New centre in Muscat raises awareness on Irlen Syndrome

Muscat - 

The White Hands Center for Assistive Technology and Rehabilitation, which offers specialised rehabilitation for people with disabilities in Muscat, is making efforts to spread awareness about the little-known Irlen Syndrome, a perceptual dysfunction that is related to the brain.

Those affected by the syndrome may suffer from light sensitivity and also find it difficult to read printed text.

As part of its awareness drive, the centre on Friday conducted a free screening for the syndrome at Muscat City Centre. Over 100 people got themselves checked and 35 tested positive for the syndrome.  “Our aim is to make people in Oman more aware about this syndrome,” said Aisha Baabood, executive director of White Hands Center for Assistive Technology and Rehabilitation, which opened in March this year. "It was about time that we had something here in Oman,” said Aisha. After spending time in Europe trying to treat her son for various disabilities, she decided to open a centre in Oman that specialised in treating this syndrome, among other disabilities.

Rehabilitaion--Irlen-Syndro

Treatment for Irlene Syndrome involves the use of special coloured glasses or coloured transparent paper placed over printed text.

Every affected person has a colour with which he/she perceives things normally, said Aisha, adding that she and her son also suffered from this problem.

Though 46 per cent of autistic children in the world and 12 per cent of the global population are affected by this syndrome, there is lack of awareness among doctors, teachers and parents, she said. Students who are classified as having learning disabilities are especially vulnerable to having this syndrome, she added.

"Our goal is to train school teachers,” she said. “We don't want people to just rely on us.” Schools should also accommodate such students.

The centre will have an official opening in December.

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