Reading and learning can be unnecessarily challenging for children with visual problems. As a result, some children develop behavioral problems, while others will avoid reading. Oftentimes the child is intelligent, causing parents to be confused by the child's difficulties. Vision therapy can improve visual function, so that your child is better equipped to understand educational instruction and therefore better perform.
The strain of poorly developed visual skills and abilities may not always result in bad grades. Intelligent children that are highly motivated can achieve good grades, but at an untold cost in wasted energy; working inefficiently and under high stress. For those who are less motivated, one or two deficient visual skills can produce enough stress and frustration to create a low achiever.
Undiagnosed Vision Problems can lead to:
- Misdiagnosis of learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and Dyslexia
- Poor self-esteem
- Fatigue, frustration and irritability
- Short attention span
- Poor grades
Common symptoms of learning related visual problems in children who struggle with reading are:
- Losing place on the page
- Words run together when reading
- Reversals of letters or words
- Easily distracted or fatigued
- Takes "hours" to do homework
- Low reading comprehension or fluency
- Poor or unevenly spaced handwriting
- Uses finger to keep place
- Eye fatigue or strain
Frequently Asked Questions
How do visual problems effect my child's ability to read?
Poor visual skills, specifically lack of mastery over eye movement, can cause slow word by word reading. Visual problems make it difficult to recognize words in a line of text, even when our brain understands the meaning of the word, and even if we just saw the word a few lines before.
In order to be a proficient reader, one must have the visual skills to aim their eyes accurately at the text, keep the words clear and in focus, form a single picture from both eyes, recognize and derive meaning from the words on the page, and have the ability to visualize a mental image to comprehend what is read.
How do visual problems effect my child's ability to spell?
The ability to spell has more to do with visual skills than with effort and intelligence. When a child has poor visual skills, they depend on skills from other sensory systems, such as auditory or verbal. These sensory systems are not as efficient as the visual system and cause spelling to be more difficult and frustrating. Children who use their auditory or verbal system as their dominant sense to attempt to spell, spell a word based on how it sounds. (For example "bekuz" instead of "because"). Children with strong visual skills and sense of visual dominance can spell words with mental imagery and recognize words that are misspelled by the way they look.
Visual recognition of words is a key skill that separates successful students from unsuccessful ones. Vision therapy enhances this skill, thus improving and positively impacting spelling, reading and handwriting abilities.
How do visual problems effect my child's handwriting skills?
Poor handwriting is often attributed to laziness, poor fine-motor coordination, or a number of other culprits, while a functional vision problem could be the real cause.
Our ability to write words is contingent on our ability to process an image and turn it into a word on the page. The visual picture needs to be converted to letters in our mind and then sent to our hand to write the word. This process will be challenging if we have inefficient or poorly functioning visual recognition skills. The inability to convert mental pictures into letters for the hand to write translates into poor penmanship.
How do visual problems effect my child's ability to follow directions?
Children who are strong visual thinkers effortlessly turn what they hear into mental imagery. The mental pictures are much easier to remember than a series of sentences. Children with poor visual imagery will use other skills, such as repeating the instructions countless times in their head. These children may be so focused on trying to remember the spoken words, that they are unable to process the information efficiently enough to carry out the task. Subsequently, the child may be labeled as forgetful, disobedient, or even ADD/ADHD.
Vision therapy helps a child use the power of visualization to convert spoken language into mental imagery. Mastering this skill will greatly improve the child's comprehension of spoken directions.