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Coloured overlays

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by Lucy2711, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 Occasional commenter

    Have just been told that my niece has been given a coloured overlay by her 6th form college 'because of her dyslexia'. She's in Y12; just got 9x GCSEs at grades 9-7 (A*-A in old money) and has weak spelling (not abysmal, just seems a bit weak). Do you think this is just intended as a confidence booster? I'm not aware that she's been tested, certainly not by an optician. To give a student a label in this way seems a bit over the top. She's enjoying A levels (sciences) so no issues there.
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  2. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    The latest advice given is that when anyone is experiencing visual difficulties, we should

    “refer clients to any optometrist offering comprehensive assessment and management of problems involving binocular vision (accommodation and convergence) disorders, and visual stress, in addition to the standard sight-test comprising refraction and ocular health assessment.”

    There is now some question marks over the use of coloured overlays but the general feeling is that if someone has found them useful, they should be able to carry on using them for reading and in exams.

    Some dyslexia assessors have undertaken training on how to test for visual stress and there is a lot of confusion about what the new guidance means to them.

    If your niece has not had a full diagnostic assessment, the college should not be referring to dyslexia just because she has been given a coloured overlay. She should follow the quoted advice above if possible.

    As for her GCSE results, dyslexia affects people of all academic abilities. An assessment would consider not only test scores but would also look at her background information to create a fuller picture of what is going on. She does need to rule out any possible visual difficulties first though.
    suzyshepster likes this.
  3. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Even if your niece has dyslexia or the college has simply assumed it, insultingly, because of her spelling then it is unlikely that a coloured overlay will assist her reading or writing. I would encourage such a high performer as your niece to avoid this paternalistic labelling. It sounds like she is a hard worker and knows how to succeed. Good luck to her.
  4. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    It depends what difficulties she is having.

    For example, if reading for research is a problem, having a label at university ( if she is going there) will allow her reasonable adjustments such as extra time in exams to give her more time for reading the exam questions.

    It’s hard to comment without knowing what the exact difficulties are.

    I assessed a person who had a First from Oxford.

    He was consistently running out of time in his professional accountancy exams.

    His background information revealed that he had only just scrapped a First after working incredibly hard and his subject did not require him to read and process
    lengthy passages of text under time constraints on a regular basis . He only hit that problem during his professional exams.

    Basically labels are usually required to get reasonable adjustments and that is the case with all disabilities. It also depends if someone feels it helps to have and use a label and whether they wish to disclose their impairment.

    For example, I have a friend who has life long hearing/ ear difficulties but who choses not to label themselves as being hearing impaired and has not formally disclosed this to his employer. However, if someone is profoundly deaf, they basically have to use a label as disclosure of their disability is not optional.

    I also think specific learning difficulties and disabilities such as autism in the workplace can sometimes lead to people having difficulties and disclosure gives them so protection via the 2010 Equality Act. There still remains a lot of misunderstanding in the workplace about how these difficulties can impact on a person. It can lead to performance management problems and I have even witnessed it leading to disciplinary action which was extremely stressful for the person involved ( to put it lightly)

    I do think there is no right or wrong about using a label but it really depends on an individual and their own particular circumstances.
    Lucy2711 likes this.
  5. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    She may have dyslexic tendencies -it’s common.Weak spelling - it happens . Developed coping strategies - possibly. Hindered her progress / achievement- obviously not ! Well done her !

    Will the overlay help ? Who knows ? Are they going to assess it’s effectiveness as a support mechanism ? When / how ? How does the student feel ? These are some of questions I would be asking .... and would look forward to their responses ;) This ‘label ‘ sounds totally random !
    Wotton and Lucy2711 like this.
  6. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 Occasional commenter

    Thanks all. This has given me plenty to think about and is really helpful. Clearly I need to find out some more information although I'll tread carefully. She's not confident at the best of times and Y12 has started well.
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  7. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    Agree with minnie me. I'm a poor speller but would never class myself as dyslexic.
    Kateray1 likes this.
  8. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    the only question that matters is does she find them helpful?
    suzyshepster likes this.
  9. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 Occasional commenter

    Yes, as long as she thinks they help (which is what I need to find out) that's all that matters. Presumably there could be a placebo effect with overlays.
  10. grasshopper2000

    grasshopper2000 Occasional commenter

    Coloured overlays are for visual stress not dyalexia although they often go hand in hand. It needs to be the right colour for the person. It is not a problem with the eyes but a problem with the way the brain processes what it sees. The overlays stop the words looking like they are moving. Some opticians are trained to test for visual stress but they can't assess dyslexia. That has to be an EP or specialist teacher/assessor.
  11. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    no, it really doesn't that is just a lie fabricated by the manufacturers of such overlays, who charge ten times more for providing the exact hue prescribed than you pay for just picking up a coloured plastic wallet in WHSmith
    Flanks likes this.
  12. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    My county has a visual stress clinic who still prescribe colour overlays and the reports I receive from them measure the difference in effect of varying colours so they clearly feel they are of benefit. There does seem to be a slight correlation ( in primary school children) betwen overlay prescribed and favourite colour!
    Flanks likes this.
  13. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    you can get the exact same benefit from the right pair of sunglasses, or turning down the contrast on a computer
    Flanks likes this.

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