Dealing With a Child or Teen Who Won't Wear Their Spectral Filters?
Here's some great ideas from Susan Hughes, M.Ed., Irlen Diagnostician, Irlen Visions of Chico:
Does your child forget or lose his/her Spectral filters?
Is your teen self conscious?
While most children wear the filters easily and with pride , there are still some who have more trouble with the idea, or forget and lose them
I became more aware of the need for help when my 7 year old grandson, Diego, began wearing the filters. At first, several times a week after school, we looked for lost glasses. Once he lost them totally and I had to buy new ones. I had them adjusted by the eye doctor 3 or 4 times in the first few weeks. After 3 months I had had enough.
Within a few weeks of trying some of the following ideas, Diego was wearing them all the time and the improvements in his behavior and schoolwork were much greater.
Ideas that help
Make sure the filters correctly fit the face of the student and he/she feels comfortable and attractive in them.
Buy the book 'Jamie and the Magic Glasses' from http://www.irlen.com/ and give it to the teacher to read to the class. Not only does the child feel really special and supported by this, but the teacher also is made aware of the importance of the Irlen spectral filters and shares the book with other parents.
Have the student come for their free recheck within the first few months. About 5-10% do need a color adjustment. The spectral filters are a little dark or not quite comfortable.
Also during that visit I will talk to them and encourage them again. Often that is all it takes.
On your face or in the Case' Teach clients this maxim, and then write their full name and phone number on a label and put inside the case/
Some students prefer plastic frames without nose pads. They cannot handle the feel of nose pads. Some do not mind them.
Very sensory sensitive students might practice wearing frames without lenses for a week before coming for tinting, so they can handle the feel on their face. (This helps children with autism)
Take five minutes in the first few weeks of wearing to stop at the opticians and have them adjust the frames (Usually for free). Some students need this several times in the beginning.
William a 3rd grader had severe sensitivity problems and removed them constantly. His teacher gave him points towards the goodie box for not touching his glasses for 1 hour, then 2 hours, and by the end of the week he was wearing them all the time .
Young children need help on the habit of wearing filters. Keeping the case in the backpack at night so they make it to school. "Do you have your glasses?" becomes the parent mantra for the first few weeks. On your face or in the case.
A small shelf near the bed to put the filters at night. A special place in the classroom. The child need to be in the habit of always putting them in the same place.
14-year-old Cody would not wear his spectral filters, until one day while having a melt down over homework, his mother suggested he try them. He did, and finished his homework in 20 minutes. He now wears them all the time and made the honor role for the first time.
As a teacher, my school released me to test students one afternoon a week. At first I planned a visit each class for 15 minutes. I gave mini presentations about the spectral filters and showed a movie about an Olympic gold medallist who wore them. This increased awareness by the students so they supported students wearing spectral filters, and also led to many identifying themselves.
I also formed a school club called ‘ The Smart Color Kids' for filter wearers. We met two or three times a year at lunchtime.
We brainstormed all the good things about our filters and any problems. We shared ideas to help. We supported each other across the schoolyard and were proud of how much the filters helped. We noticed how different our colors were.
Encourage teens to have a positive attitude about their spectral filters.
Diego was nervous when he first wore them to school, but came home after a few days saying that several other students wanted filters like his.
If teachers, parents or other significant adults use overlays or wear filters too, it encourages students considerably. One teen girl began wearing her spectral filters because of a special teacher who encouraged her.
Have the teacher talk positively about the glasses to the class . If the teacher is supportive the students will follow along.
Rewarding for a short while, helps. After a week Diego was wearing them all the time.
After having his elderly mother-in-law lose glasses everywhere she went. Peter Jones had the idea that if people found the glasses and knew where to send them they would return them to their owners.
So he came up with a company called 'Eyeglass Rescue' that will make you a shrink-wrapped identification label to attach to the eyeglass arm. Most people will return lost eyeglasses if they know where. They have had 4000 pairs of glasses reunited with their owners since doing this. Find them at www.eyeglassrescue.com
Also I always have clients put their name and address on a label inside their filters case. If the filters are on their face or in the case ,and the case is left and forgotten, the phone number will help the finder get them back to the right home.
Marbles in the jar. (beans or buttons can replace marbles) a full jar of 150 marbles means a special trip. Five marbles for wearing filters each day even for recess. One marble each time the filters are put on by the child in the morning without reminders.One marble for putting them in the case in the backpack at night. By the time the jar is full in a few weeks the filters habit is there.
Filters survive running and recess much better than being taken on and off all day long. Encourage child to wear them all day even at home.
Three bonus marbles for ignoring an unkind comment. Most students think the spectral filters are great. but there always is an unhappy child who teases . Teach the child to ignore.
A weekly trip with grandma to a local cafe for a treat for each week spectral filters are worn all day, every day. This helped my grandchild, Jemma, who didn't get her headaches until after lunch, so forgot the filters in the morning.
For a week or two drop into classrooms during recess period, and put a bright pencil next to a student and say, " Caught you wearing your filters", or "Caught you using your overlays".
Give a teen a wallet sized card with 12 circles similar to those for coffee and haircuts. The teacher initials each day filters are worn. When the card is full they are redeemable for a coupon or a treat.
Yippee Zippee box. This has been very successful in our house for many other things as well. Thanks to counselor Elizabeth Brent for the idea.
The parent and child generate a list of eight to ten things the student would like, and the parent can approve. Make them age appropriate. They can be anything.
A big hug, you will do one of their chores that day, you will read them a story, play a game with them, make popcorn, hot chocolate, one hour at the mall, bake cookies, have a favorite dinner.
Make about 4 copies of each on small pieces of paper and drop them into the Yippee Zippee box. Shake them up.
Every time the student wears his/her spectral filters all day they pull one out. You have 24 hours to honor the pull.
Do it for a month and then reevaluate.
By then the student loves the glasses and it is not needed any more.
When they can't be worn all the time
Although it is best for children to wear them all the time, as it settles and calms the brain, sometimes for special reasons this does not work . You will still see improvements if they wear them for reading, homework, and other class work.
With the Juvenile project in which I am involved, the teachers hold the filters for teenage students and make sure they wear them in class. If they wear them and show responsibility for them, after three months they can take them home and wear them all the time.
When my grandson moved to Texas I sent him a second pair.
One pair stays in the classroom and one pair is at home for homework.
These are just some ideas. Have you had successes with this problem?
Let me know and I will add them to the list. All good ideas welcome.