When children have reading problems, parents as well as teachers should investigate possible causes. Any difficulty reading may stem from a combination of problems and not just one sole issue. Often, a child’s vision is overlooked as being a main contributor to any reading difficulty. Your child may not even be complaining about his or her eyes, and they may have passed a school vision screening. Did you know that 1 out of every 4 children in America cannot read? This very real and alarming statistic is just one more reason vision therapy should be considered when reading problems exist.
The ability to read is a harmony of many elements. Reading requires children to accurately use all of their visual, language, phonetic and decoding skills successfully. Children need to recognize and understand written words when reading. There are a variety of causes why 1 out of every 4 children cannot do that, but vision deficiencies are a major source of reading problems. Vision problems can also be misdiagnosed as ADHD, autism, and learning disabilities.
Did you know that we must utilize 17 visual skills for optimal reading performance? These include focusing, eye tracking, teamwork or aiming the eyes together, and visual perception (which is the ability to interpret, analyze and comprehend what is being read). If your child is sitting in the back of the classroom, over 20 feet away from the white screen or blackboard, their 20/20 eyesight is being tested and this is just one more of the 17 visual skills required to be a successful reader. Eye doctors normally check your child’s ability to see near or far (their 20/20 eyesight) and may check for any eye disease. The team at Vision for Life are trained to give a thorough assessment of all 17 skills needed for near (reading) vision as well as distance vision.
Does your child ever complain of headaches, dislikes reading or suffers from fatigue while reading? If your child is struggling in school and you notice he or she isn’t a strong reader, it’s time for a proper evaluation of ALL your child’s reading skills. Some of the more common treatable vision diagnoses that may be hindering your child from being a successful reader include:
- Spatial awareness issues(often misdiagnosed as dyslexia – word and letter reversals while reading)
- Amblyopia or lazy eye(one eye dominates, doing most of the work, unknowingly weakening the other eye)
- Strabismus, which is wandering or crossed eyes (often unnoticeable to the naked eye, which send conflicting visual images to the brain)
- Convergence insufficiency or excess(inability to aim the eyes together to read)
Once a proper diagnosis of your child’s vision problem is determined, we can then design a completely individualized vision therapy program to help with their reading and development. Vision therapy sessions will consist of age-appropriate exercises that enhance and encourage the reading performance in your child. Learn about many of our services by clicking the link here.
Reading has been linked to healthy emotional development in primary children (The Rose Review, 2008) and it’s been stated that reading is “more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status” (Reading for Change – PISA report). When we take an active role in the encouragement of our child’s reading, we are also taking the right steps in our child’s happiness and education.
If you believe it’s time to have your child’s vision assessed and are wondering if a reading problem exists due to a vision problem, call us at 618-288-1489 to schedule a complete vision evaluation. We are able to develop a custom plan for your child that yields the most effective results. Contact us today so your child will understand the magic of getting lost in a great book, becoming an avid reader in the process.