The Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy

The Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy

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Using Hypnotherapy to ease the symptoms of Meares-Irlen Syndrome.

Known as Visual Stress, MI causes difficulties with reading. Research by Evans & Watkins (Essex Uni) found 20% of children benefited using a coloured overlay or tinted glasses. Correct colour speeds accuracy of reading which may improve by up to 50%

Although Meares-Irlen Syndrome, also known as Visual Stress, is not yet fully understood, it is known to seriously affect reading ability and is likely to be hereditary. Visual Stress and Dyslexia are not the same thing but may co-exist. Here is a link to some of the MI research at Essex University. - Hypnotherapy is a relaxing, easy and proven methodology that may help to lessen feelings of stress, pain and headaches that people with Meares- Irlen struggle with every day. Hypnotherapy techniques can also help reduce concentration difficulties by boosting self-confidence, reducing anxiety and improving self-esteem. Most teachers and many parents seem to have no idea that up to 14 million UK children and adults may have inherited MI Visual Stress. As we can never know how others see2 most people just assume the pain and headaches they are experiencing when reading, is the same for everyone. Symptoms include: strain working under bright lighting, difficulty finding comfortable lighting, glare from bright objects, eye strain, headaches from reading and working at a computer, watching TV, supermarket and all bright lighting. Black print on a white background or paper will cause visual pain, which can be reduced if presentations and written information is provided on pastel colours from the pale blues, greens and cream range. Anything other than a stark white background is helpful and will reduce the risk of MI headaches. Ariel and most other fonts have been found to cause MI and Visual Stress distortions which are painful, triggering headaches, migraine and feelings of nausea. Using ComicSansMS font on all written information and using a coloured paper or overlays will help reduce symptoms. MI symptoms resulting from reading may include: Poor comprehension, skipping words or lines, reading slowly or hesitantly, loses place, eye strain. Child/adult may see the words jumping off the page, spinning, moving around and not staying where they are supposed to. Difficulty judging distances includes: clumsiness, being accident prone, bumping into things and difficulty catching small balls. Any child or adult experiencing the above symptoms are advised to have a standard vision test at their local Optician. If after the eye test and any appropriate treatment the symptoms remain, they ought to be tested for Meares– Irlen syndrome. Unfortunately, most optician have not usually undertaken the necessary additional post qualifying training for MI specific assessments and despite more than 40 years of research, most seem to have no idea that such a condition even exists. It is therefore, essential for children who are struggling to read, to also be seen for a visual Colorimeter assessment by an Ophthalmic Consultant, specialising in MI visual difficulties. MI Visual Stress seems to affects about 65% of dyslexics, as well as people on the Autistic spectrum, epileptics, migraine sufferers, those with ME and MS. It is important to note that not everyone with MI will have these other conditions. Symptoms of MI will have been present throughout life, some children and adults experience symptoms after a minute of reading; others find the symptoms take longer to appear. The degree of symptoms can also vary from person to person with more marked symptoms creating barriers to successful reading. Many teachers do not know about MI Visual Stress and those that do, seem to think yellow is an okay colour for everyone with MI, but that is not the case. The exact colour/shade needed will be specific to the individual and may be any colour of the rainbow. A test for Meares– Irlen Syndrome may be available on the NHS in England /Wales if you can get a referral from a GP but this does tend to be very much a post-code lottery. For a list of Colorimeter assessment specialist in your area contact: The British Association of Behavioural Optometrists or Dyslexia Acssociation. In Essex Colorimeter assessments can be arranged at Williams Optometrist, Benfleet (tel: 01268 799999). In Scotland, consultations at The Visual Stress Clinic at Glasgow Caledonian University can be organized on the NHS with a referral from a GP or educational psychologist (there may be a waiting list). The clinic is separate from the NHS so it is also possible to make a private appointment.

Posted: Wednesday 28th February 2018

Last Updated: Thursday 3rd February 2022

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