In a typical classroom setting, 80% of learning is visual. That is a lot of vision! Vision is used more than ANY other sense in a classroom. Vision is more than 20/20. Most eye screenings and examinations detect and correct eyesight problems. However, reading for example, requires over a dozen visual skills happening simultaneously. Many children are labeled dyslexia or ADD when it may be an underlying visual problem. So what exactly are some visual symptoms you should look for in your child?
1. Inattentiveness: Inattentiveness could be caused from multiple sources, one of them being vision. When a child has difficulty fusing or focusing, they have difficulty maintaining their concentration on the given task. Imagine reading an entire passage when words appear to be “swimming” on a page. This is how it appears to many children.
You can understand how it would be difficult for a child to maintain their attention when vision is a struggle. Fifteen of 18 symptoms of ADD are the same as a binocular visual problem.
2. Poor handwriting: When a child has difficulty writing, vision may be impacting their eye- hand coordination. Visual Motor skills are crucial in a child’s placement on the paper, letter spacing, letter sizing, and writing in a straight line. This can also be a factor when the child is slow to copy printed material. This also may be a visual-language processing disorder.
3. Poor Reader: At times children will be asked to read in school. They may be embarrassed by saying the wrong word, losing their place, or having to use their finger to read. This can discourage a child not only academically but emotionally. They may become self conscious and may act out to avoid reading aloud. Visual skills such as eye tracking are vital to successful readers. Students may also have difficulties with reversals, a visual perceptual skill where they may read “saw” instead of “was.”
4. Not good in sports: Clumsy, poor hand eye coordination, and difficulty hitting or catching a ball are all signs of visual problem. This again can affect a child’s self-esteem and motivation to participate in sports.
5. Difficulty copying from board: Copying from the board requires multiple visual skills. One, they must be able to focus at near and at distance, and do so quickly. If one child can perform this task 10 times a minute, and another only 2 times a minute, you can understand why the second child may not get their assignments completed. These children often complain of blur at either distance or near (or both).
6. Slow to complete assignments: When a child struggles to make words clear or single, they can not quickly complete assignments. This can be discouraging to a child when they are often the last to complete assignments, making them feel inferior to their classmates.
If any of these symptoms sound like it could be your child, please schedule them with a functional or behavioral optometrist. The results could be life changing. Take a vision quiz and see how your child performs. http://www.covd.org/?page=QOLstart