Visual distortions and Irlen Syndrome / Scotopic Sensitivity

This series of short films shows an extended conversation  between Phoebe Caldwell (DSc, Expert Responsive Communication Practitioner who has worked with autistic people for 45 years) and Janet Gurney (BA, PGCT, Director of Training for Us in a Bus, a service based in Surrey that supports adults and children with profound and multiple learning difficulties and autism).

  • Behavioural judgements and strategies are based on our own sensory experience, not that of the person with autism.
  • For many autistic people, their visual experience is scrambled through faulty processing (Irlen Syndrome) triggered by bright light, certain colours or patterns. Wear dull-coloured, plain clothing.
  • Irlen Syndrome / scotopic sensitivity does not show up in ordinary eye tests.
  • Many individuals with Irlen Syndrome are helped by coloured light or tinted lenses – each person will require their own, prescription lenses.
  • Scans show chaotic sensory activity in the brain, which is corrected by using the right colour.
  • It is essential to be tested by a trained professional who is also good with people with autism. To find out the nearest suitably experienced Irlen practitioner to you, please contact“.
  • Addressing confusion in one sensory mode can improve processing in another.