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According to the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada, Learning Disabilities (LDs) are specific neurological disorders that affect the way a person stores, understands, retrieves and/or communicates information. People with learning disabilities are intelligent and have abilities to learn despite difficulties in processing information and a pattern of uneven abilities.


  • LDs are invisible and lifelong.

  • LDs can occur with other disorders (ADHD, etc) and may run in families.

  • LDs are NOT the same as intellectual disability, autism, deafness, blindness, behavioral disorders or laziness.

  • LDs are not the result of economic disadvantage, environmental factors or cultural differences.

  • Living with a learning disability can have an ongoing impact on friendships, school, work, self-esteem and daily life.

  • People with LDs can succeed when solid coping skills and strategies are developed.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines a specific learning disability as “a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations.” This disability category includes conditions such as autism, visual impairment, dyslexia and brain injury. [1] 


Visual Stress is characterized by symptoms of visual perceptual distortions, headaches and eyestrain when viewing repetitive or striped patterns, including lines of text. Visual Stress is distinct from, although sometimes co-occurs with, dyslexia and other learning disabilities. It contributes to the imperfect ability to read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations. Individuals with Visual Stress who use their prescribed precision coloured filters have shown to improve performance in these tasks but are unlikely to influence the psychological, phonological and memory deficits associated with SpLD. [2] 


Opticalm has possible solutions to reduce visual triggers to symptoms of SpDL, all of which are described in the following paragraphs.


Colour: Opticalm offers over 25 colours of overlays, over 30 colours of paper and 10 colours of pens. Our computer screen tinting software and lights have unlimited colour options. Note that the colours offered for use should be systematically selected from a wide number of colours that efficiently sample colour space [3] [4] .

To help with reading: print texts, tests or other work on coloured paper with a low contrast grey or similar colour print. Use Open Sans fonts to reduce patterns caused by letters and use a larger font to reduce the frequency of the striped image created with text across the page. 


To help with writing and mathematics: use coloured lined paper, either preprinted notepads or coloured copy paper printed, with low contrast lines or graph paper. Using a similarly coloured pen can also help by decreasing the contrast of the pen on the paper. Individuals report that this is an effective solution to help them with handwriting form and spacing, understanding what was written and the ability to stay in line when performing mathematical calculations. 


Visual Stress occurs more often in populations with learning difficulties. When SpLD's are present, you should carefully consider the use of the many available tools. They can offer relief of the symptoms and improve the perception of learning materials.

Specific learning disability (SpLD)
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