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What is dyslexia? What is Irlen Syndrome?

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. It involves a cluster of symptoms that result in students having difficulty with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students may also have trouble with other language-based skills like writing, spelling and pronouncing words.

A formal definition of dyslexia used by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development states, “It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language. Secondary, consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”  

What is Irlen Syndrome?

Irlen Syndrome is a perceptual processing disorder. It is a visual processing problem which appears to be caused by a defect in one of the visual pathways that carries messages from the eye to the brain. It is not an optical or language-based disorder. Phonics-based instruction will not help a student with Irlen Syndrome because it is a light sensitivity, where individuals are sensitive to a specific wavelength of light and this sensitivity is what causes the physical and visual symptoms. Students with Irlen Syndrome have difficulty reading because their brains see distortions on the printed page or the white background or glare hurts their eyes.

It is possible for students to have both dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome.

About the author

Vikki Carrel

Academic Language Therapist, Multi-book Author, National Speaker

Vikki empowers people! She is an Academic Language Therapist, multi-book author and a national speaker. Vikki grew up in Salt Lake City, met her husband at the University of Utah, and has owned several companies across the United States. In 2010, Vikki and her husband moved back to Utah from Doylestown, Pennsylvania and she founded Vikki Carrel & Company, a speaking and training organization. Read more about the author

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