Episode 42 | December 13, 2016

Live Brighter and Better Through the Science of Color: Dr. Helen L. Irlen

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Mission #42

On Board: Dr. Helen L. Irlen
Mission: Live Brighter and Better Through the Science of Color

The Co-Pilot:

Dr. Helen L. Irlen is a global leader in the area of visual processing. She’s the founder of the Irlen Method, which emphasizes the importance of color in everyday function for many people. Through years of research, she has discovered that colored glasses or filters can make an incredible difference in how people’s brains function.

Fortunately, Helen has been generous with sharing her research and knowledge. There are close to two hundred affiliated Irlen centers worldwide in 45 countries. In addition, Helen has written several books, including most notably The Irlen Revolution: A Guide to Changing Your Perception and Your Life.

Connect With Helen:

The Irlen Institute @SeeIrlen on Twitter

The Mission Log:

  • [05:12] – Helen talks about herself and her mission in the world. To give us some insight into who she is, she tells us a few stories about her life.
  • [08:43] – Why was Helen interested in the psych ward, and what was the driving force that motivated her to pursue her research?
  • [11:29] – Helen goes into more detail about what the Irlen Syndrome is. She also describes the experience of working one-on-one with adults.
  • [17:06] – How do you become a good listener? Helen says to avoid imposing your own issues on someone else, so you’re a blank slate and can really hear what people are saying.
  • [18:51] – The Irlen Syndrome is a visual processing deficit that you can inherit or acquire (or both). It leads to difficulties in areas such as reading, academic skills, attention and concentration, depth perception, and more.
  • [19:34] – The symptoms of Irlen Syndrome can vary, Helen explains. She also talks about the percents of people who have the syndrome. We hear about how flourescent light can be an issue for many people.
  • [23:36] – Orion volunteers to be Helen’s guinea pig, which allows listeners to hear several minutes of Helen’s questioning process for beginning to assess whether someone might have Irlen Syndrome.
  • [28:15] – Helen describes the issues that can be triggered for certain people by sunlight, bright lights, fluorescent lights, and so on.
  • [29:50] – How does Helen help the people who come to her? She suggests starting with the tests on her website.
  • [32:20] – Helen talks about what colored filters and lenses can do to help our brains.
  • [34:01] – We hear about how Helen’s research and methods can help people who have been in the military with various problems and symptoms. She also discusses its uses for people on the autism spectrum, as well as high-functioning professional adults who want peak performance.
  • [39:21] – Helen speaks emotionally about the impact that her method has had on veterans and marines.
  • [42:07] – Helen offers two funny stories of the effects that Irlen filters have had on users.
  • [43:18] – You can inherit Irlen Syndrome, which doesn’t always show up in childhood and may present in college or later.
  • [47:02] – What would Helen like her legacy to be? In her answer, she explains why she isn’t interested in retiring: because she can’t think of anything more rewarding than what she’s already doing every day.
  • [50:29] – Helen shares her three top tips for living a stellar life: 1. Understand that your brain is uniquely different from anyone else’s brain. 2. Don’t buy into what other people have said to you about yourself. 3. Give yourself a hug everyday and tell yourself how wonderful you are.

Your Pre-Flight Checklist:

  1. Practice becoming a better listener. Do your best to set your own issues and thoughts aside to become a blank slate and listen to what the person you’re talking to is actually saying.
  2. Think about how you feel after you’ve been focused on reading for a while. If you experience physical symptoms, you may fall on the Irlen Syndrome continuum.
  3. Take the “Long Self-Test for Irlen Syndrome.” This test will help you determine whether you’re one of the many people unknowingly suffering from Irlen Syndrome.

Links and Resources:

The Irlen Institute @SeeIrlen on Twitter
The Irlen Revolution: A Guide to Changing Your Perception and Your Life
Irlen Syndrome
Irlen Self Tests

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