Vision Problems Can Be Learning Problems!
Uncovering Hidden Vision Problems
It's not always easy to pinpoint an exact reason why a child isn't doing well in school. Frequently, learning difficulties are due to a combination of problems. But when children struggle in school or perform below their potential, an undiagnosed vision problem may be the cause.
Having a vision problem makes it harder for children to learn. The extra effort needed to compensate for poor vision makes it more difficult to remember and understand what they see. The harder they try, the more likely they will develop symptoms of discomfort and fatigue.
When children try to read fuzzy words on a page or are unable to accurately move their eyes from one word to another, their reading performance suffers. Regardless of how motivated to learn a child may be, continuing reading failure can lead to frustration and behavior problems in the classroom and at home.
Some children with learning difficulties exhibit specific behaviors of hyperactivity and distractibility. These children are often labeled as having "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" (ADHD). However, vision problems can elicit some of the very same signs and symptoms. Some children may be mislabeled as having ADHD when in fact what they have is a learning-related vision problem.
According to the American Optometric Association, signs of learning-related vision problems in a child, which parents and teachers should look for, include:
- Losing place and skipping words when reading
- Complaints of blurry vision
- Closing or covering one eye when reading
- Short attention span
- Trouble finishing written assignments
- Errors when copying from the board
- Poor reading comprehension
- Moving head excessively when reading
- Performance below a child's potential
Any child who is having difficulty in school should be evaluated for vision problems. A comprehensive vision examination can either rule them out as a contributing factor or identify and correct vision problems that are impacting the child's ability to learn.
Studies show that once a learning-related vision problem is diagnosed and treated, the child will be able to perform much more effectively in the classroom.
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