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Irlen support in Brazil

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Mark Eagle

Irlen supporters work to change Public Policy in Brazil.

The following is a newspaper article reporting on the bill being sponsored by Mr. Saturnino regarding Irlen Syndrome in schools in Brazil:

Written by Mr Masson Satunino (PSDB) the Bill 2017 on the "awareness Programme and guidance on Irlen syndrome" in public and private schools of Mato Grosso. Despite the little knowledge of the condition in Brazil, a study reveals that approximately 46% of people with school difficulties have Irlen Syndrome, which is often confused with dyslexia, attention deficit, or Autism.

According to the parliamentary, observation in the classroom is critical to the support of early diagnosis. "The school must know that children with Irlen Syndrome see well and they do not realize that have these changes or distortions in vision – which means that, if they are forwarded to the ophthalmologist, the assessment may be normal," said Saturnino. The ideal time to identify the syndrome is about 6 or 7 years of age, as the initial phase of acquisition of reading and writing. The syndrome is detected through a visual processing examination performed by a healthcare professional or duly qualified education. The professionals who receive this training are called Irlen Screeners.

The program established by this law, the public entities in partnership with civil society, promote debates and events in order to stimulate the awareness of educators and students of all the public and private information by focusing on the concept of Irlen syndrome, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Irlen Syndrome is a change of vision and visual perception caused by an imbalance of adaptability to light that produces changes in the visual cortex and deficits in reading, is still little known in Brazil, although there are diagnostic and treatment Centers in 42 countries.

The syndrome has hereditary character and manifests itself under greater demand for visual attention. Described in 1983 by psychologist Helen Irlen syndrome have as manifestations, apart from photophobia, problems in solving spatial problems in vision-maintaining focus, visual stress, change in depth perception and headaches, whose consequence is a learning deficit, cause difficulties in the organization of the text into meaningful segments or syntactic portions, this being a feature present in disabled readers.

The use of Irlen Spectral coloured filters to ease difficulties of reading is recommended by experts of the Irlen Institute internationally. These Irlen Spectral filters have received exposure in the mass media, and their use is increasingly accepted in schools, despite doubts over their benefits.

In addition to the use of coloured filters, some care should be taken to better use in the classroom, they are:

  • Centralized positioning in the front row if possible, away from doors and windows to better monitoring of work and attention, facilitating the acquisition of spatial central and peripheral references to the environment;
  • Strengthen the use of glasses with special filters full-time;
  • Make sure that there is no excessive clarity or natural light reflex on the blackboard damaging the student preview;
  • Print activities and evaluations with double spacing, letter size 12 or larger, more readable type possible especially on adaptation phase (referring to the months of treatment of glasses or under use of overlays);
  • Extend the time for completion of tasks and tests, notwithstanding your socialization at recess or time off at work.

The program of awareness and guidance on Irlen syndrome in public and private schools of Mato Grosso is expected to be held annually in the second week of February.