Vision and Learning Treatment Options
How does vision relate to learning?
75-90% of learning in a classroom occurs through the visual system. If the visual system is not working properly, this can seriously hinder a child trying to perform up to their potential.
It has been estimated that 1 out of 4 children in the U.S. have learning problems. This is roughly 2-7 million children struggling to achieve in school. 25% of ALL children have a vision problem significant enough to affect their performance in school. According to research on just learning disabled populations, the number of kids with significant learning related vision problems can soar closer to 85% in their studies.
Many of these children are officially diagnosed with a learning disability in part to receive special education services to help them with their difficulties, and many continue to need special services throughout their school experience. This can be a pretty expensive load on the school budget (and on the taxpayer), not to mention on the child’s self-esteem and future success. Unfortunately, the number of children receiving special services for learning disabilities is on the rise.
75% of those identified as learning disabled have their biggest deficit in reading. Out of those children who are reading disabled, 80% of them have difficulties with one or more basic visual skills. Fortunately, these visual deficits can be treated successfully by vision training, as volumes of research studies have illustrated. Though vision is only one factor that can be associated with learning problems, if the children with primarily vision related problems were discovered sooner and treated promptly, the number of children in special education may not be as high.
So is there something you can do?
There is something parents, educators and professionals can do to help children obtain the visual skills they need before they fall way behind in school. Parents can ensure that their children get regular vision exams beginning at 6 months old from an optometrist who specializes in vision development. Schools can conduct better screenings to help identify students with potential vision problems that can affect learning. These screenings must go beyond a distance Snellen letter chart.
Parents and teachers can also observe and learn to recognize signs and symptoms of learning-related visual problems. Knowing when a child is having vision symptoms and knowing when to refer them to an eye doctor that specializes in visual function can significantly reduce the number of children experiencing learning difficulties.
The earlier vision problems are detected and re-mediated, the less time will pass where individuals fall behind if left untreated.
Vision problems CAN be corrected. Vision does not have to be part of the learning problem.
- Prescription glasses with correct RX. This may include a bifocal with prism.
- Vision training with an occupational therapist of your choice. Time line is usually six months. This may be covered by your medical insurance.
- The next step if needed is the addition of Chromogen Lenses for Dyslexia.