Future looks brighter for pupil with rare syndrome

A special pair of glasses has opened up a whole new world for a Weaverham Primary Academy pupil with a rare illness.

Laura Dawson has Irlen Syndrome – a condition that affects how her brain processes the things that she sees.

Visual distortions are one of many symptoms the 10-year-old has to cope with, and they can cause her to bump into things and fall over.

Now a successful fundraising drive has enabled Laura’s family to purchase glasses with special lenses, and they have made a huge difference.

Mum Kat Dawson said: “Irlen is a brain disorder which makes things look wavy to Laura. Previously, she would walk around the house holding onto things and she was always falling over during play times.

“But when she puts her new glasses on everything stays still. The first time she tried them, she was bouncing around the house and she’s never been like that before!

“Then she sat at her desk for an hour drawing, and her pictures were amazing. She couldn’t be happier right now.

“She has never walked into school on her own before, but the first day she had the glasses she asked me to drop her off down the road. Now she’s asking if she can walk home on her own.”

There is no cure for Irlen Syndrome, which can also cause discomfort, migraines, and problems with reading and writing.

After learning the £400 glasses were not available on the NHS, Laura turned to the local community for help and the response to a school fair and an online appeal was huge.

The target for one pair of the glasses, made in California, was easily surpassed and an extra £300 has gone to help another child in the same situation.

However, the future remains uncertain for Laura because she will need new Irlen glasses the next time her eye prescription changes, which could be as soon as in 12 months time.

To help, an online petition has been created which calls on the NHS to fund eye tests and special glasses for people with Irlen Syndrome.

Kat added: “We have 600 signatures and we want to get to 1,000. Once we have the numbers our local councillor Gillian Edwards will help us get it to Downing Street.

“It is not just about getting Irlen’s funded, we want to raise awareness.

“So many schools have never heard of it, and a lot of children get mis-diagnosed as dyslexic because the symptoms are similar.”

Weaverham Primary Academy is part of North West Academies Trust. One of the highest performing trusts in the country, it is dedicataed to giving children the best possible education, and outcomes in life.

The petition can be signed at: https://www.change.org/p/nhs-irlen-syndrome-made-free-on-nhs

For more information about Irlen Syndrome, visit: https://www.irlensyndrome.org/

For more information about Weaverham Primary Academy, email: admin@weaverhamacademy.org.uk  or tel: 01606 852148.