Remember this one?* – Reading by the Colors

This post could write itself. Wait, no, not what I meant. I meant, I could write this with my eyes closed. Wait, also not what I meant, except, actually, I could, because I learned to “touch type” … cuz, yes, I’m old… and if you don’t know what that is… here, I’ll show you (via Wikipedia). What that means is… I learned (and still type) by putting my fingers on the ASDF JKL; keys… and everything goes from there. So, quite literally, I can type with my eyes closed. But also, as I mentioned, it is not what I meant. What I meant was/is… I know so much about this subject that I could type the entire thing without opening the book. There. Finally.

Reading by the Colors by Helen Irlen is fascinating! Let me tell you when I learned about it…

Back in the 1990s, I worked at a California Community College, in the Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS). This was the first job that gave me the feels. Also, it felt like an actual career. Before that, I had been in boring ol’ banking.

This… wow, this… was completely different and utterly amazing! It warmed my heart to know I was actually helping someone who needed it. It also helped that I could use what I was learning to assist my son, who was born with disabilities. And finally, while in the program, I also tested as someone who (not surprisingly) had learning disabilities. I say “not surprising” because I had always struggled – sometimes severely – in school. To be honest, I got mostly B’s in high school, skimming along on my charming -ha! annoying – talent of talking my way through anything and my innate ability to craft a good essay answer. Da mafs, as I affectionately call (ugh) Math (ugh) was my very worst, awful-ist subject.

You may be thinking back to my banking career at this point. Well, yes. I know. But listen to this. If it had to do with $$… somehow, I did okay. Go figure. (And yes, you may be wondering back to earlier posts [here’s one of them] I’ve written on my attempts at budgeting and all-things $$… again, yes. I know.)


Okay, let me begin at the beginning. Helen Irlin is wicked smart. She figured out that some people have what she called Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome and because of it, have reading troubles. I say “troubles” but it’s so much more than that. And yes, it includes Dyslexia.

Simply put (my words) it is this: Some people read better when not using black words on white background. Seriously, it *is* that simple.

Irlen founded the Irlen Institute and I encourage you to read all about it. But what would be super helpful for you to understand what I’m talking about is to take the self-test, available online.

And, get this book. It is a guidebook and map to everything “Irlen” and also has some colored pages… understanding that this all came about long before the internet and online tests. It was originally published in 1991, so you can see why my copy looks pretty banged-up.

Please let me know if you take the test and your thoughts. This could be life-changing for you or your children who struggle with reading.

PS: I only opened the book once while I was writing. I feel so passionately about it… I can’t imagine why it took so long for me to write about it! lol

*Originally written by me for this blog on November 23, 2018

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