A child who enters the classroom with delayed visual readiness skills for the demands of their grade level, has a clear disadvantage over the child who has developed the necessary visual skills for reading and learning.
Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in July 2018, entitled: Frequency of Visual Deficits in Children With Developmental Dyslexia, researchers at Harvard Medical School, Department of Ophthalmology, looked at the 3 categories of visual function known as sensorimotor visual abilities. These visual abilities are referred to as binocular vision (eye teaming), oculomotor (eye-tracking) and accommodation (eye focusing). The researchers found that nearly 80% of the impaired readers had visual dysfunction in these sensorimotor visual readiness skills compared to children with normal reading abilities.
Published in the Journal of Optometry, September 2017, entitled: Visual and binocular status in elementary school children with a reading problem, concluded: “The results in this study show that children with an IEP for reading also present with abnormal binocular and/or accommodative test results. To thoroughly investigate the binocular vision system, we recommend that tests of accommodation, binocular vision, and oculomotor function should be performed on all children, especially those with identified reading problems.”
Therefore, any child who struggles in school, especially in reading, or has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) should have a Comprehensive Developmental Vision Evaluation. This assessment, in addition to ocular health and refraction (testing for corrective lenses), evaluates a child’s visual readiness skills in sensorimotor function plus visual perception and visual integration abilities. For additional information go to the VisionHelp Vision and Learning Project
With this testing, a parent will know if their child has the visual readiness skills to be ready for the demands of school, including reading, homework, attention and concentration and handwriting. More important if there is a problem with visual readiness skills, a plan can be outlined to provide the help needed for that child to succeed.
Dan L. Fortenbacher, O.D., FCOVD