People learn three ways; auditory, tactile/kinesthetic, and visual. 65% of the population learns best visually. Did you know 80% of what a child learns in school is information that is presented visually?
If your child’s vision is not at its best, they may not be seeing a large percentage of the information being offered for them to learn. Their minds may be churning, trying to clarify a blurred image rather than trying to learn what that image means. Without good vision, children will never be able to reach their learning potential.
The best way to approach this is through a team approach, which may include the child’s teachers, the school psychologist, an eye doctor with experience in children’s vision and learning-related vision problems and perhaps other professionals. Your eye doctor is the first line of defense. Moms and Dads need to make sure their little student is visually ready for school. Step one is a trip to your local optometrist. It is essential to rule out simple refractive errors. But understand that nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism are not the only visual disorders that can make learning more difficult. There are less obvious vision problems which relate to the way the eyes function and how the brain will process visual information which can also limit your child’s ability to learn. These are called “learning-related vision problems.”
Learning-related vision problems are not considered learning disabilities. According to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), learning disabilities do not include learning problems that are primarily due to visual, hearing or motor disabilities. Symptoms of learning-related vision problems include:
Blurred vision or double vision
Crossed eyes or eyes that appear to move independently of each other
Difficulty retaining what was read
Difficulty recalling, recognizing or replicating shapes
Dislike or avoidance of reading and close work
Evidence of developmental immaturity
Excessive blinking or rubbing the eyes
Headaches or eye strain
Losing place while reading, or using a finger as a guide
Omitting, repeating, or confusing similar words
Persistent reversal of words or letters (after second grade)
Placing the book very close to your face
Poor eye-hand coordination
Short attention span during visual tasks
Slow reading speed or poor reading comprehension
Turning or tilting the head to use one eye only, or closing or covering one eye If your child shows one or more of the above symptoms, it is time to look a little further into what is going on. If no vision problem is detected, it’s possible your child’s symptoms are caused by a non-visual dysfunction, such as dyslexia or a learning disability.
I invite you to visit my office for an exam to discuss your eye care health and the same for your family. We take most medical insurances and have a wonderful selection of frames should you need glasses. A visit to us may be your first line of ocular defense!
Check out our website for more information:
Dr. Steven Linker, OD
Monmouth Vision Associates
50 Route 9 North, Suite 206, Morganville, NJ, 07751