Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome.

Coloured acetates

Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome is sometimes called Irlen Syndrome after Helen Irlen.

In the early 1980's Helen Irlen discovered that some people with poor reading showed a marked and immediate improvement by simply overlaying the pages with coloured plastic (e.g. acetate sheets).

Research suggests that 20% of the population could improve their reading by using different colours, for example, black text on a yellow background.

Can coloured backgrounds help?

Yellow background

Although colour can help many dyslexic and non-dyslexic people, it does not help all dyslexics. Different individuals prefer different colours which can change overtime.

Computer Screen Reading

For those people who experience difficulties with colour sensitivity it is possible to adjust the colour settings on a computer screen to meet individual need.

Why not try it out for yourself by following these simple steps:

1. Select the 'Start' button which is located at the bottom left-hand side of the screen.

2. When the menu appears select 'Settings' then 'Control Panel and click the 'Display Properties' icon.

3. The next stage is to select the 'Appearance' tab and then the 'Advanced' button as indicated by the red outlines.

4. You should now be in 'Advanced Appearance.

5. Click the in area where you can see the words 'Window Text'. This activates the 'Window Text' item.

6. Just to the right hand side of the 'Window Text' item you will see an option to choose a different 'Colour'.

7. Select the drop down menu and choose a colour that best suits your needs. Finally, select 'Okay' then 'Apply' and 'Okay' when the previous display box appears until you return to the 'Control Panel'. Select 'File' and 'Close' to return to the desktop.


Readable software

It is also possible to use a dedicated program that will manage the colour settings of our desktop and applications through one easy-to-use window.

ReadAble saves multiple profiles allowing different colour settings for different activities and/or users.

ReadAble changes all Windows colours including the Window background colour, default text colour, the menu background and text colour and the toolbars. It can also override web page background and font colours.

To find out more about ReadAble visit the Keytools web site.

Paper Based Reading

'Eye Level Reading Rulers', are 1cm strips of soft colour overlays that help to reduce glare, improve focus and can help to highlight individual sentences when reading paper based texts. They are available in blue, yellow and rose and cost approximately £9.00.

For more information contact Scottish Learning Products: Tel: 01738 553077 or E-mail: Scottish Learning Products

What is Irlen Sensitivity?


BrightStar Dyslexia Programme