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Thread: Beneficial effects of coloured overlays in children with TS

  1. #1
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    Post Beneficial effects of coloured overlays in children with TS

    Beneficial effects of coloured overlays in children with TS
    Posted on 1 June 2013 by Laura Mottram'
    Tourettes Action Website

    Researchers based at the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham and the University of Essex found beneficial effects in reading when children with Tourette Syndrome used coloured overlays. Read the full report.

    Researchers based at the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham and the University of Essex found beneficial effects in reading when children with Tourette Syndrome (TS) used coloured overlays (sheets of coloured plastic designed to be placed over text when reading). Placing a coloured overlay on top of a page whilst reading has proven beneficial in reducing the symptoms of ‘visual stress’ (such as distortions in text and eye strain) and increased reading speed.

    Dr Amanda Ludlow and Professor Arnold Wilkins found over 90 per cent of children with TS in their study read more than 5 per cent faster with a coloured overlay. This is a higher proportion than the 80 per cent that has been found within the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) literature. We should be restrained about the results as it was a small group of 12 children who participated in this research and caution is necessary in generalizing the results to other children with both an ASD and a TS diagnosis. In some cases the improvement with the overlay was particularly striking with children with TS reading up to 56 per cent faster with an overlay than without. However given the proportion of children from the TS group found to read faster with an overlay, the results of this study offers an exciting avenue to explore in terms of helping children with TS and their reading.

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    Default Re: Beneficial effects of coloured overlays in children with TS

    This is really fascinating because I have some habits that I have gotten into that make it easier for me to process things that I am reading.

    For scientific papers I have a set of colored sharpie markers that I use to underline different parts of the paper by what sort of information that it contains. Main ideas, supporting information, names of objects (like anatomy), conflicting information, etc...

    Also I often take comments that I am responding to elsewhere on the internet and modify them in Microsoft Word by breaking apart walls of text into paragraphs, or arguments and support, and sometimes add color coding as well.

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    Default Re: Beneficial effects of coloured overlays in children with TS

    I thought I would mention to anyone considering overlays that there are some free software options out there for the computer. I'm trying this one out right now.

    Edited to remove the link. There are software options out there. But this one had something in it that my antivirus did not like :P

    ---------- Post Merged at 04:47 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 03:12 PM ----------

    Ok, I found a free one that is not crazy with the malware and other things.

    Tinted Window | Free software downloads at SourceForge.net

    It's not very user friendly but it get's the job done (It won't let you interact through it and changing the size if a bit complicated). There are also professional overlay programs on the market though.

    The green one really seems to work well with me. I think I'll order some physical ones as well.
    Last edited by Flutterguy; June 14, 2014 at 04:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Beneficial effects of coloured overlays in children with TS

    I don't know which one helps me read faster, as that's not really a problem for me, but when I used the yellow overlay, kablam, my reading got much slower and more difficult. It's amazing how obvious it is that this matters. I keep yellow out of my life as much as possible now.

    (My mother is a life-long special educator, starting with learning disabilities, so this was something she used in her clinic all the time.)
    Darin M. Bush, The Tourette Tiger, author of "Tiger Trails"
    http://www.facebook.com/tourettetiger

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    Default Re: Beneficial effects of coloured overlays in children with TS

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourettetiger
    I keep yellow out of my life as much as possible now.
    Yeah, but what about the yellow / orange tiger??...

    5219859-344820-funny-tiger-cartoon.jpg

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    Default Re: Beneficial effects of coloured overlays in children with TS

    ...when I used the yellow overlay, kablam, my reading got much slower and more difficult.
    Try the opposite (compliment color) of yellow (purple).

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    Post Visual Stress and Tourette Syndrome?

    Facing up to visual stress
    Optometry Today
    January 6, 2015

    Understanding the impact of visual stress, and the role colorimetry can play to ameliorate the condition, was explored by the Institute of Optometry. Optometrist Michelle Barry reports

    Optometrists, teachers, dispensing opticians and orthoptists alike gathered for a rare opportunity to learn more about the world of Visual stress and colorimetry in vision and education at a one-day event at London’s Institute of Optometry on November 7. For optometrists present, there was the added bonus of gaining six interactive CET points.

    Specific learning difficulties
    Speaking at the event about the three most common specific learning difficulties (SpLDs) – dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD – was Ian Abbott, from the Swindon Education Authority. During his talk, Mr Abbott explained that the ability to accurately and fluently read and spell words consists of three components: phonological awareness (sounding out what words are), verbal memory (remembering the start of a word or phrase) and verbal processing speed (time required to put it all together). He also explained that people with SpLDs are more susceptible to Mearles-Irlen Syndrome (visual stress), which often goes undetected or untreated, compounding their difficulties.

    Visual stress
    The University of Essex’s Professor Arnold Wilkins took to the stage, using an analysis of the Fourier-spectrum to demonstrate that sufferers of visual stress have an abnormally large haemodynamic response in their visual cortex when viewing particular images or patterns. This hyper-sensitivity is particularly prevalent when viewing patterns less common in nature, he said, referencing stripes as an example, specifically those at a mid-spatial frequency, such as text.

    To make matters worse, stripes appear in letters themselves, and are particularly problematic with certain fonts, Professor Wilkins explained.

    He went on to show delegates how “coloured filters reported as increasing visual comfort normalise the abnormal haemodynamic response.” Impressively, he cited many controlled studies which have demonstrated that coloured filters can help not just one in three people with dyslexia, but also some people with autistic spectrum disorder, migraines, photosensitive epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome (ME), Parkinson’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome.

    In a lively, entertaining and informative lecture OT’s clinical editor, Dr Ian Beasley, described his doctorate research on visual stress in stroke. The optometrist discussed how he had observed symptoms of visual stress in patients after stroke and how coloured overlays and precision tinted lenses had alleviated many of these symptoms.

    Colorimetry masterclass
    Having convinced many delegates of the merits of a colorimeter, practitioners were given a masterclass from Professor Wilkins, who explained that first the user must set the hue (colour), saturation (amount of tint) and then the attenuation (brightness). Thanks to the complicated CIE model of colour, the colorimeter does the rest, choosing from thousands of colour combinations to precisely tint for the individual.

    It is worth noting that when using the colorimeter, the operator can add a UV-blocker, and impressively it is also possible to precision-tint contact lenses (PTLs).

    On hand from the International Institute of Colorimetry was Christine Fitzmaurice who spoke to delegates about the limited public funding for PTLs, which are currently only available for students in higher education. She stressed the need for this to be extended.

    Colorimetry in practice
    Independent optometrist Graham Wingate was eager to share his experiences using a colorimeter, including that of a mother who cried with joy at the improvement PTLs gave her son.

    Other visual factors relating to reading difficulties were highlighted by Professor Bruce Evans, director of research at the Institute of Optometry. The evidence Professor Evans presented indicated that binocular instability is prevalent in 15% of dyslexics, compared to 5% in good readers. He added that accommodative insufficiency is also more prevalent in people with reading difficulties.

    While a good refraction can go a long way, Professor Evans highlighted the importance of a specialist binocular vision work-up – including Mallett-Unit, flippers and prism-bars – which is often overlooked.

    Later academic Rupal Lovell Patel informed delegates how she overcame many cynics in the field, and stressed the importance of sending reports to patients, teachers, and ophthalmologists. All of this information was brought together in a really useful participatory case study session led by Nina Marcus, an optometrist at the Institute of Optometry for over 10 years.

    Having attended this seminar, I am now convinced that when providing truly personalised eyecare, colorimetry should not be overlooked.

    About the author
    Michelle Barry works as an optometrist at the Institute of Optometry and Robert Linsky Optometrists.

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    Default Re: Beneficial effects of coloured overlays in children with TS

    I may have to see if these services are available in Austin (I see products on the internet but an eye exam is required). I have played with the colored overlays but I'm not sure which ones might be better for me. Perhaps by this point I'm habituated? It would still be worth an appointment.

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    Default Re: Beneficial effects of coloured overlays in children with TS

    Interestingly there seems to be more interest in this in the U.K. than in North America.

    If you learn more about benefits / disadvantages please share.

    Have you had previous experience with colored overlays?

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    Default Re: Beneficial effects of coloured overlays in children with TS

    @Steve
    If I do anything I will say so here.

    Have you had previous experience with colored overlays?
    I have used the software that I linked to above on my computer, but nothing like a careful extended test. It's mostly been changing colors and intensities for an afternoon but I can't say I have seen any patterns.

    I have a lot I am tempted to say about globally altering an element of sensory processing input but I think that might be one of those things that are too speculative. Hopefully I will find a place here in Austin. I may also try to look up the details that led to places on the net like this and design a good test. However just searching for colorimetry in pubmed gives a lot of links with a technical bias because colorimetry is used to reference A LOT of experimental techniques in a wide variety of disciplines. I'll need to figure out how to tweak my searching.

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