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We offer complementary assessment for attention and visual-perceptual difficulties.  These approaches can be used as stand-alone services or in conjunction with an educational assessment.


The Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA) is an objective and accurate continuous performance test (CPT) that measures key components of attention.

There are two types of T.O.V.A. test: the visual test measures visual information processing, and the auditory measures auditory information processing. Designed like a computer games, the T.O.V.A. test is easy to administer to children as well as adults. Unlike other CPTs, the T.O.V.A. avoids the confounding effects of language, cultural differences, learning problems, memory, and processing complex sequences.

During the TOVA test, a target or a nontarget randomly flashes on the screen or is sounded every two seconds for a tenth of a second (100 msecs). The instructions are to press a specially designed, accurate microswitch as fast as you can every time a target appears or is heard, but not to press the microswitch when a nontarget appears or is heard. It’s important to be fast but not too fast- it’s just as important to avoid pressing the microswitch when it's a nontarget.

The TOVA measures several different aspects of attention: the consistency of the response times is called Response Time Variability and is measured in milliseconds; the time it takes to respond to a target is called Response Time and is measured in milliseconds; d' (d prime) is derived from Signal Detection Theory and measures how quickly one’s performance worsens ( deteriorates ) over the 21.6 minutes of testing; responses to the nontarget, called a Commission Error,  is a measure of impulsivity (also called disinhibition); missed responses to the target, called an Omission Error, is a measure of inattention; Post-Commission Response Times, which measure how much faster or slower a person becomes after mistakenly responding to a nontarget.

This information was reproduced from The TOVA Company, 3321 Cerritos Ave., Los Alamitos, CA 90720 U.S.A. All rights reserved.

Irlen Screenings

What is Irlen Syndrome?

Irlen Syndrome (also referred to at times as Meares-Irlen Syndrome, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, and Visual Stress) is a perceptual processing disorder. It is not an optical problem. It is a problem with the brain’s ability to process visual information. This problem tends to run in families and is not currently identified by other standardized educational or medical tests. 

The symptoms of Irlen Syndrome are wide-ranging, but the solutions – Irlen colored overlays and Irlen Spectral Filters (worn as either glasses or contacts) – are straightforward and available to you. Irlen addresses the underlying perceptual processing difficulties and light sensitivity that can contribute to reading difficulties, headaches, and attention difficulties. Irlen also can play a role in the challenges experienced by many individuals who have been diagnosed with dyslexia, autism, concussion syndrome and traumatic brain injury, or who may have been diagnosed with ADHD. 

Irlen Syndrome can affect many different areas, including:

  • Academic and work performance
  • Behavior
  • Attention
  • Ability to sit still
  • Concentration

This problem can manifest itself differently for each individual. This problem is not remediable and is often a lifetime barrier to learning and performance. If you suffer from any of the following, Irlen Syndrome might be your problem:

  • Print looks different
  • Environment looks different
  • Slow or inefficient reading
  • Poor comprehension
  • Eye strain
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty with math computation
  • Difficulty copying
  • Difficulty reading music
  • Poor sports performance
  • Poor depth-perception
  • Low motivation
  • Low self-esteem

Symptoms of Irlen Syndrome

Light Sensitivity:

  • Bothered by glare, fluorescent lights, bright lights, sunlight and sometimes lights at night
  • Some individuals experience physical symptoms and feel tired, sleepy, dizzy, anxious, or irritable. Others experience headaches, mood changes, restlessness or have difficulty staying focused, especially with bright or fluorescent lights.

Reading Problems:

  • Poor comprehension
  • Misreads words
  • Problems tracking from line to line
  • Reads in dim light
  • Skips words or lines
  • Reads slowly or hesitantly
  • Takes breaks
  • Loses place
  • Avoids reading


  • Strain and fatigue
  • Tired or sleepy
  • Headaches or nausea
  • Fidgety or restless
  • Eyes that hurt or become watery

Attention and Concentration Problems:

  • Problems with concentration when reading and doing academic tasks
  • Often people can appear to have other conditions, such as attention deficit disorder, and are given medication unnecessarily.

Writing Problems:

  • Trouble copying
  • Unequal spacing
  • Unequal letter size
  • Writing up or downhill
  • Inconsistent spelling

Other Characteristics:

  • Strain or fatigue from computer use
  • Difficulty reading music
  • Sloppy, careless math errors
  • Misaligned numbers in columns
  • Ineffective use of study time
  • Lack of motivation
  • Grades do not reflect the amount of effort

Depth Perception:

  • Clumsiness
  • Difficulty catching balls
  • Difficulty judging distances
  • Additional caution necessary while driving


  • Words on the page lack clarity or stability; i.e., may appear to be blurry, moving, or disappear

For more information about Irlen® Syndrome/Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, visit the Irlen® Institute Website.

This information was reproduced from Irlen® International; Copyright  © 1998- 2006 by Perceptual Development Corp/Helen Irlen®.  All rights reserved.

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