If you are struggling to help a child with a learning disability then the question of eye tracking when reading may have come up more than once. Eye tracking refers to the ability of the reader to control their eye movements so that their eyes are pointing to the right place all the time when they are reading, and is frequently reported that a child with a learning disability also shows produced eye tracking ability.
What Causes a Learning Disability?
There are many possible causes of a learning disability, and poor eye tracking is known to be a possible contributory to it. This is not to say that poor eye tracking or the inability to control eye movements effectively is the only cause of a learning disability, but it certainly can be partially responsible for a number of learning disability symptoms a child may display.
A learning disability has many causes, from brain difficulties and hearing problems right through to the area in which I work as a Behavioral Optometrist, the visual system! Given that vision is the dominant sense used in the classroom, it follows that dysfunction in the visual system will often be a central cause in a child’s learning disability.
How Does Eye Tracking Contribute to a Learning Disability?
The control of your eye movements is an essential part of reading, so if a child cannot control their eye movements effectively, this can form the basis of a learning disability.
If your child is misreading small words, skipping lines and mixing up words, even though they know the words on the page, then they may have a learning disability that is centered around eye tracking. If you find that they lose their place easily, and that using a finger under the words significantly helps their reading flow, then eye tracking is almost certain to be a culprit.
Reading with a ruler under the line or a finger under the words can help to relieve some of the symptoms a child with a learning disability may feel, but it does not solve the problem: it only provides a temporary solution to the learning disability!
How Can You Improve a Learning Disability Using Eye Tracking?
The great news is that, if your child has a learning disability in which eye tracking and movement plays a part, the situation is treatable! I have been successfully reducing this type of learning disability for many years, using a combination of support lenses and, above all, vision therapy training for eye tracking.
Vision therapy consists of a series of exercises that you can do at home, wherever you are in the world, and see positive results in your child. They are simple yet highly effective in smoothing out eye movements and allowing your child to track correctly when they read, thereby increasing reading speed and accuracy and even enjoyment! These exercises have been clinically tested and proven to reduce misreading, line skipping and their losing place during reading , and they are a cheap yet potent way of seeing real improvement in your child’s reading ability, flow and concentration.