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Real Moms, Real Kids: Vision Problems

Did you know that your child can have 20/20 vision yet still have trouble reading text?

Blurry text reading, 'Once upon a time, in a land far, far away...'

Undiagnosed vision problems are quite common. In fact, experts1 estimate that 1 in 10 children has a vision issue that affects learning. Here at All About Learning Press, parents regularly share stories with us that prompt us to suggest vision testing.

Elizabeth Bird* is an All About Spelling user who discovered that her child had vision problems, in addition to several other significant developmental differences. Her hope is that their story will help other families find the help they need, so they won’t have to go through what she and her son have gone through!

Here’s Elizabeth…

My childhood was a treasure trove of tales. I was resolved to raise readers, so I continued down the path my parents had paved by reading aloud to my son even before he was born.

As a toddler, my son had a vast vocabulary. He loved long words, like micropachycephalosaurus, yet he didn’t speak in intelligible sentences. Over time, he was diagnosed with auditory processing disorder, sensory integration disorders, dyspraxia, and autism. But that wasn’t all. When he began to read and spell simple CVC words, I noticed that it was a monumental effort for him to focus on the page. During fleeting moments of focus, he’d read long words but skip short words, and sometimes skip entire rows of text.

I also noticed that my son would avoid eye contact, glance out of the corner of his eye, and hold his head while running. His vision screenings showed that he had 20/20 vison, so these behaviors were all dismissed as symptoms of his other diagnoses. My son couldn’t describe the vision difficulties he was experiencing because he didn’t realize they weren’t normal. But one day, in despair, he admitted that the “wobbling words” hurt his brain. That was a breakthrough for us!

We went to a board certified developmental optometrist, whose comprehensive assessment revealed a visual processing disorder. My son thinks in pictures, yet everything he saw for the first decade of his life was distorted and confined to a 10% functional visual field. That he had learned to read at all was a testament to his courage and perseverance. On one hand, it was frustrating to receive yet another diagnosis. But as it turned out, this was the most encouraging diagnosis we received because vision therapy fully remediated his vision and transformed his life!

Child using vision therapy for his vision problems

Vision therapy was intensive, but just understanding the problem brought relief. For nine months, a vision therapist worked with my son for 45 minutes once a week, after which I received 15 minutes of instruction and obtained tools necessary for homework. Each week there were new exercises, and we worked on those exercises at home five days a week. We rested on Sundays.

I will never forget the thrilling moment when, closely observing my son’s eyes during a challenging exercise, I witnessed neuroplasticity in action— his brain and eyes were working harmoniously! His joy made mine complete, and it made our arduous effort worthwhile.

Child writing on chalkboard

Vision therapy transformed every aspect of his life. Social situations are less confusing. Grocery shopping is not as overwhelming. Mathematics and reading and writing have all improved as text remains in focus and in place. Integrated reflexes, good peripheral vision, and clear targets contribute to greater proficiency and enjoyment of physical activities. Today, our son is an avid reader who reads to his brother daily and helps him with his reading.

During the demanding process, All About Spelling integrated well with vision therapy, enabling us to progress academically without placing undue stress on his brain or nervous system. This would not have been the case with traditional teaching methods.

Child using All About Reading and All About Spelling on white board

If you are using All About Reading or All About Spelling, yet your child is still having trouble, please don’t give up. There is hope, even for older students, since neuroplasticity continues even after ten years of age.

I wish all children could have a comprehensive vision assessment prior to schooling, and I strongly urge you to investigate this frequently hidden problem.

“Good reading becomes possible when you need not consciously think about eyes, or light, or print, or spelling.” –C.S. Lewis

Vision-related websites that were helpful to Elizabeth

Products Elizabeth used with her son during vision therapy

An All About Reading user with vision issues

Did you enjoy Elizabeth’s story? Read more stories from Real Moms and Real Kids.

Do you suspect vision problems with your child? What are the symptoms?

1College of Optometrists in Vision Development. (n.d.) ADD/ADHD & Vision. Retrieved from http://www.covd.org/

_________________________
*To preserve the privacy of the child featured in this story, we did not use the family’s real names.

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Jennie

says:

My son has TBI ,he has many issues..He has a IEP . Today he was diagnosed with a tracking problem..The school has been unable to help him, he refuses to do work he will try then he will just sit there and not do anything..The Special ED teacher says he so sweet , kind not aggressive he just won’t work..He struggles in reading and hates to write..They said he writes and draws like a Kindergartner hes 9. He does have processing disorders, sensory issues..many more issues..Do you think the tracking issue is causing him to refuse to work?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennie,
I can’t know if his tracking issues are causing your son’s refusal to work, but I do know it could be related. Just imagine what it would be like to read and write if you couldn’t see well! It could be so hard that it could be impossible and definitely would be extremely frustrating.

Vision issues such tracking problems are usually best addressed by optometrists that specialize in such issues. I do think it is very worthwhile to follow up on this diagnosis.

Michelle

says:

Just found this post
Because my son has an autism diagnosis no medical clinic will see him to test for dyslexia
It’s frustrating
He has high comprehension with audio books or my reading to him but he reads at a 2 nd grade level
His struggles are with decode ing

Tim

says:

I only see 2 characters in focus at a time. The rest is like those words more than 5 to 10 degrees from center of most people where overall shape is noticed but no clarity. More than a pinky-width is useless. That’s with any single or multifocal lenses I’ve had from 15 yrs to 40 yrs old including adjustments for astigmatism. My peripheral, central and reading vision is fine with glasses according to standard tests. I can only guess my astigmatisms are more complex, either surface and/or natural lenses are irregular. My vision processing was more focused on the central 1 degree.

Tyra

says:

My son who’s 8 was just diagnosed with moderate CI. The doctor told me that there are therapies to help him cure this however it’s very costly. He was given glasses to use for all close work and I suppose my question is… will wearing these glasses make other vision problems for him? I’m hoping to get the proper therapy. He is a very bright kid however ALWAYS struggled with reading in school, skipping words, sometimes whole lines. Frustrations when reading is an understatement! He’s always crying over lots of things, has a bad temper and is often angry! I’m wondering if this could be contributing to all of this? He’s never mentioned blurred vision to me nor headaches and he runs normal and has good fine motor skills… he’s a lego god lol! Finding this out yesterday is extremely eye opening for me ( no pun intended) lol I hope so much that he’ll start improving his reading and school experiences! He has read one time with his new glasses and it seemed to go a bit smoother so here’s hoping it will help!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tyra,
I think your son already showing smoother reading with his new glasses is a great sign! How exciting.

If your doctor prescribed the glasses, I would be inclined to think that they couldn’t make problems with his vision. Glasses are prescribed to correct problems. However, it is a good question considering his diagnosis. I suggest you ask his doctor about it.

Bevin Meadows

says:

My 8.5-year-old son has had a relatively mild but extremely stubborn case of accommodative esotropia (inward-straying “lazy eye”) for years. We patched for several hours a day EVERY DAY for a couple of years. We tried traditional vi$ion therapy for a couple of years. Nothing was leading to any measurable improvement. During this time, I learned about Vivid Vision and waited eagerly for a clinic within ~150 miles of us to get on board with it.

We have been doing the games at home on an Oculus Rift (with remote oversight and periodic evaluations by the clinic) for a little over a year now. Within the first six months, it brought him to an uncorrected 20/20 in both eyes, and we are seeing more and more evidence of successful teaming and convergence. He’s not cured yet, but he is showing MEASURABLE improvement, and his doctor fully expects this to cure him within the next couple of years, if not sooner. This is especially remarkable because treatment is traditionally less and less successful as time progresses.

I HIGHLY encourage anyone with a reading-age child suffering from one of these conditions to search for a clinic within a reasonable driving distance that offers Vivid Vision. I doubt most toddlers would be able to play all of the games, but the average 4+ kid would probably grasp them easily enough. They are FUN and EFFECTIVE.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing this, Bevin! I’m happy to hear your son is getting better and the doctor expects even more improvement. I think your story will be helpful to others.

Matt

says:

My son was diagnosed with CI in December. He hated to read, and every night it was like World War III to get him to read. After the diagnosis, he started vision therapy. We have seen some great results. The only issue is that it is not translating to his grades in school. He is in fourth grade and still getting F’s in reading. He feels horrible and does not want to talk about it. I try to tell him that he has been seeing double for 8 years it is going to take time. However, the F’s keep coming and as a parent, I feel horrible. I wish his teachers would understand his struggle and give him at least a C. What is the harm in giving him a passing grade in fourth grade. It is not like he is needing grades for college. I am a teacher and am frustrated with his teacher. I wish I could just tell her that every time she sends out the report card it knocks him down. I am not sure that she knows how hard it is for him to focus let alone comprehend what he is reading I know this is a process but I wish the school would give a little just for my son’s mental health.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Matt,
I’m so sorry to hear about your son’s issues with grades in school! Does he have an IEP? Surely there should be some sort of accommodation or remediation he should be getting considering his diagnosis. Poor kid.

Dawn

says:

I have a 7 year old who struggled terribly to read and write. Just recently I took him to have his eyes tested. His far and near site were great but his peripheral vision was struggling. He is now involved in a program to strengthen his peripheral vision, which in turn/hope will help him to read… I thank my optometrist for being so aware and proactive… the school has known, and I’ve been on them, that my son needed extra help.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Dawn,
What a blessing that you optometrist picked up on your child’s peripheral vision problem! I do hope with you that the program will help him to succeed in reading.

Erin

says:

Thank you for this encouraging article! My son has also been diagnosed with visual processing issues with convergence due to his Duane’s Retraction Syndrome (one of his eyes is unable to move toward the outside due to a genetic birth defect). We are considering vision therapy, but honestly have not heard many stories of great success with it from friends who have tried it with their children for other issues, so we have been concerned about the practicality of such an expensive and time consuming therapy. Hearing some success stories that aren’t advertising for specific therapists in encouraging. My husband has the same eye birth defect, but does not see therapy as necessary for our son since he has learned to adapt around the issues in his own life. I am so thankful that AAS and AAR have been great programs to help our son learn to read and spell despite his vision issues, but his handwriting and coordination are still a struggle. Has anyone had success with doing any targeted therapy exercises at home on their own? I am certainly not hoping to replace a trained therapist, but I would like to try some simple exercises at home to help him now while we continue researching, praying about, and saving money for therapy.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Erin,
I don’t know of those that have had success with correcting visual convergence issues with simple exercises they found themselves. There may be those that have done so, but I’m not aware. However, I do know of parents working with their therapist to limit the number of therapy sessions needed by doing a lot of prescribed exercises at home and having good success with that.

I am pleased to hear that All About Reading and All About Spelling are helping your son to have success with reading and spelling. I’m sorry I don’t have much help for your other questions.

BARBARA CALFEE

says:

I would LOVE to know where Elizabeth lives. I tutor in Ohio and it seems as if the whole new school of neuroplasticity and sensory processing challenges has just been introduced to our teachers in their professional education meetings. Meanwhile, I have a cousin in California who’s 5-year old was diagnosed 2 years ago with a sensory perception disorder in PRE-SCHOOL when a very observant teacher noticed this little girl hugging too hard, shaking hands with far too much pressure, desiring to ride a tricycle with incredible speed, etc. Interested parents may want to explore ALL of the MANY challenges that seem to be treated most often by OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS – not teachers and not pediatricians. Here’s a fascinating article:

https://childmind.org/article/sensory-processing-issues-explained/

Here’s a little “snippett” of the article:
“What are sensory issues?
Sensory processing difficulties were first identified by occupational therapist Dr. A. Jean Ayres. In the 1970s, Dr. Ayres introduced the idea that certain people’s brains can’t do what most people take for granted: process all the information coming in through seven — not the traditional five — senses to provide a clear picture of what’s happening both internally and externally.

Along with touch, hearing, taste, smell and sight, Dr. Ayres added the “internal” senses of body awareness (proprioception) and movement (vestibular). When the brain can’t synthesize all this information coming in simultaneously, “It’s like a traffic jam in your head,” Peske says, “with conflicting signals quickly coming from all directions, so that you don’t know how to make sense of it all.”

What are these two “extra” senses in Dr. Ayres’ work?

The internal senses
Proprioceptive receptors are located in the joints and ligaments, allowing for motor control and posture. The proprioceptive system tells the brain where the body is in relation to other objects and how to move.

Children who are hyposensitive crave input; they love jumping, bumping and crashing activities, as well as deep pressure such as that provided by tight bear hugs.

If they’re hypersensitive, they have difficulty understanding where their body is in relation to other objects and may bump into things and appear clumsy; because they have trouble sensing the amount of force they’re applying, they may rip the paper when erasing, pinch too hard or slam objects down.

The vestibular receptors, located in the inner ear, tell the brain where the body is in space by providing the information related to movement and head position. These are key elements of balance and coordination, among other things.

Those with hyposensitivity are in constant motion; crave fast, spinning and/or intense movement, and love being tossed in the air and jumping on furniture and trampolines.

Those who are hypersensitive may be fearful of activities that require good balance, including climbing on playground equipment, riding a bike, or balancing on one foot, especially with eyes closed.” [Author: Beth Arky]Well

Me: Well, I broke my hand and had immense OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY. The therapist was the ONLY healthcare giver to ask: Do you fall often? and , Do you know why?” I’ve fallen so many times that I’ve had 3 head fractures and 9 concussions. NO ONE EVER ASKED ME WHY I FALL. She explored my history and diagnosed me with (1) Hypersensitive Propriceptive Receptors and (2) Hypersensitive Vestibular Receptors. I was given special therapy and haven’t fallen since!

Now, the important issue for the readers here is that children with certain sensory processing challenges WILL LIKELY have certain learning issues (that can be treated) and be misdiagnosed with autism. Check out the article and download the incredibly detailed list of symptoms!!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing this, Barbara. This is very interesting information.

Lisa Joy Starr

says:

We have 7 kids and when they were little 2 of my boys had to wear glasses, but now as adults those 2 don’t wear glasses any longer. We caught something wrong with their eyes early enough that eye exercises and wearing glasses for a few years, when they were little solved their problem.

We made a point to see an opthamologist instead of an optometrist because an opthamologist has more training and can detect these small problems easier. Our boys could not be more happy. My one suggestion is get your kids’ eyes checked beginning at 1 year old so that, if there are problems, there can be action taken to help kids with poor vision early and maybe keep them from wearing glasses their whole life.

Lisa Joy

alison

says:

Ophthalmologists actually RARELY have more knowledge about vision processing disorders, as they are experts of the eye, not the brain. And VPD’s are the brain. Crazy, eh? So, optometrists who specialize in neuro or vision therapy, actually are the experts here.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lisa Joy,
Thank you for sharing your experience with vision issues with your children. It’s great to hear that they no longer need glasses.

Shelley

says:

This was me as a child I was lucky to have therapy but it wasn’t until I was 8. My kids were able to have it much younger and what a difference it made.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Shelley,
I’m glad to hear that you and your children were able to benefit from vision therapy. Thank you.

Jayme

says:

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! My 5 year old son was saying a Y was a V and S was a C. I didn’t understand why he was doing this. I am grateful that a member of your staff shared this blog post with me. I quickly made an eye exam with a specialist. I was told he has 20/20 vision but does need reading glasses due to double vision.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Jayme, and we’re happy to know that this blog post was helpful to you. We are especially happy that you can now get your son the help he needs.

Natalie

says:

My son just had his eye exam and was 20/20. Now I’m worried because I voiced my concerns about him possibly being dyslexic and she said he doesn’t seem to be. His evaluation for dyslexia came back the next week saying he is dyslexic. What should I do?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Natalie,
If his evaluation for dyslexia diagnosed him with dyslexia, then we recommend going with that.

Both All About Reading and All About Spelling are Orton-Gillingham based, which is a proven approach for helping students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. It’s also the approach that the International Dyslexia Association recommends. The author of AAR and AAS, Marie Rippel, is a member of the International Dyslexia Association and has instructed graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. She is also a member of Pro Literacy, has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Literary Task Force in Wisconsin, and tutored students for more than 20 years. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check that out (they were told he would never read). Quite amazing!

You might like to visit our Dyslexia Resources Page.

Here are some ways that All About Reading and All About Spelling can help kids with learning difficulties:

– Each lesson time is simple and explicit and will include 3 simple steps: the review of what was learned the day before, a simple new teaching, and a short practice of that new teaching.

– Incremental lessons. AAR and AAS break every teaching down into its most basic steps and then teach the lessons in a logical order, carrying students from one concept or skill to the next. Each step builds on what the student has already mastered.

– AAR and AAS are multisensory. Research has shown that when a child is taught through all three pathways at the same time, a method known as simultaneous multisensory instruction, he will learn significantly more than when taught only through his strongest pathway.

– AAR and AAS use specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAR and AAS are scripted so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage.

– AAR and AAS have built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning difficulties generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. With AAR and AAS, your child will have a Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows.

– All About Reading has lots of fluency practice. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency. AAR has fluency sheets or a story to be read with every lesson, so children can practice reading smoothly with expression and confidence.

– All About Spelling has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing, from words and short phrases in Level 1, to phrases and short sentences in Level 2, to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3. Partway through Level 3, the Writing Station activity is introduced. In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words. In this way students have begun to use words in a more real-world context through dictation and writing, to help them transition to longer writing assignments.

All About Reading and All About Spelling have a one-year guarantee. You can try them, and if for any reason you feel that they aren’t the right match for your child, return them for a full refund.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Lisa Buckwalter M.Ed.

says:

Many persons have 20/20 vision but still have a serious vision problems due to convergence insufficiency. Twenty twenty simply means that each eye can see a target clearly at 20 inches and also at 20 feet; the test was developed in the 1800’s when education took place at the chalkboard in the front of the school and they recorded their work on a personal slate. Convergence insufficiency means that individual eyes are not cooperatively looking at the same target, so the brain receives 2 different messages and is not able to combine them efficiently into one image which is a specific distance away. This problem is too often described as “dyslexia”. Dyslexia is a the problem when the eyes are cooperating, the brain is interpreting the images as one image but the brain distorts the perception; in my experience, this problem is relatively rare.

April Payne

says:

My son also suffers from an eye issue that helps exasperate his issues with dyslexia. He is unable to cross his eyes. Thankfully with exercises and All About Readingthi he have gotten a lot better! Thank you for your story.

Renae B

says:

Thank you for posting this. I was not aware of this. It did prompt me to take my son to the eye doctor as it had been 1.5 years since we had gone.

Ms. J

says:

I had an undiagnosed rare autoimmune eye disorder that triggered vision problem for most of my school years, until the right doctor diagnosed me and began treatment. In my case light was a big trigger. I begged to be allowed to wear my color tinted sunglasses indoors, but was not allowed to. I had to squint to see everything including the whiteboard. Today I have special glasses and occasionally use an overlay so that the black letters on white hold still! As a teacher I beg parents to take their children to the right doctor who can properly diagnose other underlying conditions.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ms. J,
Thank you for advocating for your students!

Monica

says:

Very interesting… I am going to have to check into this. Thank you :)

Deanna S

says:

Thank you for your story! How encouraging, and I am so glad you were able to help him!

Amanda

says:

Just found out at my 6 year olds annual eye exam that she needed reading glasses. We had no idea!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad you found out, Amanda!

Marni

says:

Thanks for sharing your son’s struggles and breakthroughs, Elizabeth. Our 5 year old with Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism is struggling with beginning reading tasks, and has even mentioned “wobbly words” to us. We’ll definitely pursue a comprehensive vision assessment.

My child has vision challenges that we didn’t know about until this year. He is 11. We have been using AAS and AAR which seem to really help him where past teachers could not.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Wendy,
Thank you for letting us know that All About Spelling and All About Reading are helping your son!

Cindy

says:

We’ve been through the assessment with our ds, but the cost of the therapy was prohibitive for our family. Habkfully, her vision issues are not huge, and she has made great progress in reading and writing this year. AAS has been great because she can spell with the tiles instead of struggling with the writing for practice.

Shanna

says:

Thank you for this post. Makes me wonder if this may be a reason why my 7 yo is struggling.

Genevieve Campbell

says:

Great article–we are visiting the Dev Opt in 2 wks for this reason.

Lisa

says:

Thanks for the list of resources! We’ve had a difficult time finding a vision therapist in West Alabama.

Jennifer Lavallee

says:

awesome give-away!

Maya Arnold

says:

Thank you for this article, after reading this, we are going to test our daughter for possible visual problems. All About Reading has given our daughter happiness and joy with learning to read, unlike other programs. Her eye sight may be changing or there may be some dyslexia that is still causing issues, but at least she is now willing to keep trying with Ziggy at her side! Thank you for all the games and activities that make our lessons fun!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Maya,
I’m so happy to hear that Ziggy and All About Reading is helping to keep her motivated. Motivation is an extremely important aspect of learning, especially for those that struggle.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about her struggles or need help in any way.

Maria Murray

says:

Still very concerned about misleading people to think that issues with reading development and ADHD should be “treated” with vision therapy. Yes if a child has trouble seeing or focusing a checkup is warranted. I’m attaching an article just received today. Apparently a hospital has barred vision therapy because of its lack of scientific credibility. Please everyone do your homework. If you find a website that encourages vision therapy for reading difficulty, dig deep into its source. Is it a company/optometric practice that could make a profit? Not credible. They can knit any words together to spin a tale. Is it a board of medical professionals? Still beware. Click on the about us button. See what’s required to join them. Then – this takes effort- read the scientific literature which will point out that pro-vision therapy “research” consists of small isolated studies with just a few participants. Studies performed by those doing the therapy. Studies that aren’t peer reviewed. And finally, what about the most convincing thing of all…personal anecdotes made by concerned parents…the kind we are reading on this blog and others? It’s hard to tease out which kids had which problem. But a wise internet consumer should always consider the placebo effect. Example: “My daughter couldn’t read well. I took her to vision therapy and now she’s all better. No more headaches and she loves to read now! Her behavior is improved too!” Is it not outside the realm of possibility that the therapy provides encouraging attention and hope. It requires children to go home and implement daily practice doing- you guessed it- a lot of reading! (A lot of reading always results in better reading!). And things seem better. Hope is born! This is working! She starts behaving better because she can read better and she’s no longer beset by worry that “something is wrong with her.” So this is the cycle we see. The cycle that promulgates the myth of vision therapy for reading difficulty, dyslexia, and other learning problems. Here’s the article I mentioned above. Please do your research. http://www.insightnews.com.au/_blog/NEWS_NOW!/post/behavioural-optometrists-barred-by-childrens-hospital/

Jennifer

says:

Hi, Maria. I just wanted to make a quick comment. My daughter’s vision therapy didn’t require extra reading at home like you mentioned in your response. We did a lot of vision exercises. She had to work on keeping her eyes focused and then making them work together. She had convergence insufficiency. Her letters moved when she was trying to read so vision therapy was the answer for her struggles.

Maria Murray

says:

Thank you, Jennifer. Yes, if it’s an issue with the eyes/actual vision that lead to poor vision or eye strain, then an optometrist may be able to help. If it’s an issue with reading itself, no. Glad your daughter got helped.

Merry

says: Customer Service

Thanks for your comment Maria. We agree, people should definitely do their research. We actually agree with the statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics et al which your article cited. Vision therapy is not a treatment for ADHD or Dyslexia. The article cited from the abstract, but started mid-sentence. The first part of the sentence states that “Vision problems can interfere with the process of learning” and THEN goes on to cite that they are not the cause of dyslexia. This is all we are saying–that vision problems can interfere with the process of learning. The AOP statement goes on to say the following:

“Children with learning disabilities should undergo assessments of their health, development, hearing, and vision and, when appropriate, medical and psychological interventions for associated and related treatable conditions.”

We are advocating, as they do, that vision be part of the assessments for a child with learning disabilities. We would never say (and have not said) that vision therapy “fixes” other underlying conditions. We include numerous articles on our site about how to approach things like Dyslexia, Auditory Processing Disorder, Autism, Working Memory issues, and so on.

The article you linked uses this quote from the AOP statement abstract:

“Diagnostic and treatment approaches that lack scientific evidence of efficacy, including eye exercises, behavioural vision therapy, or special tinted filters or lenses, are not endorsed and should not be recommended.”

However, this quote was in reference to using these types of treatment approaches for Dyslexia and learning disabilities, and was not saying that these treatment approaches never have scientific evidence. As the AOP statement goes on to say, there IS scientific evidence supporting this type of approach for convergence insufficiency (they cite 8 articles supporting them for this use). They state:

“The ophthalmologist should identify and treat any significant visual defect according to standard principles of treatment….Symptomatic convergence insufficiency can be treated with near-point exercises, prism-convergence exercises, or computer-based convergence exercises.”

The AOP statement goes on to state that it’s important for children to have complete screenings because treatable conditions can be missed or a child could be misdiagnosed:

“The recommended routine pediatric vision screenings are unlikely to disclose near-vision problems such as convergence insufficiency, accommodative insufficiency, and significant hyperopia.”

and

“Treatable ocular conditions can include strabismus, amblyopia, convergence and/or focusing deficiencies, and refractive errors. Missing these problems could cause long-term consequences from assigning these patients to incorrect treatment categories.”

We don’t know whether the practitioners involved in the Queensland situation were saying that vision therapy could treat other conditions, but that is not our position.

Again, I hope this helps to clarify things!

Lisa Buckwalter

says:

Several decades ago, I had a student who was diagnosed with ADHD. He was not able to concentrate and seemed to accidentally distract other students around him. I accompanied him when his Mother took him for a vision evaluation with a reputable behavioral optometrist. His vision in both eyes was switching faster than he could report during the red and green lense test. For practical purposes, he was reading under “flashing” vision. He benefitted from therapy and became successful. Vision therapy does NOT cure reading problems but it can FIX the visual equipment that is used for the reading process!

Alycia Spreeman

says:

This article hit close to home. My daughter’s struggles have really made me concerned she has a vision issue.

Amanda

says:

Interesting!

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