Our vision develops from birth. By interacting with the world around us, we develop the ability to identify, interpret and understand what is seen.
When a child learns to walk, they move through stages from creeping, crawling, standing, walking with assistance and finally walking unaided. A similar process occurs in the development of our vision. We learn visual skills such as tracking, focusing and fixating by building one skill on another in a step by step approach. Developing visual skills includes learning to use both eyes together effectively.
Roughly 80% of all information we receive is visual, therefore it is vital for visual skills to be efficient in order for us to learn, work and play. If our visual skills are not functioning well, our processing of information will not be working well.
Often a child’s struggles in the classroom are not an issue of intelligence or how hard they are trying. Sometimes children are not able to use vision efficiently to process the information before them.
Many children who are having trouble learning will have their eyes tested and be told that their eyesight is fine-20/20. This information sounds good, however purely means that at distance (the whiteboard) the child can see well. Since most learning occurs between 30 -40 cm for a child, it is important for all the visual skills to be assessed at this distance too, not just the clarity of vision. The part of the brain responsible for 20/20 vision is only 6% of the entire visual process. Manly other skills contribute to our ability to move through the world safely and effortlessly.
A comprehensive and thorough assessment along with a careful case history is necessary to detect vision issues. A full vision assessment should include sight, prescription and eye health, as well as eye teaming, focusing and visual processing ability.
Vision and Attention
Often children are diagnosed with inattention and poor behaviour. They are disruptive in class and their ability to learn is impacted. Very often these children have a visual function difficulty, called convergence insufficiency.
Research into convergence insufficiency, has demonstrated association between convergence insufficiency and attention disorders in children. There is also an association between other vision problems and a higher incidence of ADHD.
The symptoms experienced by a someone with convergence insufficiency may also to attributed to ADD/ADHD.
Symptoms that are common to convergence insufficiency and ADD/ADHD include:
Often failing to pay close attention to details or making careless mistakes
Often has difficulty sustaining attention in activities
Often does not listen or appear to listen when spoken to directly
Often does not follow through on instructions or fails to finish work
Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
Often avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks requiring sustained mental effort
Often distracted by external stimuli
Often fidgets or squirms in seat
It is important when a child is experiencing attentional problems to rule out vision problems that may exhibit similar symptoms to other disorders.
Where a child may have both an attention disorder and a vision problem it is beneficial to improve the vision problem as this will lessen the load for the child.
For more information, please call us at 02 9982 1039.