A Kid’s Eye Test

A kid’s eye test is considered a necessary part of the preparation for going to school. Most experts agree that, if there is a significant vision problem, this will adversely affect their learning.

However, a kid’s eye test becomes even more important if your child is struggling at school in their learning, especially reading, writing or spelling. I want to reveal to you the types of things that are done in a kid’s eye test, and why not all eye tests are the same…

What’s in a Kid’s Eye Test, and Why Should I see You?

There are many aspects to eye examinations, so not all eye tests target the same things.? It stands to reason that eye tests for children target the aspects of vision that are important for a child, especially when it comes to their learning.? So a standard adult eye test, as good as it is for detecting eye disease and the need for corrective spectacle lenses, does not necessarily apply when it comes to children.

It all starts with being able to relate to the child. Kids tend to be frightened or apprehensive when it comes to a kid eye examination, so relating to them is an essential part of testing.? Given the fact that many people, including my wife, think I have never really grown up, this enables me to relate to and communicate with children.? It also helps to set their fears aside and to establish rapport with them.

I do not know what most Optometrists do differently when they see a child, but I can reveal what I do and the tests that I perform on a child, especially a child with learning problems, ADHD, ASD or dyslexia.? Here’s what I test for…

1. Clear distance (Visual Acuity)

short sightedness in childrenEvery Optometrist should test for a child’s seeing ability.? A child should be able to see distant objects clearly and sharply. This clarity is called visual acuity and is usually measured using the familiar Snellen eye?chart which has letters of steadily decreasing size. Children who cannot read yet are usually tested using shapes, so here at Eye CU, we can test children of almost any age, or children with any disability. ?Problems with eye teaming can cause things like a lazy eye, which will also affect visual acuity, so an kid eye exam is important even before school commences.

2. Change in Focus (Accommodation)

A kid’s eye test must include testing of their focus ability.? Kids focus differently to adults, and many times their ability to focus fatigues during the school day.? The child must be able to do two things efficiently with their focus:? They have to be able to change quickly and effectively from near to distance and back again (such as when they are copying off the board), and they also have to be able to sustain their focus on a near object like a book for a long period of time without tiring (such as when they are doing homework). ?We test both of these in children routinely, and a kid’s eye test mus include this type of testing.

The most common symptoms of a focus or an accommodation vision problem include inconsistent distance or near blur, sore eyes, headaches, losing of place copying off the board and, most common of all, POOR CONCENTRATION FOR READING!

3. Aiming the Eyes (Eye Teaming)

Another important Kid’s eye?Test deals with Eye coordination, which is the ability to team two eyes together, having them fixate (look at) the same point in space with comfort and without double vision.

If the eyes do not point precisely at the same object this can cause headaches, poor concentration, tiredness, confusion or, in severe cases, double vision. This is sometimes called convergence insufficiency, and if present it greatly affects children when they read, causing them to lose their place, misread words or skip lines.

4. Eye Movements (Saccades and Tracking)

kids readingEye movement control is another essential part of a paediatric?eye exam, and it is essential for reading and ball sports, yet most Optometrists never perform this Kid’s Vision Test!

There are two main types of eye movements we look at in an eye exam for children, and both require the eyes to work together as a team. The first type is the quick and accurate movements which are used, for example, when the eyes move from one word to another while reading. These are jumping movements which are called ?saccades?.

The second type of eye movements are known as ?tracking? and these should be smooth and accurate. Tracking movements are used when the eyes follow a moving object such as a ball in flight or vehicles in traffic.

Children who lose their place a lot while reading, mix up words, misread words, skip lines and often have difficulty watching the ball while playing sport. These kids may have poorly developed eye movement skills, and they can be easily helped by the right type of vision therapy.

5. Depth perception

Depth perception is another aspect of a kid’s eye test which is often overlooked. ?It involves?the ability to determine relative distance, recognised by many as the 3D we see in TVs and at the movies. Accurate depth perception is also needed to hit a ball while playing sports, or to park a car accurately (not that many kids are doing that!). Depth perception is easily tested in a kid eye exam at?Eye CU, and my experience is that many children compromise this important skill in an effort to concentrate when they face problems with their focus or eye teaming.

6. Eye-hand Coordination

Another critical part of a?Children’s Vision Test is eye-hand coordination, which involves the eyes directing and controlling the hands.? It is especially important in writing, and also in many sports, especially small ball sports like cricket and tennis.? In younger children it plays an important role in the formation of letters and words on a page, and difficulties with eye-hand coordination are often picked up in Prep or Kindy kids when they struggle to colour in the lines.

7. Visual Memory

child seeingThe skill of visual memory is essential in reading, and especially in spelling.? Poor visual memory skills almost always result in poor spelling, but Darin?s special vision therapy program can help children to learn spelling words quicker and more effectively by training visual memory.

And let’s face it, if a child cannot visualise and remember sight words, how can they read effectively?? This is an area I love to work with, because the results are so tangible yet easy to achieve!

8. Peripheral Vision??

Peripheral or side vision is the ability to see and interpret what is happening to the sides of our vision while looking straight ahead. It is especially important for adults when driving a car and is also is key to playing a lot of sports.

However, you may not realise that it is also an important part of reading and writing for a child, helping them to maintain their place more easily and allowing them to flow as they read.? Try reading through a toilet roll so you can only see a word at a time and you will experience some of what children with learning problems go through.? That’s why a kid’s eye test is so important,. and should go beyond just the ability to see clearly on a page.

9. Spatial Awareness

Spatial awareness is another key developmental skill, and if this is not correctly developed, kids start to write letters and words backward. While many parents are terrified of this symptom thinking it equates absolutely with dyslexia, we have had tremendous success training spatial awareness for stopping kids reversing.

 

A Kid’s Vision Test is Special

I believe that a kid’s vision test should be a special experience.? Relating to children and drawing out the correct answers can give insight into their struggles with learning, and while vision is not the only consideration when it comes to learning problems, it is certainly one of the main areas parents should look at.

One of the huge advantages that the visual system offers us in learning is that it is so easily and safely treated. We can use things like reading glasses and vision therapy which safe, easy to administer and very cheap compared to many of the other areas considered in treating children who struggle in school.

So if your child is struggling to learn to read, write and spell effectively, then a kid’s eye test is a great place to start!

 

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

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.

Online vision therapyOnline vision therapy is a very effective means of establishing the visual skills a child requires in order to learn effectively. Unlike traditional eye workouts, which is attempting to strengthen muscles, online vision therapy is created to develop and train and visual abilities.

What is Online Vision Therapy and How Does It Work?

Training is a principle that the majority of individuals comprehend …

If we desire a youngster to be great at anything in life, we do not hesitate to train them. For instance, if they desire to learn to play the piano we will certainly send them to piano practice. If they wish to play football, we will send them to football practice. When they go to these practices, they are not in fact performing in front of an audience or playing a game at the highest level, but what they are doing is drilling the skills that they require to carry out on the huge phase.

However, when it pertains to checking out, we simply throw them on the field and hope they develop the skills they require!

Exactly what vision skills and? abilities am I talking about?

We are not born having the ability to read or do things required to read effectively. We can not regulate our eye movements so that they can move from one word to the next with confidence and accuracy, we can not team our focus and convergence so words are clear and single when we read. We do not understand the best ways to visualize to assist with spelling and word recognition. We cannot link? our eyes and our hands to assist in writing.

These are all abilities that we are not born with, yet we need them to perform properly in school.? In fact, we start developing them before we even get to school and continue this development as we grow through the early grades of education.
Some youngsters, particularly those with learning disabilities or dyslexia, are way behind in their visual abilities.

We can force them to do reading and writing, which they hate, and hopefully, gradually, they will gain at least some of the skills required to do the task. However, a much more direct and efficient method of enhancing them is to train the actual skills they use directly, and we can do this using online vision therapy.

Making use of vision therapy, Darin Browne is training the abilities kids need to perform well in school, and the terrific thing is that he makes use of a series of targeted games and activities that are fun for kids!? Using these specialized games and therapy techniques, he find that kids really want to strive to do the activities, and we see a comparable boost in visual abilities.

So if your child is having problems with reading, writing or spelling, don’t keep throwing them on the field expecting that, if they do even more of exactly what they hate, in some way, amazingly, it will all turn around and they will obtain the abilities had to carry out well. Didn’t Einstein say that the definition of insanity os doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results?

Instead of making them do more of what they dislike, look into online vision therapy, take matters into your own home and begin training your youngster’s visual skills yourself, and give them the abilities they require to perform well in reading, writing and spelling.

at home vision therapyAt home vision therapy is a series of exercises designed to change a child?s visual system and improve their learning ability, from the comfort of your own home.?? With vision being responsible for over 80% of the information a child absorbs in the classroom, it makes sense that at home vision therapy can help children with learning disabilities.? But what many parents who have attempted at home vision therapy ask is, ?Does have to be so boring??

As a behavioural optometrist I can assure you that doing eye exercises are no fun, but rather pain and hard work.? Watching a pencil tip come closer to your nose 20 times is strenuous, unpleasant and most of all, boring!? You may be able to concentrate a bit longer, but at what price, and then how long does it last?

At Home Vision Therapy Needs to be Fun

Even as an optometrist, I can see that a lot of eye exercises are far from fun.? They rely on repetition, in much the same way as exercises at the gym do to have an effect.? Don?t worry, I hate gym exercises too, and I find them boring!

So the challenge was there to attempt to design a type of at home vision therapy that not only had a positive effect on learning, but was also fun enough that the child might actually want to do them!? Is it possible that 20 minutes a day of games could actually help a child with a learning disability?

After a lot of research I recognized that some at home vision therapy tasks are simply hard work and cannot be made fun at all!? Pencil convergence, mentioned above, will never be a favourite that?s for sure!? However, many of the visual skills that are require for a child to learn effectively can be enhanced by playing particular, targeted games which develop specific skills.

So if I concentrate on developing the skills needed by children in learning, then it is possible to design an at home vision therapy program which is not only effective, but is also fun!

And that?s what I have done!

The Pros and Cons of At Home Vision Therapy

ticks a number of boxes for a behavioural optometrist.? It can be done at home, without direct supervision, and this means it can be done far more often that in-office therapy.? I am convinced that doing a little bit every day is far more effective than doing a lot once a week, and we have found this to be true in our patients.

It can be done at whatever time suits the parents, and it can be done anywhere in the world because they do not have to travel to my office for help.? If planned correctly, at home vision therapy can also be made fun as well as challenging, which means that getting children to do the work is a whole lot easier!? It can also be made cheaper than the in-office variety!

The only real limitation for at home vision therapy is that not ever condition can be successfully treated.? Turned eyes and lazy eyes, for example, cannot be easily treated by at home vision therapy alone.

Developing visual skills for learning, however, can very effectively be enhanced by consistently done at home vision therapy, especially when the tasks are fun and changing regularly.? I have found that working with children in this way, rather than forcing them to do things they hate and which hurt, yields better results than doing tasks in the office.? Parents can be kept consistent via emails (we call it being ?gently nagged?) and kids can feel like they are achieving real results.

So parents, if you are slogging through miles of mind-numbing home activities then take my advice and stop right now!? Replace it with genuine, proven at home vision therapy which is fun, challenging and anything but boring!

Vision therapy at home is a cost effective way of helping a child with learning disabilities.? It involves training the visual skills required for effective learning, and can be a powerful ally in the struggle to help children to learn reading, writing and spelling.? It presents unique problems for the optometrist, because they are not in control of every aspect, yet for parents it provides safe and convenient therapy that can have a major impact on their child!

The Advantages of Vision Therapy at Home

Not all vision therapy can be done at home effectively, because it requires equipment and understanding far beyond what the average parent can obtain.? This is especially true of therapies which target huge visual problems like lazy eyes or turned eyes, especially if neurological problems are involved such as is often the case with eyes that turn inwards.

However, despite obvious limitations, there are many advantages of vision therapy at home for parents of children with learning disabilities.? These advantages include?

It is Convenient:? can be done at any time, without an appointment with an eye care professional.? Some parents prefer the morning, some incorporate it with the child?s homework and some parents vary it according to their own shiftwork.

No Travel Required:? With vision therapy at home, there are no appointments and no travel necessary to the doctor?s offices.? It is done in the comfort of home, in surroundings a child knows, loves and understands and this can help with the effectiveness of the therapy.

It?s Available Everywhere:? Millions of people in the world do not live near a behavioural optometrist and as such have no access to their services, including vision therapy.? But home based therapies are available to parents anywhere in the world, at any time.? They can visit their local optometrist for an eye test, then access specialized vision therapy at home to help their child?s learning.

It is Cost Effective:? At a behavioural optometrist vision therapy may cost thousands of dollars over a number of months, including the visits, the homework and assessments.? is often a much more effective product, so for the cost of six weeks in office therapy you are able to get an 8 month program, for example.

It is Transferable:? is applicable to many children who have learning disabilities, and as such can be transferred to other children as well.? With our program, many parents have involved the siblings of the child they are targeting and been able to see improvement in the learning abilities of all children, all for the same price.

It is Fun!? As a parent do you enjoy spending time with your learning disabled child attempting to do homework?? Is it fun, or is it a battle, possible even all-out war!? From your child?s point of view, you are asking them to do something they hate and are no good at, after already spending the entire day at school doing stuff they hate and are no good at!? Any wonder your child reacts with frustration and anger!

However, homework does not have to be like that!? If you invest some time in training the skills your child needs to learn, you can make homework a time of the enjoyable pursuit of knowledge.? Give them the skills they need and you can change their attitude to reading and homework.? They will also feel they can do the tasks, and feel good about themselves and what they can achieve.

You asking them to do boring, traditional vision therapy at home cause pretty much the same response that homework does.? That?s why I have spent years designing and researching fun ideas and games that kids want to be a part of, yet which successfully develop the skills they need to achieve at school.

So if the itch you currently have is to help your child do better at reading, writing and spelling, then the right type of vision therapy at home could be the answer you are looking for!

vision therapy at homeVision therapy at home can be one of the most effective ways of helping children with learning disabilities.? As a parent, you are able to do it at any hour of the day or night when you choose, without having to make a specific time to travel to the optometrist.? You can also do it in the comfort of your own home, with not appointments and no travel necessary!

But doing vision therapy at home with a child can sometimes be a nightmare!? Children can get frustrated with the constant repetition and mind numbing boredom of traditional exercises, and then start acting out making mum or dad?s life miserable!

What is the missing element when you attempt vision therapy at home?? It is the element of fun!

Some Vision Therapy at Home Is Not Fun!

As a behavioural optometrist I have recognized the effectiveness of home therapy for years, but have always had trouble getting children and parents to do the exercises.? When I tried them on my daughter I realized that they were often boring and dull, as well as sometimes painful and uncomfortable!? She hated them, I hated them, she hated me as well, and the entire process broke down!

Sound familiar?? The missing element is having fun, pure and simple.

So I went back to the drawing board and started again, realizing this time that I needed to inject an element of fun into the process.? If you want a child to do a specific exercise, making it fun means that they will do it with enthusiasm and a smile rather than a big screaming performance.

My Vision Therapy at Home is Fun!

Let me take one of the therapies I frequently used, which involved circling a bunch of numbers three times each, but only in the right order.? Sounds simple, if not a bit dull, but here?s the twist? The numbers are replaced by numbered flies, and the task involves circling each fly 3 times to ?swat it?.? Then we add a stopwatch, and the child is not only swatting flies but racing the clock to beat his best time as well.

Same task, but fun is added and the child is now keen to beat yesterday?s time and kill as many mosquitoes as he can!

This is just one example from many in which injecting the element of fun has a very positive effect on the outcome of vision therapy at home.? It helps if the optometrist is a little crazy like myself, and if they basically are a child who never grew up (the proverbial Peter Pan Behavioural optometrist if you will).? But my aim was to get kids doing the vision therapy effectively, and adding fun makes the tasks far more effective.

It is true that some vision therapy exercises are dull and cannot be significantly made fun, but I try and balance any dull, strenuous therapies with some fun activities each week.? If the child knows that a fun exercise is coming they will often see the boring one off in order to get to the fun one, and so even the boring ones are being performed effectively.

Vision Therapy at Home can be Effective

It is well established that therapy at home, if done properly with the right guidance, can be an effective tool to help children with learning disabilities.? However, it can just as easily turn into all-out war at home, and this is the main reason for parents stopping what could be the very tool they are seeking to help their child!

Keeping things fun, enjoyable and challenging for your child can often hold the key to doing the activities often enough to have a positive effect on their learning ability.? Making things fun means increasing compliance, enjoying the time together and seeing better results, so if you want fun and effective vision therapy let me know!

Adding the element of fun to your vision therapy at home could be the answer to your child?s learning disabilities.

vision therapy for childrenVision therapy for children has long been looked to as a possible solution to learning disabilities.? However, there are various types of vision training for children, some of which are more traditional and others which are cutting new ground in their development.? Forward thinking behavioural optometrists are finding that employing both of these styles of tasks is seeing major improvements in kids with learning disabilities.

Traditional Vision Therapy for Children

Traditional treatment for the eyes and vision tends to centre on techniques that improve measurable characteristics of the eyes in the consulting room rather than the brain.? These may have a positive effect on a child?s ability to learn, but at times they may not directly correlate to an improvement in how they learn in the classroom.

Included in these types of vision therapies are focus, eye coordination, convergence and some eye movement training, which certainly can help but may not necessarily be translated into increased school performance.? That is not to say that they do not have value, and in optometry terms we can actually measure improvement, but the point is that these types of eye exercises may not necessarily improve results.

A New Breed of Vision Therapy for Children

There is a fresh and exciting change in visual therapies for kids which are aiming to have a more direct effect on how they learn rather than a change in their eyes alone.? These new training ideas revolve around techniques which they use directly in their learning experience, and they are tailor made for children with learning disabilities.

These newer treatments target things like eye movements, to improve the flow and expression of reading, visualization, to increase the ability of children to learn new spelling words and other developmental areas such as coding, sequencing and directionality.

This type of program for children is yielding real results by influencing both vision and the brain and increasing the classroom performance because they are developing or coaching the actual skills kids need to perform well in their education.

Combining Both Gives Children the Best Vision Therapy

Simply training visual skills may help a child to perform better, but if the more traditional aspects of therapies are ignored, the fundamental vision problem will limit improvement.? Therefore, the best approach is to combine both aspects of the treatment for children so as to gain maximum improvement for the eyes both in the optometry office and the classroom.

I believe that any child struggling to learn needs to have a complete behavioural optometry assessment to ensure that any underlying visual problems are dealt with.? Treatment of such problems might include reading lenses or the more traditional vision therapy for children.

Beyond this, the newer style of therapies for kids could hold the key for real and sustained improvement.? By targeting the skills they use in the classroom, we are able to quickly develop the tools a child needs to learn and improve rapidly.

And after all, this is what most parents want.? A change in the optometry office is good, but an improvement in school results is what matters most, and this can definitely be helped by using the right vision therapy for children.

vision therapy exercisesVision therapy exercises are often thought of as being eye exercises, yet they go far beyond the scope of traditional therapies for the eyes.? Eye exercises are often criticized as being hard work, laborious and ineffective when it comes to children with learning difficulties, and while these criticisms certainly hold true for most eye therapies they are not true for vision therapy exercises.

The Difference between Eye Exercises and Vision Therapy Exercises

The basic premise of vision training is that the eyes are attached to the brain.? Therefore, while we may incorporate some aspects of traditional eye exercises, we need to address the relationship between the eyes and the brain.

While older eye exercises supposedly try to strengthen muscles or readdress imbalances in the muscles, our intensive vision therapy goes beyond this as it attempts to modify what the brain understands from input from the vision system.? This opens the scope for helping children interpret and understand what they see, not just getting the eyes to see it, and so we can investigate and train a far wider range of skills in a child with learning disabilities.

What Can Vision Therapy Train?

Vision training has the ability to sharpen a large number of skills that are required by children to read, write and spell effectively.? While some more traditional treatment is incorporated, notably those which promote eye coordination and focusing, the greater emphasis is placed on vision exercises which directly impact on a child?s visual skills and hence school performance.

So what are the areas which these visual therapies train, and how do these have an effect on a child?s ability to learn?? As someone who is designing and applying these ideas for my patients who have problems with how they learn, I am uniquely placed to be able to share exactly what we are targeting and how improving vision and visual performance can influence learning.

1. Focus:? Most kids use this in two main ways.? They must be able to change focus quickly and accurately, especially for tasks like copying off the board, and most importantly they need to be able to sustain it over a period of time, enabling them to concentrate for longer without getting sore or tired eyes, headaches or being distracted.

2. Eye Teaming:? We have two eyes, and they need to work as a team, both when they are relaxed looking at a distant object, and especially when they are converged when viewing a book or computer.? If they fight one another this causes stress on the vision system and symptoms like double vision, suppressing one eye and reduced concentration on near work.

These are the more traditional treatment techniques that we incorporate into our vision training, but the true power of this program comes when we address the next areas?

3. Eye Movements or Tracking:? To read, kids must move their gaze across the page and confidently know that they are pointing to the next word in order to read well.? Inaccuracies in this skill cause them to misread words, skip words, skip lines or lose their place, and this skill responds extremely well to the right training.

4. Visualization or Visual Memory:? This skill is the very building block that we use to remember spelling words, and without it kids struggle to learn spelling, and regularly misspell words.? It is loads of fun to train, responds very well to our training methods and enables them to learn vast amounts of words quickly and easily, exploding their vocabulary by hundreds of words.? Learn this skill and spelling becomes easy!

5. Laterality and Directionality: Training these skills with our system reprograms the special map in a child?s mind and rapidly teaches them rights and lefts.? This usually entirely eliminates letter reversals, even in young children.

6. Eye-Hand Coordination and Bilaterality Training:? Using fun gross and fine motor activities we can help kids to have greater control of their pencil when they are writing, as well as improving their general coordination for sports and other activities.

7. Other Skills:? Our vision training also can also provide treatment for developmental deficiencies in areas like sequencing, coding, spacial awareness and figure-ground, all of which add essential skills to a child and help them improve in their reading, writing and spelling.

Programs we have designed are targeting the ability of children to learn effectively by training and improving their visual skills, and we have had an amazing success rate with our patients.? This is because vision therapy exercises are far more than traditional eye exercises, they are training kids for a lifetime of learning!

vision therapy at homeHave you ever thought about doing vision therapy at home?? If you have a child struggling with learning disabilities then you may have thought about attempting some sort of vision therapy at home, but perhaps you are not sure where to start.

As a behavioural optometrist I can assure you that doing vision therapy at home actually works.? I have seen hundreds of patients achieve excellent results after several months of therapy, improving their reading, writing and spelling abilities dramatically.? I have also seen parents start programs with all good intentions only to fade out, stop doing the exercises and give up on their vision therapy at home.? It cuts both ways at times!

Doing Vision Therapy at Home Requires the Right Psychology

I am no psychologist, but because vision therapy at home is often a long process of 6 to 8 months, clearly there are some psychological factors which can help you complete the program.

Attempting a course of vision therapy at home requires motivation, consistency and a cooperative child, but most parents indicate that their child with learning difficulties is anything but cooperative at homework time!? How do you stay motivated and how do you keep your child coming back for more?

I have designed vision therapy at home to meet these psychological stresses head on, because just writing the therapies is not enough.? My task a behavioural optometrist is to make the journey enjoyable for both parents and children, because working with kids yields better results than working against them.

Effective Home Vision Therapy Needs These Characteristics

1. Consistency: To be effective, vision therapy at home must be consistent.? In our case we ask parent to commit 20 minutes a day every school day, so it ties in nicely with homework.? We also recognize that parents lead busy lives, so we automatically send a series of emails to remind them to stay on track.? Many parents have told me that, but for the emails, they would have been swamped and failed their child.

2. Achievement:? To be effective vision therapy at home has to encourage both the child and the parents that they are getting somewhere and achieving some sort of result.? For this reason we must start very simply, with easy tasks that the child finishes and says, ?Hey, I got that right, didn?t I??? As the tasks become slowly more difficult the child can look back on their past achievements and be motivated to take on the new tasks.? Remember, most kids with learning difficulties are used to failure and rarely feel they ever get things right at school!

3. Fun:? How do you encourage a child to do a series of tasks?? Make them fun!? Most of my vision therapy at home program consists of games of various sorts, and this motivates the children to try harder, especially if there is a score or time to beat from the previous day!? By making the tasks fun, parents can also enjoy the fun their child is having and everybody wins.? Most therapies you hear about are boring, so they are much harder to get a child to do!

4. Rewards:? Rewards are an important part of vision therapy at home, because I find a carrot is better than a stick for children.? Along the way we send our children small rewards they can download, and this makes the entire journey much more fun!

5. Results:? Above all results are the most important part of vision therapy at home.? It is no good having fun and achieving nothing (which is what many children?s games are like).? Our games are specifically targeting the skills they need to improve their learning, and when the child improves these skills their reading, writing and spelling results go up accordingly.

Training eye movements makes reading smoother, stopping misreads and the skipping of lines.? Improving visualization helps them to absorb spelling words more effectively (that?s why they are called sight words). Training directionality teaches the child special awareness and stops letter reversals.? Training focusing helps them to copy off the board without mistakes.? All of these are helped by the right exercises id they are done consistently over a period of months.

So parents don?t get bored or discouraged about your child with learning disabilities.? Get motivated, get psyched and get your hands on vision therapy at home that is fun, challenging and effective!