Is your child dyslexic? There is a lot of talk these days about dyslexia, probably more than ever before.  An evolution of the definition appears to have taken place, and this has caused confusion for many parents.

The Classic Dyslexic

The classic dyslexic as described in the original literature by people like Drs Adolph Kussmaul and Rudolf Berlin (who first used the word dyslexia to describe someone who, in his terms was “word blind”) implied that the condition was genetic, and thereby incurable.  Examples of such patients were not common, and they displayed an inability to recognise words, as well as the classic symptom of writing words in reverse.

The Modern Dyslexic

The problem is that, as the definition has morphed into pretty much any reading or writing difficulty, the assumption that the condition is incurable has not morphed in the same way.  Dyslexia is now an extremely common diagnosis in some fields, and the problem is that many teachers, and parents, feel that it is a problem that nothing and no one will be able to help in any way.

Several innovations have attempted to help the child dyslexic, the most famous being coloured lenses (Irlen lenses). Less well known is the kind of treatments we offer in our practice, where we use conventional, clear lenses and innovative vision therapy to help dyslexic kids.

How Can We Help?

I’ll e honest, I’m not a fan of labels, especially when they are applied to a child who has enough problems learning!  I see their usefulness at times, but I would rather prescribe a solution than a label any day.

Vision is the dominant sense in the classroom, and so it makes sense to examine it closely.  Almost every child with a learning problem can see the print, so clearly we are going to have to go beyond the current medical model of so-called 20/20 vision.

Just because a child can see the print, does not mean they can learn effectively!  Chimpanzees can see the print, but they cannot read, so again we are going to have to do better than a traditional eye examination.

Behavioural optometry looks at far more than a child’s ability to see, and we perform many complex tests looking at the child’s eye teaming and focussing, and their ability to decode and process words on a page.

Using specialised lenses, we find we can often dramatically improve a child’s focusing and concentration when it comes to reading and writing. But hey, concentration is only part of the solution, as any parent knows.

Vision Therapy to the Rescue

I have designed my own vision therapy course which trains the basic visual skills kids need when they learn. Glasses might help, but of the child is far behind we need to try something to catch them up fast.

Using our exclusive vision therapy course, many have seen not instant but sustained improvement in their children, whether they are dyslexic or carrying another label.

Why not have a look at our vision therapy here…

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Or better still, call this number and make a time to come in for your BULK BILLED eye examination…

5457 3333

Language based learning disability is one of the terms attributed to dyslexia. While the definition of dyslexia is changing constantly, it is estimated that up to 10% of the Australian population has this condition.

Possible Symptoms of a language based learning disability or dyslexia

A language based learning disability can present with a number of signs and symptoms, including slow, painful reading and decoding errors especially involving the order of letters.

Other symptoms include reduce comprehension, trouble with spelling, handwriting or recalling of words, and misreading words or lines.

Reduced concentration is also another symptom of a language based learning disability, will reduce concentration is not specific to that condition.

What many people do not realise is that most of the symptoms are also the symptoms of visual dysfunction. Because vision is the dominant sense in the classroom, with over 80% of all information coming through the eye gate, it stands to reason that vision can form a significant part of the problem.

Help for a language based learning disability

If your child is diagnosed with dyslexia or a language based learning disability, you need to explore all avenues to help them. Failure to help them will see them slip behind their peers year after year, and before you know it they will hate learning and school!

One of the easiest things to do for a child who is struggling from a learning disability is to get their eyes tested. A comprehensive eye test at a behavioural optometrist may uncover an diagnosed vision problems.

If this is the case, as is frequently seen in many school-age children, a simple reading or enhanced reading lends can go a long way towards improving concentration.

Lack of visual skills can be helped further by the right kind of vision therapy, such as our learning at lightspeed program. This program has a great track record for improving children who have a language based learning disability.

Other Strategies

There are also other strategies that you can use to help children who are struggling in their learning…

Provide a quiet area for activities like reading, and used books with larger print or bigger spaces between lines.

Provide books on CD or MP3, or provide lecturer notes.

Allow the use of a laptop or tablet in class.

Use multisensory teaching methods.

Teach children to use their logic rather than memorising a specific pathway

Present teaching material in small units rather than in large chunks.

While the strategies may be helpful in helping children cope with their problem, the first and most important step is getting a comprehensive eye tests from behavioural optometrist.

If your child is struggling with these problems, I would recommend glasses, vision therapy, behaviour changes, tutoring or anything else that will help them. Studies show that the earlier intervention occurs, the more effective long term is.

So the message is clear…

If you are concerned that your child might have dyslexia or language based learning disability, visit your behavioural optometrist and get in touch with experts in your area who work with learning difficulties as soon as possible!

Learning difficulties are faced by many children, and these are generally built up over time.

When they are young, the start of learning difficulties could be a result that is in the middle or just under the middle of the class.

However, any difficulties a child has when they’re young will generally increase over time, becoming a bigger learning problem after Grade 3.

How Do Learning Problems Start?

If you have received a substandard school report about your child, then you may be wondering if your child is struggling to learn. Even if they are averaging the class, this doesn’t mean that their learning is operating to its potential.

Any measure of learning difficulties is going to depend on the statistical norm, but learning problems will vary from child to child. A very bright child who is only average in the school performance is underperforming, and over time could face more difficulties in learning.

Most parents have the ability to understand the potential that their child has, and of us often in a better position than teachers who are assessing children in relation to other children in the class.

From the perspective of a behavioural optometrist, learning requires a number of aspects involving visual system.

Firstly, the child must be able to concentrate properly. If they have trouble teaming their eyes together or sustaining their focus then concentration is going to be an issue.

Most often this particular aspect of vision is dealt with adequately using reading lenses or our enhanced reading lenses.

The second aspect of learning difficulties is far more difficult to deal with…

Visual Skills and Learning Difficulties

When we learn, all of us develop the skills necessary to do the tasks. These skills are not strictly I skills, but they do involve the I interacting with the brain.

Skills like eye movements, focus and eye teaming control, visualisation for spelling, left right awareness for reversals, coding, sequencing and hand eye coordination are some of the skills that are required to read, write and spell effectively.

Clearly using reading glasses is not going to help any of these skills. The only way we can enhance the skills is vision therapy, and my vision therapy specifically targeted to develop the visual skills that we need to learn.

Having developed my therapy over a number of years, and in several cultures, I have found it effective in developing the visual skills necessary for learning in almost every case.

As a behavioural optometrist, I use both lenses and vision therapy to improve children with learning difficulties, and we have outstanding success in this area.

Is there any magic? Not really, this is pure science applied not only in the form of glasses but also in the form of our vision therapy.

Using the therapy we can develop skills in much the same way that a child goes to football practice will become a better football. We can enhance skills because we practice them, and in my therapy is mostly the form of games stop so in the same way that should be a better guitarist if you go to guitar practice, or a better dancer if you go to dance lessons, so if you do vision therapy you will overcome learning difficulties.

If your child is struggling at school, then click this link because we have a free webinar that will enable you to examine vision therapy we offer a full you commit to it.

 

Watch the Free Webinar Here

The bottom line is, it is better to do something than to sit around and do nothing but watching your child get further and further behind in school.

Using the right techniques, the right lenses and the right vision therapy, your child is not need to struggle with learning difficulties but can begin to make steps to overcoming them are reaching their full potential student.

Many parents ask, “Where can I get my child’s eyes tested?”, and this is particularly important question.

While you can get your child’s eyes tested all over the Sunshine Coast, you will not get testing that is specifically designed for children. In fact, most optical stores on the Sunshine Coast treat children like miniature adults.

However, behavioural optometrists like myself at Eye CU Optometrists believe that children need to be closely examined in a special and unique way.

 

What to Look for When I Get My Child’s Eyes Tested?

 

You can walk of the street anywhere and get should child’s eyes tested, but this does not mean that it is the best testing available.

A behavioural optometrist has usually spent many years examining the eyes of kids, and the bulk of the patients they see are in fact children.

This means that they can devote extra time and have bought extra and specialised equipment specifically designed to examine your child’s eyes, especially when it comes to questions of learning difficulties.

The average eye test will look at the seeing ability of your eyes, whether your eyes a longsighted, short sighted or astigmatic, and that will look at the health of your eyes.

In most cases, this is nowhere near enough to establish whether your child is eyes are affecting their school performance.

A behavioural optometrist such as myself goes far beyond the normal eye test, with a battery of tests for you child’s eyes including specialised focus and eye teaming tests, 3-D vision, colour vision and reading tests, just to name a few.

 

After You Get Your Child’s Eyes Tested, What Then?

 

The question you need to ask yourself as a parent after, “Where can I get my child’s eyes tested,” is, “What type of solutions can you offer?”

Most optometrists have a range of spectacle lenses that they can use to help your child see more effectively, if that is the problem.

However, behavioural optometrists use specialised lenses to support your child’s focus and eye teaming when they are reading, which can often improve their concentration and their learning ability.

Most optometrists, including many so-called behavioural optometrists, limit their treatment to a pair of glasses. However, if your child has learning difficulties or dyslexia, a pair of glasses will not satisfy all of their needs.

Reading glasses or progressive lenses for reading a fantastic for improving a child’s concentration. For some children this is enough, but for many children with learning problems they may be concentrating better, but they are not performing better all learning more effectively.

That’s where having extra modes of treatment like vision therapy becomes a powerful weapon in the fight against dyslexia.

There is no magic involved in vision therapy, but behavioural optometrists realise that if we train the eyes to work more effectively, move more effectively and team together more effectively, then we can begin to have huge impacts on a child’s learning.

But we don’t stop there I have designed vision therapy that can not only help with the teaming and workings of the eyes, but can affect the way the brain takes in and interpret information through the eyes.

So with the right training and vision therapy, we can help hand eye coordination for writing, left right awareness to stop kids writing backwards, and we can train visualisation to vastly improve spelling ability.

So if you find your child falling behind at school, or if you are concerned with their learning ability, then it’s not just about getting an eye test, it’s about getting the right eye test.

So if your child has learning disabilities or dyslexia, and if you are asking, “Where can I get my child’s eyes tested,” the answer must involve a complete and comprehensive assessment by a behavioural optometrist.

The Nightmare of Dyslexia

DyslexiaMany parents struggle with children who have been diagnosed as having dyslexia, and this can open a world of hurt and heartache. Once your child is diagnosed, it seems like you face a continuous uphill battle trying to get help for them that actually works. If you are like most parents, you not interested in the label, you are interested in helping your child improve in the of reading, writing and spelling.

Years ago the term dyslexia was reserved for people who were actually “word blind”, and it represented a minimal brain dysfunction that no one knew much about. However, these days the term dyslexia seems to refer to any child who is struggling to learn, especially those who reverse letters or numbers.

Most of these children struggling with dyslexia do not have brain dysfunction at all, but have developmental dysfunctions which can be helped. As a behavioural optometrist, I have spent the last 30 years helping these types of children, using lenses and vision therapy as tools to help them concentrate and focus longer, and to improve their actual school performance.

Dyslexia is Not about Glasses!

Many people are trying to find the right set of glasses that will cure dyslexia in the kids. The fact is, dyslexia is a developmental disorder and classes will not cure it, though they may help your child concentrate for longer and perform better.

I often use support lenses, which are special glasses designed to help children concentrate and focus on their schoolwork longer. This improves their concentration, and can lead to improvement in performance, but it does not necessarily cause an improvement in their learning.

The Missing Link in Dyslexia

I believe that most dyslexics experience developmental delays in the skills that they need to perform well in the classroom. These skills include eye movements, focus, eye teaming, left-right awareness, visualisation, hand eye coordination and a number of other skills.

While I cannot offer dyslexic children a quick fix, or a magic pair of glasses, coloured or otherwise, what I can offer them is the chance to do vision therapy and trained the visual skills that they need to achieve in school.

This therapy can be done at home and is extremely cost efficient. I do not have a single child doing this therapy that is not improving, either lot or a little.

So if your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia, don’t put up with the nightmare any longer than you have to! A behavioural optometrist could be the answer to your prayers and most often the solution to the nightmare of dyslexia.

dyslexia treatment at schooDyslexia treatment is often talked about these days.  In fact, dyslexia is a commonly diagnosed condition in children today, and over recent years the definition has come to refer to any child struggling at school.

As a result of the broadening of this definition, many children are being diagnosed as dyslexic, and while some programmes exist to help them, many parents struggle to come up with positive ways to help their children.

As a behavioural optometrist for nearly 30 years, I see children diagnosed as dyslexic every day, and I see the confusion and frustration in their parent’s eyes every day too! Seems like there is no shortage of professionals ready to diagnose the condition, but very few offer anything of substance other than a label and instructions like, “Sit at the front of the class and do remedial reading with them.”

My job and indeed my passion is to offer a valid alternative to a simple label, a glossy report and a few, simple instructions.

I want to see kids improve in their reading, writing and spelling and I will stop at nothing to help them!

So here are a few thoughts about the various dyslexia treatment methods used to help children with dyslexia…

 

1. Remedial Reading as Dyslexia Treatment

This is, of course, an essential part of helping children, but most often it is a frustrating exercise for parents, teachers and especially the students. Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over, expecting a different result. Based on this definition, reading support is insanity!

The hope is that, doing what the child hates (and is bad at) over and over again, we will suddenly, one day, magically see an improvement in reading. Often doesn’t happen, or if it does it takes a long while to see this increase.

Now, reading help plays a big part in overcoming dyslexia, but not on its own. When used with some of the later methods the results can be absolutely stunning, so don’t write your teachers and reading tutors off just yet!

2. Drugs as Dyslexia Treatment

Medicating children is never one of my favourite directions, but many paediatricians hand out Ritalin or Dexamphetamine like Ventolin for an asthmatic. It may decrease hyperactivity and sometimes even increase concentration, but frequently it does not result in learning improvement for dyslexics.

3. Irlen Lenses for Dyslexia Treatmen

The use of coloured lenses for dyslexia is frequently touted as a cure, but I would have to say that, from what I have seen in clinical practice over the last 30 years, the jury is still out as to the actual effectiveness of the treatment.

A lot of anecdotal evidence exists, but little in the way of scientific backing. My opinion is that the condition, called scotopic sensitivity, does exist and that the colours can help some children. However, they are grossly overpriced and grossly over-prescribed, with one teacher recently reporting that of the 4 kids in her class with Irlen lenses, only one had show increased concentration, which had quickly waned.

Certainly the claims of coloured lenses curing dyslexia are exaggerated, and given the price of the treatment someone somewhere is making a lot of money from dyslexics!

 

4. Conventional Optometry

Let me make this clear, I am an Optometrist, but a very unconventional one! Standard Optometrists test children, but their criteria for diagnosing and treating dyslexics is very narrow. Essentially, a distance test is done to see if they are longsighted, short sighted or astigmatic to a large degree. If they are not, parents are told that their child’s eyes are 20/20, which is Optometry-speak for fine, and their dyslexia cannot be helped.

I long ago discarded this way of diagnosing in favour of something that actually works!

 

5. Behavioural Optometry in Dyslexia Treatment

As a behavioural optometrist, I want to do more when examining a dyslexic child. I will test distance like a regular Optometrist, but also do many tests at the near point, the place where the child actually reads and writes. Many times I find that despite a child not being longsighted, their focus and eye teaming abilities are stressed and struggling. When I find this, clear lenses can be prescribed to help the child concentrate and begin to improve in their learning.

Do these glasses cure dyslexia? Are they the “magic bullet” and the answer to every parent’s prayers? No hey are not, but in over 80% of cases I have seen it is part, and often a significant part of the dyslexia story.

My next step is to examine a child’s visual skills, which are always lacking in children diagnosed with dyslexia. I can use vision therapy to enhance these, and have successfully done so for hundreds of so-called dyslexics. The therapy takes time and commitment, but at least it is something parents can do which has a 100% chance of help to at least some degree.

 

I believe that the best hope for diagnosed dyslexics is to combine behavioural optometry with remedial reading, and in doing this I have seen incredible results over a 6-9 month period.

So if you suspect that your child might be dyslexic, or even if they already have the label, I recommend getting a comprehensive behavioural optometry examination before you do anything else to try and help your child!

 

Best eye test for children on the Sunshine CoastIf you have a child you may be looking for the best eye test for children in your area.  Before we consider this, we need to recognize that children are not miniature adults, but rather need to be tested with the right instruments in a way that is designed exclusively for their eyes, while it centers on how they use their eyes in the classroom.

Most Sunshine Coast optometrists are great at testing adults and looking for ocular disease, but an eye test for kids is a completely different situation.  Kids don’t always process visual information the same as adults and their method of dealing with the pressure and stress on their vision is completely different, especially when we consider how much time they currently focus on near tasks like computers, tablets and smart phones!

The right eye test must include the standard tests like measuring their prescription (whether they are farsighted, nearsighted or have astigmatism) and their ocular health, but any eye test for children cannot stop there!

It is vitally important that children see a behavioural optometrist, and make sure that things like the focus, how the eyes team together, how they move across a page, convergence and 3-D perception are measured.  If the child has learning difficulties such as dyslexia, further tests can be done dealing with how the child takes in and processes the information they obtain via vision.  This includes visualization, direction skills, coding and sequencing.

This is why a behavioural optometrist like myself does more in an eye test for kids than any other optometrist, and why I use not only special lenses, frames and glasses but also offer exclusive, specialized exercises called vision therapy to help them, which centers on learning.

So on the Sunshine Coast or anywhere else, the best eye test for children may not necessarily be the nearest!  My patients travel from far and wide to have their vision exam, because they know that I will work hard to offer them ways to treat their presenting problems, while helping them save money on the frames and glasses we offer. This is especially true for learning disabilities where I use special techniques that centers a child’s specific vision needs when learning, and also in myopia or short sightedness treatment, where keeping children out of full time glasses is a priority.

So if you care for your child, don’t just get a regular vision exam or check up!  Visit a family behavioural optometrist and get the best eye test for children in your area.

Learning Disabilities DyslexiaLearning disabilities dyslexia and reading problems of various types are on the increase in our classrooms, and teachers are almost powerless to combat this phenomenon!  There is hope for parents, however, because many of those children diagnosed as dyslexics can be helped as this article will outline…

What is the Difference Between Learning Disabilities Dyslexia and Other Reading Problems?

One of the problems you face when considering learning disabilities dyslexia and other reading disorders is that there is often no stable, universally agreed definition for the conditions.  What one expert calls dyslexia, another calls a reading problem, and when you combine them all they add up to learning disabilities!  So, because so many use the term dyslexia, I find it easier when talking to my patients to divide dyslexia into two types: learning disabilities dyslexia and true or brain dysfunction dyslexia.

Dyslexia in its traditional sense, is a much more specific condition than a simple learning disability, involving some form of brain dysfunction and, unlike the other type (learning disabilities dyslexia), it cannot be easily overcome.

True dyslexia occurs in an inner part of the brain and, although some colored lens therapies seem to help in a few cases, dealing with an actual dysfunction within the brain is a very difficult task indeed!

Should You Just Cope with Learning Disabilities Dyslexia?

Unlike the dysfunction mentioned previously, learning disabilities dyslexia is more a dysfunction of the processing of information coming to the child through the visual system, and as such is not a true case of dyslexia at all.  The brain is fine, but the processing and understanding of visual input is the culprit.  This is not a true dyslexia, but is often diagnosed by educationists as dyslexia.

The really great news is that this type of problem can be aided by easy to apply techniques.  In most of these cases, the visual skills that most children have developed to help them process information and interpret and understand their reading material are underdeveloped, and this is great news for parents because, unlike traditional dyslexia or word blindness, we can easily do something about this!

So, unlike brain dysfunction dyslexia, learning disabilities dyslexia can be positively influenced by anything which can improve or develop the visual skills needed when reading, thereby greatly improving reading ability.

This is not theory, it is fact because I have worked for over 25 years overcoming learning disabilities dyslexia which others have said is something the child must simply learn to cope with!  The fact is that skills like eye tracking, focusing, eye coordination, visual memory, sequencing, laterality coding and the like can be easily improved using special techniques.

Vision Therapy Will Help Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia?

Using Vision Therapy, which is targeted vision exercises and activities (many in the form of games), we can actually see real and measurable improvement in a child’s reading ability.  And this can be done at a fraction of the cost that many other types of learning disabilities treatment cost, from the comfort of your own home!

So check out the best vision therapy online for a cost effective and powerful way of improving your child’s reading ability and learning problems.  If your child has been diagnosed with learning disabilities dyslexia or reading problems, there is a way you can help them today!

vision and learningIs there a link between learning and vision?  If you can see the print, is that the extent to which vision is useful, or does the process of learning require more than just the ability to see print?

When some Optometrists test a child with learning problems, the result often conveyed to parents is something along the lines of, “This child has 20/20 vision”, or “This child sees perfectly well.”  The underlying implication is that, if a child can see, they should be able to learn, but anyone who has worked with learning disabilities as long as I have realizes that nothing could be further from the truth!

Learning and Vision are Related

Let’s be clear from the outset, sight and vision are different.  Whether a child can see the print or not; that is sight.  But vision goes way beyond this, because vision is not only how a child sees, but how they interpret, understand and absorb the visual information.

Let me illustrate.  I am a fairly intelligent guy, university trained and quite experienced in life.  My distance vision is good (20/20 at least), yet on a recent trip to Singapore, I saw a street full of signs in Chinese, and I could not understand ANY of them!  Not even one.  In fact, I could not even attempt to pronounce them.  I saw them, but I don’t understand Chinese.

In a sense, I don’t have the code for the written Chinese language.  I can see it, but I cannot understand what the symbols mean.  I can even copy it, but it is without meaning to me.  And for many children with learning problems, they experience something similar with English words.

Improve Vision and Learning Can Improve Too!

If a child sees the print, I cannot really improve their sight.  But if a child struggles to hold their focus, or coordinate their eyes as a team, or if they cannot remember the code or symbols, these we can help with.  If a child cannot move their eyes efficiently, misreads or misunderstands words, or even if they struggle to concentrate on reading, these we can help.

If we can help the child to view information and absorb it comfortably and efficiently, then we can certainly improve their reading, writing and spelling.

This is the domain of a behavioural optometrist, and this the profession that I have passionately pursued, because I want to make a difference in the lives of children with learning disabilities.

If we can help a child with their vision, as opposed to just their sight, then we can help them overcome incredible odds when it comes to learning.

Improving vision can often be the key to solving learning problems, and my joyous task as a behavioural optometrist is to help children improve their vision and learning together.

Vision and Learning Problems

vision and learningVision and Learning are closely related, with vision being the dominant sense in the classroom and the main way in which new information comes to a child.  Yet it is one of the most frequently overlooked facets of a child’s learning experience!

Behavioural Optometrists believe that vision is an easy and obvious place to start when trying to find help for a child’s learning problems.  Most often, it has very little to do with whether a child can see the print.  The bigger issue is how they take in, process and understand the letters and words they are seeing.

There’s more to Vision and Learning

Most optometrists measure sight, and proclaim a child fit to learn if they can see the print and are not long or short sighted.  I hear phrases like, “My child has 20/20 vision,” which means they can see the words, but can they flow, can they understand and can they actually read?

There is far more to vision and learning than just being able to see.  I see perfectly well, yet I visit a Chinese city and despite a University education, despite a reasonable intelligence and good vision, I cannot understand the signs!  I can’t even try and pronounce them, yet I see them!  Clearly there is more to learning and reading than just seeing!

The fact is I cannot understand Chinese.  I don’t know the code, so the symbols are meaningless to me.  Children with learning disabilities can experience this with the words they try to understand, so a true test for vision and learning must go far beyond just a child’s seeing ability.

A True Test of Vision and Learning

When Behavioural Optometrists like me examine children, we want to go beyond the simple prescription and seeing ability of the child.  We will look at how the child’s visual system balances as they read, how they move their eyes across the page, how they coordinate their eyes as a team and how they understand and interpret the symbols on a page.

Our aim is to examine HOW the child learns, and how they use the visual skills that are essential for good learning.  Now most kids develop these during grade school, but children with learning problems often fail to develop or under develop these skills.  The best news of all is that using a combination of special lenses and targeted eye exercises (vision therapy) we can improve these basic building blocks of vision and learning.

The result is that we can have a significant impact on a child’s learning ability if we perform the right eye tests with your child, and use the right glasses or therapy to help them.

The Eye CU Difference

At Eye CU, we want to go further and help your children, especially if they are struggling with their learning.  We do this because we care, and because we want to improve your child’s ability to learn effectively.  We do it because we are passionate about it.

We do this because we believe there is a strong relationship between vision and learning, and our calling is to maximize the potential of all children, even if they are struggling with learning problems.