7-Year-Old Girl from Cologne Sees the World in Blue

December 26, 2017 07:10 PM

First-grader Stella May from Cologne, Minnesota, sees the world differently than the rest of us. She says letter, numbers, even objects move as she tries to read them.

"Sometimes they go blurry and shake and stuff," Stella said.


One of her reading teachers noticed the symptoms and thought it might be a condition she'd recently heard about called Irlen Syndrome, a neurological disorder that impacts the brain's ability to process visual information.

"It's something new and not widely recognized," said Beth Tischleder, one of Stella's teachers from Cologne Academy.

When Tischleder screened Stella for Irlen Syndrome, they discovered something critical: the color blue seemed to improve the way Stella saw things.

"For Stella, for her eyes and her brain to be synched up, blue just kind of clears the pathway for her so she can see things clearly," Tischleder said.

They started putting Stella's school work on blue paper; her doctor also prescribed special glasses that have a subtle blue tint to the lenses; and her teacher installed window filters in the classroom that also have a subtle blue tint to them.

It has made the difference.

"I think it's truly life changing for her," said her mom, Cindy May.

Stella has even written and illustrated a book about having Irlen Syndrome. It's called "Stella Sees In Blue" and it's available on Amazon.  She's helping everyone understand what it's like to see the world differently.

"It's been fun sharing her story and telling other kids about her ... and making them feel good about difference," her mom said.

According to the Irlen Institute, about 12-14 percent of the general population has Irlen Syndrome.


Ellen Galles

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