Inadequate Vision Screenings Contributing to Epidemic of Children with Learning Problems
Only two years after The Nation’s Report Card showed that only 38% of students could read at or above the level of “proficient,” our nation’s children continue to struggle with reading – at epidemic levels. Many parents are told their children aren’t far enough behind to warrant special services at school, yet they continue to struggle with reading and learning. Other children are misdiagnosed with learning disabilities when in fact they have undiagnosed vision problems at the root of their struggles.
“In June 2011, we featured a story about educators in New Jersey who routinely screen for learning-related vision problems. Their district had one of the lowest rates of student classification for special education services in their county,” states Dr. Kara Heying, President of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD). “In addition, parents shared that optometric vision therapy was one of the interventions that makes a big difference in their children’s ability to read and learn.”
It is a logical assumption that checking hearing and vision would be one of the first steps to identify why a child is struggling with reading. While eyesight, or visual acuity, is typically assessed, the main test is whether a child can see certain-sized letters from a distance of 20 feet (hence the term “20/20”). However, reading occurs at approximately 6 to 15 inches. People mistakenly assume that, if distance vision is fine, then vision at reading distance will be as well. This unfortunately means that vision isn’t tested at reading distance, nor are eye coordination and focusing taken into account.
Optometric research has shown that more than 10 million children struggle with reading and learning because of eye coordination and eye focusing disorders. Research also clearly indicates that both of these disorders are very treatable with optometric vision therapy. “While there is no critical period or age limit for vision therapy, early identification is always recommended,” states Dr. Heying.
“Most children who are having trouble with reading after working on it for four, or five, or six years are not easy to fix. They believe they are just stupid or just can’t do it. Why? Almost never are they stupid,” shares Katie Johnson, author of Red Flags for Elementary Teachers. Ms. Johnson has taught first grade, in both Maine and Washington, for 37 of the 46 years she has been a teacher. In addition, she has worked as an adjunct professor of literacy in the teacher-training programs of Pacific Oaks College (California) and University of Washington (Bothell campus), as well as in the graduate school of Lesley University (Cambridge, Massachusetts), and has done a multitude of professional development presentations all over the United States.
Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is using optometry or treatment done to the eyes to help patients with cognitive disabilities. A persons dominant sense is vision and it is important to optimize the sight of a patient in order to understand and see the world around them. In order for objects to be seen and understood, gaze, attention, motivation, eye tracking, and visual processing done by the brain all come into play. Because posture, spatial awareness, motor output, memory, cognition, and behavior are integrated into the visual system, problems in any of these areas can effect daily activities and quality of life. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is used to help, but not limited to, traumatic brain injuries. These traumatic brain injuries can include car accidents, work accidents, TBI, and/or stroke. To treat this, sensory motor evaluations, visual perceptual skills testing, and a variety of other tests may be administered. The course of action is based on the brain plasticity that will resolve the symptoms and improve its function. Patients often are not diagnosed properly or treated correctly even when they may be suffering from vision-related symptoms. Knowing there is an explanation and a path forward through the help of neuro-optometric rehabilitation can be transformative.
Are you or your kids always on your devices? Myopia is on the rise! Myopia is more commonly known as nearsightedness and increases with the more you use your devices. Don’t let it overcome you or your child. A great way to combat the onset of myopia is to go outside and give your device a break. Your eyes need time away from devices (phones, tablets, computers, televisions) to stay healthy. Our exams include a free screening of the risk factors that contribute to myopia. Give us a call at (714) 961-2020 to schedule an appointment today! Click on the link below to find out more about myopia and myopia control. https://visionhelp.wordpress.com/2018/08/09/the-boss-of-myopia/
What colors do you see in the picture above? To people with red-green colorblindness, the colors on the left and right sides mirror each other. Red-green colorblindness is common and results in red, green, and orange looking like muddy shades of yellow and purple that looks bluish. About 1 in every 20 people has it. We can see color thanks to the receptors at the back of our eye that pick up light. The typical eye uses three kinds of light sensors, each detecting different hues. Colorblindness could be caused by a missing set of receptors or out of tune ones. Colorblindness can result in off-limit jobs or activities. Researchers have recently created glasses to help with this problem. Maybe one day a lack of color vision won’t be an issue at all.
Screen use is an epidemic causing a rise in nearsightedness in both children and adults. Patients with ADHD have a harder time managing the time spent on devices which in turn leads to visual symptoms corrected only by glasses. Outdoor activity can reduce the chances of developing eye problems. Take a look at the flyer below for more tips to help reduce the use of electronic devices. Provided by the Understood Team at understood.org
Behavioral optometry can treat what appears to be learning disorders.
When a child struggles to read it can be very frustrating, not just for the child but for the parents and the teachers. No parent wants to see their child having trouble with something as important as reading. The same is true for teachers. In many school systems, teachers are now expected to have their students reach certain reading standards and if they don’t, that child may be faced with repeating a grade level.
Meet Wendy Rosen, a former classroom teacher and educational consultant and author of the new book: The Hidden Link Between Vision and Learning, Why Millions of Learning Disabled Children are Misdiagnosed. In this 6 minute VisionHelp interview, which premiered at the 2017 COVD Annual Meeting, Wendy gives an explanation for why so many children struggle with vision-based learning problems and how to find help they need.
Dan L. Fortenbacher, O.D., FCOVD
Vision Therapy and the Importance of Comprehensive Eye Exams not School Screenings!
Don’t let your child fail because you don’t know his vision is the problem
Out of 52 contestants, Hayley Barber, Miss Alabama 2016, was named the winner of Miss America’s Jean Bartel Quality of Life Award during the second night of preliminaries in Atlantic City. Barber’s platform “Sight for Small Eyes,” encourages eye examinations for young children and raises funds to provide vision therapy for children with low vision through Sight Savers America, a non-profit in Pelham. Her main goal is to get legislation passed that would require comprehensive eye examinations before entering school.
Barber took a year off of her studies as a UAB undergraduate to fulfill her duties as Miss Alabama. She plans to continue her formal education in graduate school for Optometry after her year is completed. Eventually, she wants to open her own private pediatric optometry practice.
Part of her optometry education will be funded by Miss America STEM Scholarship Award. The award is presented to Miss America contestants with…
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At Yorba Linda Optometry and Beyond Dr. Marran provides a FREE SCREENING for Vision Problem that can interfere with learning. Going Beyond whether a child has 20/20 eye sight, Dr. Marran tests the Visual System for eye teaming, eye tracking, eye focusing weaknesses
Hannah once excelled in all things learning-related. Through first grade, she was academically and socially talented, and her parents Scot and Mandy got nothing but good feedback from her teachers.
But when the next school year started, so did Hannah’s struggles, culminating in a significant drop in her grades in the 3rd grade. Homework that should have taken her an hour or less started taking two or three, usually accompanied by temper tantrums and tears. “I can’t tell you how many tear-stained assignments she turned in,” her parents recall, “We tried tutors and after-school programs for her over the next year or so but did not see a significant improvement.”
Luckily for the family, Hannah’s grandmother is a learning disabilities teacher and knew exactly how to recognize struggles in school. While she watched Hannah read, she noticed that her eyes were not moving in straight lines (tracking) across…
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