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Reading-Dyslexia Vision Evaluation

Reading Problems: Are They Due to Vision, Dyslexia, or Both? 

Most children practically teach themselves to read.  Regardless of the reading program used, a child rapidly masters reading skills.  Dyslexia is a term used when a child does not respond to a standard reading program and needs to be guided one tiny step at a time.  The term is a catch-all used to describe any condition that makes it difficult for a bright child to learn to read. Different children have different reasons or combinations of reasons for not learning to read.  Here is a list of the most common reasons:   

  • Language problems:  The child my not understand the meaning of the words or be familiar with the language. When you read to the child, and they do not understand an age-appropriate story, a language problem is likely tied to the reading problem. If a child easily understands when being read to, the most serious obstacle to reading comprehension is probably absent. 


  • Phonemic Awareness: This occurs when a child cannot hear a stream of sound and break it down into its parts. A child with poor phonemic awareness might not hear that the word dollhouse comprises doll and house sounds. Or they may not hear that the word coat comprises the "k" sound and the word oat. Children who do not hear the sounds in words have difficulty with typical phonics programs because they cannot hear the sounds they are trying to match with the letters.


  • Automatic Naming:  These children are very slow at looking at a symbol, remembering what to call it, and getting the sound out. Poor automatic naming makes a child very slow at sounding out words. Reading comprehension requires the brain to quickly combine the words to make sense of them in sequence. The better that child's ability to recognize whole words, the quicker their reading speed.


  • Visualization:  The child cannot picture words in his mind or has not been taught to picture words.  The inability to visualize the word makes it so that when the child sounds out a word in one line, they do not recognize the same word in the next line. Children who can picture words easily may have a good sight vocabulary but still not be able to "sound out" words seen for the first time. When it comes to reading comprehension rather than decoding, the child who has not learned to picture the story being read is at a disadvantage.


  • Spatial Perception/Eye-Teaming:  The child is confused by symbols when they are crowded together.  He can recognize a word with the letters well-spaced and large on a flashcard but cannot recognize the same word when the letters are small and crowded together in a line of print.  Such spatial perception problems can be due to print doubling and running together because of eye-teaming problems like convergence insufficiency. 


  • Directionality: The ability to understand the concepts of right and left in space.  A young child has two directions: "toward me" and "away from me."  A b and d is a line with a circle and the circle goes "outward" or "away from me".  Such a child will not understand how a b is different than a d.  This is a different problem than merely not remembering which letter is which.  To such a child the b and d look "the same."  The various "tricks" for teaching the difference between b's and d's may not work without first addressing the directionality problem. 

The purpose of our Developmental Vision Evaluation is to get to the heart of what is causing the reading problem.  It could be any or all of the above.  Only a reading specialist is trained to understand why children do not learn to read.  If we eliminate the reasons there is far less to work around.  Once a child can comfortably look at the parts of a word, picture the parts of a word in his mind, and hear the parts of the word, the learning rate should increase dramatically.  This makes it relatively easy to go back to the beginning and fill in the missing reading skills.  The review process remains necessary because our vision therapy programs do not teach missing phonics skills.  The difference is that the review can now generally be done by a good tutor, a home educator, or a reading specialist because the child no longer has to sound out the same word in a line he sounded out in the previous line.            

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