VISION AND LEARNING DIFFICULTIES
We all know that a child’s development can vary immensely from child to child. It is perhaps not as well known that vision also develops and needs to be learnt.
Often it is not until children begin to read that we first notice they have a vision problem because that is when they start using their visual system more intensively to tune in to small detail. The level of demand on visual skills required for reading increases throughout a child’s learning years.
It is important for parents to understand that children with excellent clarity of eyesight can still have significant vision-related learning difficulties. A child presenting vision skills concerns is more likely to have difficulty reading and understanding what they have read. The extra effort required can cause blurriness and discomfort, as well as preventing them from performing to potential.
Some of the primary visual skills required for early readers are:
- Tracking – Scanning from letter to letter, word to word, looking ahead and predicting text, moving from one line to the next.
- Focusing – Maintaining clear focus at a particular point (e.g. a word on a page) and the ability to rapidly change focus from one point to another (e.g. from copying from the board to the book).
- Sequencing – Recognising the order of numbers or letters in words, as well as left to right progression when reading and writing.
- Short Term Visual Memory – Recalling information presented quickly.
- Visual Discrimination – Recognising subtle visual differences between letters (e.g. b/d) and words (e.g. was/saw or big/dig), reducing reversals and improving overall recognition.
At Smart Vision Optometry, we have a number of Vision Therapy programs designed to improve visual efficiency and treat visual information processing problems in children and adults.
Be alert if your child is experiencing learning difficulties, reduced concentration or avoiding reading tasks as these may be indications that their visual system is not functioning to potential. Enhanced vision skills can lead to enhanced reading and learning performance.
Have a question? Simply fill out this form and our Behavioural Optometrists will get back to you within 24 hours.