At Bill Spooner's Coaching Academy, we are passionate about helping kids overcome their learning difficulties and pursue their goals with confidence.

Our compassionate staff can identify dyslexia and diagnose Irlen syndrome. Once the issue has been identified, we will personalise a program to help your child overcome it. You can rest assured our friendly staff will provide the ongoing support your child needs to become a competent learner.

To find out how we can help your child flourish, get in touch with us today.

Irlen Syndrome

What is Irlen Syndrome?

Irlen Syndrome (also referred to at times as Meares-Irlen Syndrome, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome and Visual Stress) is a perceptual processing disorder. However, it is not an optical problem. It is a problem with the brain's ability to process visual information. Irlen Syndrome often runs in families and is not currently identified via other medical or standardised educational testing methods.

Irlen Syndrome affects the following areas

  • Behaviour
  • Academic performance
  • Work performance
  • Attention span
  • Ability to sit still (fidgiting)
  • Concentration

Depending on the individual, Irlen Syndrome can take different forms. The condition is not often remediable and can be a lifetime barrier to learning, as well as performance at school and the workplace.

If you suffer from any of the following, Irlen Syndrome might be your problem:

  • Printed writing appears different
  • The environment looks different
  • Reading is slow and inprecise
  • Poor comprehension
  • Increased fatigue when reading
  • Eye straining
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty doing mathematics
  • Inability to copy written characters
  • Hindered sports performance
  • Limited depth-perception
  • Inability to read musical notation
  • Low self-esteem
  • Decreased motivation

Common Symptoms of Irlen Syndrome

Irlen Syndrome can manifest in different ways for different people. However, some frequently reoccurring symptoms can include the following.

Light Sensitivity
  • Being more susceptible to distraction caused by glare, fluorescent and other bright lights, lights at night and sunlight.
  • The onset of physical symptoms, such as feeling tired, sleepy, anxious, dizzy, irritable and easily distracted. Some people with Irlen Syndrome experience headaches, mood changes, difficulty focusing, and general restlessness. This especially occurs when bright or fluorescent lights are present.

You can read more about the Irlen syndrome and its relation with light sensitivity here.


The following symptoms often manifest when Irlen Syndrome is present:

  • An overall sense of being tired and sleepy
  • Feeling of being strained
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fidgeting and general restless
  • Sore, watery eyes
Reading Problems

Irlen syndrome is always an impediment to reading comprehension. If your child is experiencing the following issues when reading, the condition may be present:

  • Words consistently misread
  • Reading being done in dim light
  • Problems tracking words from line to line
  • Words or whole lines being skipped
  • Slow and hesitant reading
  • To many breaks being taken between words or sentences
  • Frequent loss of place when reading
  • Reading being avoided all together
Attention and Concentration Problems

A sufficient level of concentration is integral to all areas of learning. Unfortunately, Irlen Syndrome can hinder concentration significantly. Often times, individuals with Irlen Syndrome can appear to have other conditions, such as attention deficit disorder, and given medication unnecessarily. This is why proper diagnosis is so important.

Depth Perception Difficulties

Irlen syndrome can have a noticeable effect on depth perception. It can manifest the following symptoms:

  • Clumsiness
  • Difficulty judging distances
  • Difficulty catching thrown balls
Writing Problems

As with reading, individuals with Irlen syndrome experience a number of writing difficulties. These include:

  • Difficulty copying
  • Unequal/uneven spacing
  • Unequal letter sizing
  • Writing up or downhill
  • Poor and inconsistent spelling

Individuals with Irlen syndrome may find that words on the page lack clarity and stability. They may appear blurry, in motion or blanked out.

Other Manifestations:
  • Strain or fatigue caused by computer use
  • Recurring math errors
  • Misaligned numbers in columns
  • Loss of motivation
  • Failure to use study time productively
  • Poor grades despite a high degree of effort

To discover how our compassionate staff can help your child with their Irlen Syndrome difficulties, be sure to call us today.



If your child is experiencing the following symptoms, they may have dyslexia: one of the most common language-based learning disabilities, estimated to effect 5 to 10 percent of the population. Though symptoms naturally vary from person to person, the general tell-signs are as follows.

  • • The child is bright and articulate, yet unable to read, write or spell at grade level.
  • • The child delivers well in IQ and verbal tests, but not written assessments
  • • The child is unfairly labelled lazy, dumb, careless, immature, "not trying hard enough", or exhibiting problem behaviours'.
  • • Despite learning difficulties, the child is deemed to be not "behind enough" or "bad enough" to be given additional help in a school setting.
  • • The child expresses feeling "dumb" and lacks self-esteem.
  • • The child employs compensatory strategies to excuse weaknesses.
  • • The child becomes easily frustrated and emotional about school reading or testing.
  • • The child demonstrates talent in artistic subjects.
  • • The child has difficulty paying attention and frequently zones out.
  • • The child is overly energetic.
  • • The child has difficulty sustaining attention; seems "hyper".
  • • The child achieves the best learning outcomes via tactile, hands-on experience, as well as experimentation and observation.
  • • The child responds well to visual aids.

How health, development, personality and behaviour is effected by dyslexia

Dyslexia is often connected with the following behavioural patterns. The child may:

  • Enjoy being the source of attention in the classroom, often via disorderly behaviour.
  • Be overly quiet and reluctant to answer questions.
  • Have been late to develop essential skills (walking, crawling, speaking, tying shoelaces, etc.)
  • Be prone to ear infections, as well as sensitive to foods, additives and chemical products.
  • Be a heavy or light sleeper.
  • Be a bed wetter beyond the typical age.
  • Have a strong sense of justice, emotionally sensitive, strives for perfection.
  • Demonstrate an unusually high or low tolerance for pain.
  • Expresses confusion when under time pressure.
  • Expresses more emotional distress and poor health in pressure situations.

Memory and Cognition

Many children who are dyslexic demonstrate great long-term memory skills (places, faces, experiences, etc) but poor sequence memory (facts and information that is not directly experienced). Internal dialogue is not pronounced, so sounds and words have less of an effect than images and feelings.

Reading Comprehension, Spelling and Vision Difficulties

Dyslexia could well be present if the child exhibits a combination of the following symptoms.

  • The child excessively repeats words.
  • The child adds unnecessary words, or omits essential ones in sentences.
  • Words are substituted incorrectly when the child writes, and letters are reversed or left out completely.
  • The child gets dizzy when reading.
  • The child complains of head or stomach aches when reading.
  • Though the child expresses vision problems, optometry reports detect no physical problems.
  • The child may be extremely observant.
  • The child may lack depth perception and peripheral vision.
  • The child spells phonetically and inconsistently.

Speech and Hearing

Dyslexia is not simply a condition that effects reading and writing. It has a keen effect on sequential learning. The following can manifest if dyslexia is present.

  • The child experiences math computation problems, depending on excessive counting strategies. They may be able to demonstrate answers verbally but not write them down.
  • The child might express difficulty counting, particularly money and objects.
  • The child may do well at arithmetic, but not more advanced math, such as algebra.
  • The child may have difficulty telling the time.
  • The child may experience significant problems.

Writing and Motor Skills

Dyslexia may be diagnosed if certain issues with writing and motor skills present themselves. These include:

  • Problems gripping the pencil
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Motion sickness
  • Illegible handwriting
  • Ambidextrousness

To discover how Bill Spooner's Coaching Academy can help your child with problems associated with dyslexia, be sure to contact us today.

1/195 Lyons Street , Cairns , QLD 4870