First, look for these vision challenge warning signs. If your child loses their place or uses their finger when reading, is unable to sustain visual attention to near tasks, struggles with reading comprehension, takes forever to complete their homework, tilts their head when reading, or closes or covers an eye when reading. Any of these signs could indicate a vision challenge that we can help your child overcome.
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The information on this page is vital to read. Children with vision-related learning problems often go undetected because many have 20/20 vision. 80% of what you perceive, comprehend and remember relies on the efficiency of the entire visual system. Gaps or delays with visual skills create a weak foundation for building academic achievement, including reading, writing, attention, school performance, and even sports. The development of good visual skills is necessary to become an efficient learner and for a child to perform at their highest potential.
Vision is a learned process just like learning to master abilities such as sitting up, rolling over, walking, and talking. This is the reason you should view vision exams as wellness checkups rather than need-only exams. The type of vision exam we’re describing goes well beyond the quick eye health check with pediatricians or the school nurse. They, along with most ophthalmologists and optometrists, do not check all areas of the visual system.
Eyesight is only a tiny part of the entire visual system. It is essential to distinguish between eyesight versus the active and dynamic process of vision. “Normal” vision does not always mean well-functioning eyes. Eyesight is how clearly your child can see (e.g., 20/20) from a certain distance. However, what does that tell us about the ability to sustain near work?
What about the ability to change focus from far to near and near to far? The ability to read words on a page smoothly? Or the ability to process visual information effectively? Beyond an initial eye exam, it is important to also check visual efficiency skills along with visual information processing skills. Visual efficiency skills refer to how the muscles outside the eyeball direct sight and communicate with the brain.
For the eyes to read easily, they need to be able to aim, jump, and track. In order to see something clearly and comfortably, both eyes need to work well as a team. Focus control happens inside the eyeball. This control needs to be accurate to see clearly both at near and far as well as to sustain clarity over time. Vision information processing happens in the brain. It is our ability to interpret, analyze, and give meaning to what we see.
Good visual processing skills include:
Several mechanisms come into play when a child is asked to read.
The skills needed for effective reading include:
From birth to 5 years old, children are ‘learning to see.’
From Kindergarten to 2nd grade, most children are ‘learning to read.’
From 3rd grade and up, they are ‘reading to learn.’
When a child is ‘learning to read’ vision, problems can reduce their ability to know what they are looking at and impact their ability to remember numbers and letters. An aspiring reader will struggle to keep pace with classmates as they acquire this new skill. When a child is ‘reading to learn’ and has blurry or double vision, their ability to read for long periods of time and comprehend what they are reading can be severely reduced.
They won’t be able to process information as quickly as their fellow students and will fall behind. 75% of children identified as learning disabled have their most significant challenge in reading. They are often labeled as having “dyslexia.” Out of those children who are reading disabled, 80% of them have difficulties with one or more basic visual skill.
A vast majority of children that are diagnosed as suffering from dyslexia also experience a visual related reading challenge that can be related to focusing, eye teaming, and eye tracking deficiencies. Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital team discovered that a staggering 79% of children who struggled with dyslexia also had problems with eye teaming, tracking and focusing versus 33% in typical readers.
In their article, they concluded that the “…assessment of vergence [eye teaming], accommodation [focusing], and eye movements may be helpful in the initial evaluation of children with dyslexia and will supplement the findings of a comprehensive ophthalmologic examination and a detailed literacy evaluation.”
Dyslexia is a term used to describe a condition that affects reading and spelling. In its truest form, dyslexia can be described as a neurological dysfunction in which the brains’ language center struggles with the translation of written symbols to spoken sounds. Children that have dyslexia frequently reverse letters and words, and have issues reading.
To be able to see effectively to read, you need to have clear vision as well as have efficient eye teaming, eye focusing, and eye tracking. Too often, people believe that 20/20 sight should mean that vision is effective for reading, but this is not the case. An undiagnosed eye problem can often cause an issue which may present itself as dyslexia. Eyesight is only a tiny part of the entire visual system. Remember, “normal” vision does not always mean well-functioning eyes.
Experiencing even one of these symptoms can cause problems with reading which can closely resemble dyslexia. Vision problems do not cause dyslexia, but there is a higher incidence of vision problems in children diagnosed with dyslexia. It is important to distinguish if your child has a vision-related learning challenge, an actual reading disability, or both.
The eyes must lead the hand when writing. Several vision-related skills are critical to good handwriting that may be underdeveloped in a student with vision problems. They can include:
There is no dispute that a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD can be valid. However, difficulty focusing or staying on task is not always related to ADD/ADHD. In some cases, vision related challenges are often diagnosed as ADD/ADHD. Attention and concentration issues can often be related to vision, focusing, eye teaming, eye tracking, and how a child’s brain perceives visual information. Interestingly, the signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD and vision related learning disorders overlap.
Here is a chart that compares the signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD and Vision Related Learning Challenges:
|Signs and Symptoms||ADD/ADHD||Vision Related Learning Disorders||Normal Child Under age 7|
|Inattention (at least 6 are necessary):|
|Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes||X||X|
|Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities||X||X||X|
|Often does not listen when spoken to directly||X||X|
|Often does not follow through on instruction or fails to finish work||X||X||X|
|Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities||X||X||X|
|Often avoids, dislikes or reluctant to engage in tasks requiring sustained mental effort||X||X||X|
|Often loses things||X||X||X|
|Often distracted by extraneous stimuli||X||X||X|
|Often forgetful in daily activities||X||X|
|Hyperactivity and Impulsivity (at least 6 are necessary):|
|Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat||X||X||X|
|Often has difficulty remaining seated when required to do so||X||X||X|
|Often runs or climbs excessively||X||X|
|Often has difficulty playing quietly||X|
|Often “on the go.”||X||X|
|Often talks excessively||X||X|
|Often blurts out answers to questions before they have been completed||X||X|
|Often has difficulty awaiting their turn||X||X||X|
|Often interrupts or intrudes on others||X||X||X|
If your child is struggling with any of the challenges discussed on this page, it is essential to thoroughly evaluate your child’s entire visual system which includes eyesight, eye tracking, eye teaming, focusing and visual perception. The Scribble 2 Script evaluation is a multistep process that we coordinate with developmental optometrists Drs. Stephen Cohen, O.D., and Amanda Goldberg, O.D. to evaluate your child’s specific issues.
The evaluation ensures that we have a full understanding of how your child’s visual system is functioning and how that affects their learning process. Once the evaluation process is complete, a coordinated treatment plan is created to address your child’s needs, along with an estimated timeframe for intervention, to ensure your child is ready of optimal lifelong learning.
“My son visited Scribble 2 Script once a week to improve his handwriting. During our time together, the Scribble 2 Script program greatly improved all aspects of his fine motor skills. His confidence soared, and he always had fun during his sessions. ”
~ Laura Cole
“Before we found Scribble2Script, William’s frustration with schoolwork and school, in general, had reached an all-time high. Nothing we tried at home helped and our family had become very discouraged – it seemed the more we practiced and tried to “fix” his handwriting, the worse things got.
During our Scribble 2 Script evaluation with Megan, she uncovered and explained the reasons behind his handwriting trouble, and we finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel. The Scribble 2 Script team’s demeanor with William was warm and encouraging. We watched him truly blossom during his sessions, and his confidence grew.
Every time we left, he had a smile on his face, and he felt proud of his accomplishments of that week, and that positive attitude spilled over into home, school, and even into sports. The difference this [the Scribble 2 Script] program has made in our lives is immeasurable.”
~ Sarah Kleck
“Megan and her team of dedicated and wonderful teachers have made such a difference in my 8-year-old son’s life. He is finally proud of his writing & beams when he shows me his school work now.
His skills have improved so much that he clearly has confidence that he didn’t have 6 months ago. I truly believe this is going to make his academic future so much brighter.”
~ Alison Rose
Now you can discover the secrets that will help your child create a lifetime of success by addressing learning and developmental challenges today.
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