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 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!