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Breaking Free from Sensory Perceptual Distortion

There is a constant interaction between the senses; visual, auditory, tactile, taste and smell. A dysfunction in one sense can affect the accurate interpretation of the other senses and an individual's ability to interact with the world around them.

The sensory experiences that are often experienced by those with autistic spectrum disorders and aspergers add to their differences of behaviour. The five senses which are usually talked about in isolation, will sometimes overlap and also be heightened (hyper) or depressed (hypo). Also these states of sensory information can change and be further confused by the static (white noise) perceived within these senses. This can make it difficult for autistic and non-autistic people to understand the enviromental situation of each other.

Often autistic behaviour is recognised by the individual's self stimulation (stimming) of sensory input, finger flapping, rocking, tapping, rotatating on the spot,etc. These behaviours may be self- discovered behaviour to cope with unwelcome stimulation through one or more of the senses.

Seventy percent of the information an individual receives comes in through the eyes and must be correctly interpreted by the brain. Any problem in the way the brain processes information can cause difficulties in the general ability to function. By the correct diagnosis and prescription of Irlen Lenses one of the senses ie. sight is given some respite from stress, thus allowing the other senses to cope better. There are many reports of Irlen wearers being more able to listen. It is not that the hearing has improved, but that they are better able to process through the sense of hearing because the sense of sight is taking less energy.

Results indicate that some individuals suffering from sensory perceptual distortions and overload can be helped by Irlen Filters.

Types of Problems

The types of sensory perceptual deficits associated with Autism and Aspergers are unique.

These environmental distortions are varied, unpredictable and constantly changing.

For example, parts of the environment may disappear or people may be seen in pieces.

As a result those with Autism / Aspergers may experience the following:

  • Alienation
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor social skills
  • Low self esteem
  • System overload
  • Poor body awareness
  • Faulty information


The Irlen Method uses a patented treatment utilising coloured filters worn as glasses to reduce or eliminate perceptual difficulties.
The colour appears to change the rate at which information is processed by the brain and allows the brain to:

  • Correctly match up information
  • Sort the information
  • Process information

Changes can result in improved;

  • Integration of senses
  • Perception
  • Ability to respond
  • Body awareness
  • Spatial awareness
  • Eye contact
  • Communication
  • Self-control

For more information, please refer to,‘Reading by the Colors’ by Helen Irlen, and Sensory Perceptual Issues in Autism and Asperger Syndrome by Olga Bogdashina.

Do you or your child..

  • Rub surfaces
  • Have difficulty with escalators
  • Have trouble with or fear of stairs
  • Have difficulty with catching balls
  • Have sensitivity to bright lights
  • Squint/ close one eye in bright lights
  • Play with colour/ contrast on the TV
  • Alter behaviour in fluorescent light
  • Periodically blink
  • Look at things in short glances
  • Rub or put pressure on eyes
  • Look away from visual target (sideways looking)
  • Appear startled when approached

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this may indicate that you or your child may be helped by the Irlen Method and Irlen coloured filters. Please contact us at Irlen East for assistance.

“I had always known that the world was fragmented. My mother was a smell and a texture, my father a tone, and my older brother was something which was moved about.
Nothing was whole except the colours and sparkles in the air. The lack of integration of my senses became the lack of integration of my emotions with my body and my mind. These (Irlen) glasses would have changed all that. Faces and body parts and voices would have been whole and understood within the context of equally conjoined surroundings.”
Donna Williams

At Irlen most of the screeners and all of the diagnosticians have additional experience and qualifications in specific aspects of special educational needs, including verbal and non-verbal adults and young children with autistic spectrum disorders.

If the client is likely to be unsettled in unfamiliar surroundings then arrangements can be made to carry out assessments in their own environment.

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© Irlen East 2017