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!

The relationship between a behavioural optometrist and dyslexia is an interesting one, and at times a somewhat controversial one too!

Anything to do with dyslexia is one of the most controversial areas of health care and development. None of the experts can agree with each other on what constitutes dyslexia, and the best form of treatment.

However, the behavioural optometrist and dyslexia should have a very close relationship. This is? because in many instances a behavioural optometrist can provide a solution not just for dyslexia itself? It also addresses the many and multifaceted symptoms that are dyslexic child might produce.

So what does a behavioural optometrist do, and how can this possibly relate to the most common of learning problems in our society. Is there any common ground between the behavioural optometrist and dyslexia, and can we offer any solutions?

The Behavioural Optometrist and Dyslexia Treatment

Dyslexia treatment behavioural optometrist have a lot in common. Behavioural optometrist specialise in treating not only the eyes of children, but also the way in which they use their eyes to take information in. The vast majority of learning problems including dyslexia are visually based.? This is because over 80% of all information in the classroom is taken in through the eyes.

So what does a behavioural optometrist do that is different?

All optometrist will examine the eyes of children, but most optometrists, particularly those associated with the big chains, treat children like miniature adults. They do a good job of testing their eyes as far as deciding whether they are long or short sighted. They also can examine the eye health, but they do not go any further than this.

The behavioural optometrist performs all of the duties of a regular optometrist. They also looks at a number of aspects of visual perception and development. They look at how the eyes work together as a team, how they focus together, how much flexibility and stress the visual system is under while they are reading and a whole host of other tests.

They even look at how the brain visualises words for spelling.? Also how children process visual space (which relates to letter and number reversals) and how they actually move their eyes and control their eyes when reading.

What the Behavioural Optometrist Can Do for Dyslexia

It should be pointed out that in most cases the behavioural optometrist and dyslexia treatment does not involve use of coloured lenses, but rather uses spectacle lenses with optical powers to produce the same effect.

While dyslexia and behavioural problems are often reported by clinical psychologists, behavioural optometrist can actually have an effect on dyslexia and behaviour issues by reducing the stress the child is under when reading and studying. This in turn can reduce their frustration and improve their behaviour without undergoing any other treatments. In fact, I have given the appropriate reading lenses to many children and seen a decrease in frustration and an improvement in behaviour patterns within one month.

The frustration felt by the parents of a dyslexic child is often exacerbated by the fact that when they tried to obtain help for their child. Often all they get is a series of diagnoses rather than an actual form of treatment. For the behavioural optometrist and dyslexia children, there is a clear and easy to follow the path towards this treatment, with the appropriate lenses and vision therapy being available almost immediately.

Lenses and Vision Therapy

While lenses can cause a child to concentrate more effectively and for much longer and decrease frustration, they will not solve all of the problems associated with dyslexia. For example, you cannot put glasses on a child and expect them to spell better, or to start writing letters forward rather than in reverse. Any claims along those lines would certainly be bogus!

However, the behavioural optometrist combines lenses to relax the muscles in the eyes and cause the child concentrate more effectively with the appropriate vision therapy.? This vision therapy can train the visual skills that are lacking in the child’s development.? This can help dyslexia and its associated problems can often do this in a matter of months rather than years. The great news is that this does not involve drugs, medication or years of behavioural modification.

It also doesn’t involve coloured lenses that are socially unacceptable! Behavioural optometrist offers a treatment that is socially acceptable, targeted at the specific skills needed for learning and out of the way usually within 6 to 9 months.

This makes a trip to the behavioural optometrist an absolute must for every dyslexic, diagnosed or suspected. In my area, I even bulk bill most patients, meaning that most young dyslexia patients can be seen at no charge to the parents.

This is why after 30 years of practice, I believe that the relationship between behavioural optometrist and dyslexia is a strong one.? It can offer real and long-lasting improvement for children with learning disorders. This should provide peace of mind for parents, and something positive they can do to help their child rather than just getting another diagnosis and another label!

So while there are no specific dyslexia optometrist, the behavioural optometrist and dyslexia have always and continue to have a close relationship.

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!

 

learning disabilityIf 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.

The right vision therapy targeting the visual skills necessary for reading could be the break through that you are looking for to help your child overcome a learning disability.