at two schools, and staff meetings for two different groups. One of Val’s screeners also presented at a private school in the area.


BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: Tracy Bowman and Team

Our Bostonians lobbied the Massachusetts government during Irlen Awareness Week. Distributing 200 Toolkits to Congress members, Tracy Bowman and her team worked to gain traction with the Massachusetts Bill for Irlen testing in schools.



Folks in Grand Junction were extremely busy during Awareness Week, hosting a 5K walk on October 15, at the Colorado Mesa University campus, an Irlen Syndrome Book Group meeting at Barnes & Noble, October 17, free mini-screenings and informational session at West Books on October 19, informational session at the Mesa County Public Library Downtown Branch on October 19, exhibit at the Senior Health Fair at Two Rivers Convention Center on October 21, and free mini-screenings and information booth at the Mesa Mall on October 22. To top it off, Mayor Phyllis Norris proclaimed it ISAW in the city of Grand Junction, and Irlen representatives got to speak to City Council!

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Irlen Diagnostician, Jean Felton, kicked off ISAW by presenting at the Jersey Skills show on the 14th and 15th of October, sharing Irlen with 4,000 attendees. About 40 Irlen-ites attended the annual Irlen Awareness Pizza Party on October 19, and then Jean and Irlen students made awareness presentations at Grouville School, St. George’s School, and Beaulieu School, addressing nearly 150 people. ISAW in Jersey was capped off with an appearance on BBC Radio Jersey with Charlie McArdle to discuss Irlen Syndrome! Have a listen, and share! The piece begins at 1:12:10 (one hour, twelve minutes, and ten seconds into the segment):

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BALTIMORE, MARYLAND: Shoshana Shamberg

Diagnostician, Shoshana Shamber, provided free Irlen Syndrome Awareness presentations, professional development for CEUs, and free screening the entire month of October. Below is a list of the events that took place in Baltimore and the surrounding DC and Virginia areas:

Baltimore City and vicinity

  • Oct 7 – Visionary Art Museum. Talk in courtyard with free giveaways!
  • Oct 9 – Ruscombe Community Health Center
  • Oct 16 – Mount Washington Festival
  • Oct 16 – TBA WOAMTEC Woman’s Business Networking Group
  • Oct 20 – Meyerberg Senior Center

Baltimore County

  • Oct 6 – Hunt Valley Business Forum HVBF
  • Oct 6 – Owings Mills Business Networking Group
  • Oct 6 – Torah Homeschool of Baltimore
  • Oct 6 – Pikesville Plaza

Maryland, DC, North Virginia Areas

  • Amen Clinic events with Lunch and Learn, Screenings, and Professional Development Events
  • Oct 26 –  Irlen PreAssessment Training and consumer awareness
  • Archdiocese Catholic Day Schools of Fairfax County



The City Council of Wichita, Kansas, issued a proclamation for Irlen Awareness Week for the second year in a row.  It was well received and presented at the same time as United Way Day, so there were many more attendees at the meeting and possibly more people will watch it on TV.



Susan Hughes and her team of Irlen Ambassadors in Chico, California meet at least once a month, planning activities for awareness and fundraising. They have given 12 scholarships to local clients so far this year and 12 last year. They ran a Breakfast and Bargains yard sale for two days and raised $1,400.00, and Wildflower School had another Readathon in April,  raising $1,100.00 for scholarships at their school. They also just ended a two-month fundraising drive with Annie B’s and the North Valley Community Foundation. For Irlen Awareness, her team ran a booth with mini-screenings and a raffle at the annual Fun Run for the local alternative high school ‘Inspire’, and had a Purple Pizza party at a local pizza parlor with a bake sale and free raffle tickets for prizes for anyone wearing purple or their Irlen Spectral Filters.


HOUSTON, TEXAS: Julie Yaxley

Diagnostician, Julie Yaxley hosted an awareness event at Krist Samaritan Center, Houston, TX. This event, targeting those interested in learning more about Irlen Syndrome as well as current Irlen Spectral Filter wearers, provided an opportunity for the community to come together, share their own stories, and find out more. Attendees also received $50 off any future Irlen services, and a free lens cleaner refill.


PUNE, INDIA: Tehnaz Ragi

In India, Irlen Syndrome Awareness Week 2016 was part of the ISAW INDIA Rainbow Project 2015, 2016 & Beyond, and went like this:

  • 17 October:  IrlenIndia Facebook Online Event – We will start off with an online event on Facebook, as that is where I get the most questions and requests for information.
  • 20 October:  Meeting with the Head of The Symbiosis Early Years Education Teacher Training College to discuss doing an initial presentation and, perhaps later, a module of sensory perception, vision, vps and learning.
  • 22 October:  “Do you see what I see?”  An introductory presentation on sensory perception, vision, vps, and learning to the teaching staff and parents of Harmony Tree Preschool, which is open to the community.
  • 23 October:  A Story Night: “All About Light!”  Diwali is the Festival of Light in India.  We are hosting an evening of storytelling to drums, surrounded by Diwali Lamps and Rangoli making (ornate coloured mandalas)
  • 24-29 October:  Diwali Camp.  Part of the ISAW India Rainbow Project 2016 and Beyond. Including daily activities involving Language Arts, Science, Play, etc., which will include an exploration of light and color.



EGYPT: Rasha Anwar

As always, Rasha and her team were extremely busy during Awareness Week. Irlen is alive and well in Egypt!

  1. October 13, presentation to all staff in one of the leading reputable American schools in Egypt.
  2. October 15, “Irlen Unifies Us” gathering for clients in Irlen Egypt Center. This event allowed  clients to connect and create a real Irlen commuinty in Egypt. Parents shared experience, and most importantly, kids get peer support from each other.
  3. October 15, on the radio being interviewed on one of the oldest and most popular radio channels in Egypt, “Middle East Channel.” It was a live broadcast, and definitely an important awareness window.
  4. October 17, presentation for students, faculty, parents, and some residents in the neighbourhood in Education College, 6 October University, a well recognized private university in Egypt.
  5. October 19, screener Duaa Sobhy, presented in Tomouh Academy for special needs, Dokki, Giza branch.
  6. October 20, presentation in the National Research Center, the prominent research governmental body in Egypt. Rasha also finally obtained their official approval on a pilot research study on Irlen Syndrome.
  7. October 20, screener Duaa Sobhy presented in Early Intervention & Child Abilities Development Center in Alexandria.
  8. October 21, screener Duaa Sobhy presented in Wogood Academy for special needs, Shebeen El Kom city, Menofya Governorate.
  9. October 22, screener Duaa Sobhy presented in Tomouh Academy for special needs, Tanta city, Gharbya Governorate.
  10. October 27, a big awareness event in Ismailia Governarate was organized in cooperation with a leading special needs NGO there.
  11. In addition, Rasha got final approval to present in the oldest education college in the Arab region, in Ain Shams University- a leading governmental university.

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Screener, Christine Phillips, ran a stand at an Education Expo in Ballarat. Below is an article from the local newspaper in Ballarat about a local Irlen client:

EMPOWERMENT: Isla Matthews, who has dyslexia, is raising awareness. She will be part of a gathering at Ballarat Town Hall on Saturday night.

On Saturday night, Isla Matthews, 12, will stand outside Ballarat Town Hall with her family and friends as its clock face turns red. The Ballarat landmark will join buildings across Australia in lighting up to raise awareness for Dyslexia Empowerment Week. Isla said she was seven when she found out she had dyslexia, which is a specific learning difficulty (SLD) that affects a person’s skills in reading, spelling and writing. She has since made many adjustments in her life including using special glasses and different coloured pens and paper. “My teachers (at Mount Clear College) do cater for me at school,” she said. “If I have white paper, I can’t read it because all the words jumble up so I need yellow paper and the teachers have to use blue whiteboard markers not black or else I won’t be able to read the whiteboard.” Isla has taken part in a research project at Monash University in the hope of helping experts discover more about the condition. “(As part of the project) I had to look at the screen and notice things change and I had electrodes on my head that track my brain,” she said. “It’s just to work out more about dyslexia so in the future they can hopefully find other ways that will help.” The budding photographer noted many celebrities also have the condition and would not allow herself to be limited by the learning difficulty, but said awareness would help. Isla’s mother Kirsty Matthews has organised a gathering outside the Town Hall for when the clock face turns red. They will meet from 6.30pm on Saturday. She said it would be an opportunity to meet and support other people in the community who had dyslexia as well as raise awareness.


KUWAIT: Dr. Sameera Abdulwahab

In Kuwait they extended awareness days for Irlen syndrome until the end of October. On October 24, Dr. Sameera Abdulwahab and her team gave a lecture at Kuwait university/ collage of education for teachers’ stuff and students, and on October 26 they had live interview on Kuwait TV (good morning Kuwait at 7am)! Later that same night, the team gave another lecture at Kuwait teachers’ society.

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Check out their interview on “Good Morning Kuwait”/ Kuwait TV, Channel 1 (the interview begins at minute 34):


JORDAN: Taline Najjar and Irlen Team at Ahliyyah School for Girls

Awareness on Irlen Syndrome was be held at a nearby school: the Bishop’s school, for grades 1 to 5 during their morning assembly, and more awareness presentations were be held for staff, parents and the rest of the classes.



  • Presentation at UAE University
  • Oct 12 – Radio interview
  • A number of important departments, centers, and schools participated in the global “TURN OUT THE LIGHTS” event
  • Seminar about “The effect of light waves on the brain and how the Irlen method rectifies them” (Arabic)
  • Distributing the ISAW bracelets and leaflets about Irlen Syndrome (in both languages Arabic & English)
  • Corner about Irlen Syndrome (Arabic)
  • TV interview about the results of Irlen Method.  Before the interview, I  reviewed with them about what is lrlen Syndrome (Arabic).
  • A presentation on 28 October about Irlen Syndrome and reading & writing disabilities in Dubai Children City (in both languages Arabic & English).
  • Newspaper Interview about Irlen Syndrome



GREECE: Evangelos Sp. Bochatziar and Team

Evangelos Sp. Bochatziar and the Irlen Greece team offered free mini-screenings and promoted the global Turn Out the Lights event across the country.




Local governments once again recognized Irlen Syndrome and helped to raise awareness by officially declaring October 17-21, 2016 “Irlen Syndrome Awareness Week” in their city, province, or state. Thank you to all of the mayors, governors and other government officials who helped make that happen!

State of Mississippi: Governor Phil Bryant

For the second year in a row, it was officially proclaimed Irlen Syndrome Awareness Week in the entire state of Mississippi!!!



Long Beach, California: Mayor Robert Garcia
Long Beach, California, the 36th largest city in the United States with a population of nearly half a million people, and the city where the Irlen Institute International Headquarters is located, has officially proclaimed the week of October 17 “Irlen Syndrome Awareness Week.” Thank you to Mayor Garcia for your support in helping to raise awareness for this important cause.


Baltimore, Maryland: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Irlen Diagnostician, Shoshana Shamberg, offers a huge thanks to  her local Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and the entire city of Baltimore for recognizing Irlen Syndrome Awareness Week in Baltimore, MD.


Grand Junction, Colorado: Mayor Phyllis Norris
It’s official, October 17 – 22, 2016 has been declared Irlen Syndrome Awareness Week in Grand Junction, Colorado! Irlen Diagnostician, Jeannie Dunn, Ed.D., and her team spoke at the October City Council meeting to share with city officials about Irlen Syndrome and the activities taking place in Grand Junction during Irlen Syndrome Awareness Week.


Red Deer, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada

The mayors in Alberta Canada cities were very busy proclaiming it Irlen Syndrome Awareness Week in the cities of Red Deer, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat! Way to go Alberta for making it official!



Irlen Ambassador, Jennifer Owen, addressed the Welsh Labour Assembly with the sponsorship and support of assembly member, Dawn Bowden, to share her personal experience of Irlen syndrome with those present at the meeting. You can read more about this major accomplishment by clicking here. Jennifer continues to raise awareness year-round through her personal blog.



Brazil, Screener Marcia Dias

Invited people to send her emails with questions about the Irlen syndrome; The first six received a 50-minute call to discuss the Irlen syndrome.