A child needs good visual skills in order to read and do well in school. If a child is struggling academically, it is critical to know if their vision is contributing to their problem(s).
Children are usually curious and eager to learn, but they may lack motivation due to something holding them back. If a child’s visual system is not developing normally they will struggle needlessly with reading and learning. If you are a parent reading this, you know that when a child struggles with something (regardless of why) they often act out to avoid the struggle. They might display:
Tantrums when doing homework
Avoidance behaviors, they "don't listen" when asked to do something by the teacher or parent
Hyperactivity, they instead do everything besides their school/homework
Excessive talking, they become chatty and overly social in order to avoid doing work. This often gets them in trouble in class for not paying attention
Poor performance, receiving failing grades and poor report card comments
When a child shows any of those traits, it affects the whole family. The child's self-esteem is often poor and the parents and teachers worry about the child's future success.
(Think of bubbling in a small, tight scantron sheet)
Ability to pay attention and take notes
Many children who have undiagnosed vision issues often receive labels of being "suspicious" for conditions such as ADHD or dyslexia. For a parent or teacher, it can be difficult to tease the conditions apart; vision problems can both exist alongside and mimic behavior problems in the classroom. In fact, vision problems actually occur in the ADHD population 3x more than the normal population.
Many times because of their academic challenges, these children receive IEPs and 504 plans in school. These can be very helpful because they provide classroom accommodations and additional, personalized, assistance.
It is necessary to state that we do not diagnose or treat learning disorders. We only diagnose and treat vision problems that affect one's ability to learn.
Once the vision problem is eliminated, either the teacher or a well-trained tutor can then come in and fill the missing learning skills and real progress can be made.
If vision was the only problem to begin with, the child will be "cured" of the "learning disability." If there are other learning problems as well, then the child will at least have the chance to benefit from proper instruction aimed at those other problems, rather than spending time struggling to "see."
Skips over small words or whole lines when reading
Loses place often, needs to use finger to keep place
Cannot remember what is read, but can remember what was heard
Spells the same word differently each time
Doesn't line up digits properly when doing math
Handwriting is all over the place, writes crooked / slanted
Performance is better on written or oral tests than on standardized, scantron (bubble in the answer) tests
A child struggling in school needs to have all of the 17 different visual skills that are involved in reading and learning evaluated. These are evaluated in a functional vision evaluation and a visual perceptual evaluation.
Once you have learned how vision is affecting your child's academic performance, we can help you to figure out the best route of treatment to help them. After all, the American Optometric Association acknowledges that treatment of convergence insufficiency has been associated with reduction in the frequency of adverse academic behaviors. These are the following treatment options we make use of at our office.
These may be prism lenses or plus-powered lenses. Prism lenses move light to a position most comfortable for the eyes, and plus-powered lenses reduce the strain and effort required to focus to see anything up close.
This is the selective application of light frequencies through the eyes, and is used in support of other therapies to aid in the remediation of visual problems, visual discomfort, and visual field constrictions associated with visual stress or brain injury
A customized therapy program, often recommended in conjunction with therapeutic lenses and syntonic light therapy, that rebalances the visual system and helps correct underlying binocular vision dysfunctions.
If your child struggles in school, contact us today!