Vision is an important and necessary process for learning to think, speak, read, write, spell and perform mathematics. Vision is also a large part of perception and can be associated with dyslexia and developmental aphasia (impairment in the ability to communicate).
According to research, as many as 75% of children that are considered learning disabled have clinically significant visual problems. Yet, these children are often labelled as having a specific learning disability before vision is ruled out as a possible contributory factor. Once labelled and eligible for special education services, most of the time good visual skills are not a goal listed on an Individual Education Plans.
This is an area definitely lacking attention in the education sector, which we are hoping this website will aid in remedying.
Unfortunately, parents and educators often incorrectly assume that if a child passes a school vision screening, then there is no vision problem. However, school vision screenings often only test for visual acuity at a distance. In reality, the vision skills needed for successful reading and learning are much more complex. A child who can see the small letters can still have a vision problem.
Vision is a complex process that involves over 20 visual abilities and more than 65% of all the pathways to the brain. One in four children has an undiagnosed vision problem which can interfere with learning and lead to academic and/or behavioral problems. However, it is important to know that these children frequently do not report symptoms because they think everyone sees the same way they do.
When vision problems go undetected, children almost invariably have trouble reading and doing their schoolwork. They often display fatigue, fidgeting, and frustrations in the classroom—traits that can lead to a misdiagnosis of dyslexia or other learning disabilities
Often a child with a vision-based learning problem has excellent verbal skills, causing parents and educators to think the child must be lazy, have ADD/ADHD, or is learning disabled. The possible misdiagnosis can be due to similar symptoms, but the causes are not the same.
Mark Eagle specialises in the examination of children, seeing many in a week, he's good with kids!
Optometrists from VisionLink and Visique Shattky on Russell Optometrists have screened nearly 2000 children at 4 Hastings Schools for FREE, thanks to a 'Vision for Learning' local initiative. Five optometrists from VisionLink and Shattky Optometrists did screening procedures. A report card was given to each child to take home with a recommendation for further action if that is necessary.
"We are all exhausted but happy after completing the screenings and although it was a marathon effort, the children were delightful to work with" says Phil Donaldson, Optometrist.
"The teachers were very supportive and we had lots of laughs along the way. Our screening clinic picked up a number of children with vision problems. We will now advise their parents through a vision report that we are providing for each child. This also means peace of mind for those with shows no signs of visual problems."