In the YouTube video (part 4) in my post “Don’t Call me Stupid” the UK actress Kara Tointon went to visit an optometrist, Mr. Burnett-Hodd, in London. He prescribed spectacles with colored lenses for Kara that eliminated what looked like clouds moving across the printed page that affected her reading. Like a big kid, I was jumping up and down and telling my kids that this was my optometrist when I lived in London and that I had sat in the very same chair as Kara having my eyes tested. That didn’t seem to impress them too much but what impressed me was that Mr. Burnett-Hodd’s path and my path would cross again with our interest in dyslexia. Of course, with me being located on the East Coast of the United States for a number of years there has been little chance for us to discover that dyslexia was of mutual interest. But I have discovered that Mr. Burnett-Hodd is a specialist in prescribing the use of color tinted spectacle lenses or contact lenses for people with visual stress.
Now, I was intrigued. Did either of my children experience this visual stress? The inkling I did have that the printed page was seen as distorted by people with dyslexia, I considered myth. In all the years I have talked to people about dyslexia, this has not been mentioned.
I couldn’t wait for the documentary to end, to question my children about this. To my surprise, I discovered that my dyslexic son, George, had used colored overlays for reading at school only last year. He said that the color overlay helped his reading because it stopped him seeing cracks on the page. His specialist reading teacher had given him the overlay but he’d only used it for a couple of weeks. She had left on maternity leave and he hadn’t used the overlay since. She has not returned to the school. Stephanie, I think that was her name, come back! If you read this blog Stephanie, get in touch!
So now this is something I will investigate myself. Cracks on the page seem like a symptom of visual stress. Skipping words, which George does when reading, can be a sign of visual stress.
I’ve been on the phone to Mr. Burnett-Hodd. I want to see him myself. But now he will be seeing George too. We will be traveling to London July 2011, more about this in a later blog post, so I have booked a “dyslexia” appointment with Mr. Burnett-Hodd for George. Whatever we find out will, of course, be written about here.
I’ve been doing a little bit of research too. Mr. Burnett-Hodd will be using a machine called the Intuitive Colorimeter – sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie – that helps select the right color lenses that improve reading. Maybe my son will end up with yellow or blue or pink-tinted spectacles! It seems that a guy named Arnold Wilkins is behind this idea of color overlays as the solution for visual stress. He’s in the UK and not surprisingly, after a little surfing the web, lots of UK results popped up about dyslexia, visual stress and colored lenses. So, off to London we go. Anyway, whatever transpires from this investigation, we’ll get to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace!