Prior to your child entry into preschool/primary school, it is crucial to ensure the readiness of certain visual motor skills. Weakness in any of the following visual motor skills can pose a hindrance to unlocking their full learning potential, resulting in behaviour such as carelessness , poor attention or lowered motivation during learning.
A learner needs to see clearly for distance (eg. board), intermediate distance (eg. Laptop/PC) and up close for reading a book. When a child has blur eyesight from myopia and astigmatism, it will be difficult to see what the teacher is writing from far. Standard eyesight test only tests for distance eyesight but children with significant hyperopia may still see far clearly but have uncomfortable or blur near vision.
A learner’s ability keep the eyes on target when looking from one object to another and move the eyes along a printed page, or following a moving object like a thrown ball. Unlike handwriting, it is harder to tell if a learner has poor eye movement skills. Common symptoms are like skipping words/lines during reading and copying.
Ability to coordinate both eyes together on a precise point/object such as a word during reading. This skill allows the visual system to judge distances and see depth. Weakness in this ability usually causes eyestrain and double vision for more severe cases.
Visual motor skill that allows rapid and accurate shifts with instantaneous clarity from one distance to another, such as from desk to board. This flexible change in optical power is caused by the change in the form of the elastic lens which is facilitated by the ciliary muscles. It also permits a person to maintain clear focus at the normal reading distance. Symptoms of a focusing problem may include blurred vision while reading to clear vision at distance after reading, and fatigue or headaches while reading.
Children may be able to see clearly and still exhibit visual skills deficits that affect attention and learning. These problems cannot be addressed by a standard eyesight test.
The learning-related assessment offer comprehensive checks to determine the efficiency of the eye movements and its effects on the child’s learning ability. The assessment report can be submitted to psychologists to support the application for certain exam accommodations.
The learning-related assessment addresses the following areas of concern:
- Functional Binocular Vision (the efficiency of the eye movement system)
- Hypersensitive reactions to lights or patterns
More about hypersensitive reactions to light or patterns
Some students have an adverse reaction to certain types of lights (usually fluorescent light or glares) or complex patterns. They may feel dizzy or experience headaches/nausea. Other students may experience visual stress or pattern glare symptoms.
Learning-related Assessment – Eye tracking test
The learning-related assessment includes a computerised measure of eye tracking (eye position and movement) during reading to demonstrate how well – or poorly – the eyes are working together during reading of vertical and horizontal lines.
Poor eye tracking surfaces as excessive movements – more effort in eye coordination – to achieve the same result. Such inefficient reading reduces reading stamina and increases inaccuracies.
Visual evaluation for special needs
Individuals with autism and intellectual disability may experience very poor vision, which may further manifest into behavioural symptoms (e.g. anxiety in an enclosed space, fear of walking on uneven ground).
However, it may be difficult to evaluate their vision in a typical setting due to the lack of accurate verbal feedback from these individuals or the lack of time/resources to manage their sensorial sensitivities.
This visual evaluation is helpful in testing individuals who have difficulties with providing verbal feedback. For instance, photorefraction can be performed to check the eyes within a few seconds without the need to approach closer or shine direct light towards the clients’ eyes.
Vision therapy is effective in helping children with binocular vision dysfunctions such as convergence insufficiency or eye tracking disorders.
Learning-related Vision Therapy
Vision Therapy is carried out by using different equipment, software and techniques to improve the clients’ visual skills for attention and learning.
The therapy aims to improve the following skills:
- Visual fixation
- Eye tracking
- Eye teaming
- Eye focusing
- Visual Perception
- Vision in balance
- Eye-hand coordination
- Balance (Vestibular), body awareness (Proprioception) & motor coordination
Do you know?
Boston Children’s Hospital – ranked one of the best pediatric hospitals in America – offers an established Vision Therapy service.
Do you know?
A person’s vision, balance and muscle coordination system are interdependent via the autonomic nervous system of the body.
The immature balance and muscle coordination systems of some cases interfere with the progress of vision therapy.
Balance, body awarenessand motor coordination training are incorporated in vision therapy. Vision therapy typically complements occupational therapy, physiotherapy or any form of biomechanics rehabilitation.
Find out more about vision therapy by clicking here.