The Port Arthur News
PORT NECHES — Standing in a vacant lot next to his Port Neches home, 8-year-old Seth Nunnelly gave his bat a swing and pinged a baseball out past his father, Brian.
Just days before the quick practice session Seth had knocked a ball out to third base while playing for his baseball team, the Astros.
This accomplishment — hitting the ball with a bat, was not an easy feat for Seth just a few months ago.
Seth Nunnelly was recently diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome, a visual perception disorder in which words float around on the page haphazardly.
“The disorder affects his entire environment, not just reading or school,” his mother, Melissa Nunnelly, said.
The Nunnellys noticed their son struggling in school and during the fall he was tested for, and diagnosed with, dyslexia. His second grade teacher, Peggy Swafford, took an active interest in finding out ways to help Seth, the mom said. Belinda Mitchell, special education teacher at Woodcrest, diagnosed Seth with Irlen Syndrome.
Seth eventually met with Dr. Patricia Johnson, psychologist with Irlen Clinic in Baytown, and treatment began soon afterward.
Treatment consists of using a transparent color overlay that is placed over books and reading materials. For those with more severe cases, such as Seth, a special pair of tinted eye glasses are needed. Seth proudly exclaimed that his glasses are tinted purple — “I’m an Indian,” he said referring to the Port Neches-Groves High School mascot.
The once fidgety, frustrated child has undergone a complete change for the better, his parents said.
“It’s just amazing,” Melissa Nunnelly said. “We’re happy to see something that helps him so much. He even looks forward to going to school now.”
Brian Nunnelly has also noticed the difference in his son.
“It has made a world of difference,” the father said. “Now he’s more laid back, calm. A lot happier.”
Seated inside the family home, Seth snuggled against a sofa pillow with his mother at his side. Melissa Nunnelly noted Seth’s glasses and a second pair which are used specifically for sports.
“The only place that makes the glasses with the special lens is in California,” she said.
The family discussed life before and after the treatment.
“He asked me ‘do you know why I didn’t do well in class before? It’s because the words moved on the page,’” she said, adding that Seth would attempt to read but wasn’t comprehending.
Seth also told his parents how the glasses changed his view of baseball. He told his parents after that first game while wearing them, “I saw the ball.”
“He’s played baseball since he was three,” she said. “But he couldn’t see properly and didn’t know how to express this. Imagine, as an adult, if something isn’t right then you can get up and leave the room but a child can’t.”
Now, with the special tinted glasses, Seth sees the world normally and is ready to take on any challenge head-on.