Vision Challenges Result in School Day “Crutches”

Vision Challenges Result in School Day “Crutches”

vision challenges We recently had a young adult patient, who comes to us for vision care, describe a re-occurring experience that she would have while attending school. Typical to most classrooms, the teachers would require the students to take turns, going row by row, seat by seat, reading paragraphs out loud from the textbook. To some, no big deal. To this patient with vision challenges, it was pure anxiety-producing, torture!

Anxiety with Reading Aloud

She knew that she was not going to be able to read that material out loud without skipping words or lines or losing her place! She feared, as most school children do, she was going to look stupid!

To remedy this, she would count the number of students and paragraphs and then determine which paragraph would be hers. Then ignoring every other student reading and obviously missing out on important concepts, she would read and re-read her paragraph over and over again to herself.

By the time it was her turn, she had a pretty good grasp of her paragraph and could make it through the material.

This is what I call, a school day “crutch” for vision challenges!

Out of Seat Behavior

A parent with a child that was struggling in school confided in us that she was worried that her son was not going to pass the third grade. His teachers were complaining that whenever it was time to sit and do his assigned reading or writing work, he would be up out of his seat.  Sometimes he would be walking around the room.  Other times he was distracting other students.

As a result, he was not getting his work done.  He was a real disruption to the class. It was even suggested that maybe her son had ADHD and should be put on medication.

She just could not figure out why it was so difficult for him to just stay in his seat and leave the other kids alone.

This is what I call, a school day “crutch” for vision challenges!

Incomplete Assignment Book

A frustrated grandparent, who had custody of her 13 year old grandson, could not figure out why only on the rare occasion did his assignment book come home.

When it did come home, his assignment book and notes that he took from the Smart Board made no sense. Words were missing and it looked as if a preschooler had written it.

Many times he would say “there was no homework assigned”.  Other times he would tell her, “I got everything done at school”.  The grandmother would discover later that he had missing assignments and poor test scores.

This my friends, is another school day “crutch” for vision challenges!

Vision Challenges: Why all the “Crutches”?

In a typical classroom, about 25% of the students are dealing with undiagnosed vision issues.  These vision issues are so challenging that these students develop their own varied strategies to get through their day.

Vision Challenge: Tracking Issue

Our young adult who struggled through reading material had a tracking issue.

The input from the brain to the muscles of the eyes was sporadic or excessive.  Her eyes would jump all over the page.  It would require re-reading many times in order for the words to make sense.

Here is an example of what this anxious young adult was struggling with:

Tracking Issues
credit: DrGallway.com

Vision Challenge: Convergence Insufficiency

Our little third grader who did everything that he could to avoid doing his reading and writing work had a convergence insufficiency problem.  This convergence insufficiency caused him actual pain and discomfort when his eyes attempted to turn in to do any near work.

This is why the little third grader could not sit still:

Convergence Issues
credit: DrGallway.com

Vision Challenge: Accommodative Deficiency

Our middle school student suffered from accommodative deficiency. He was not able to clear his vision when he had to switch focus between looking far away and then back down at his work.  It was also a challenge for him to switch screen views on his computer.

This is why the homework was not copied from the board accurately:

Accommodation Deficiency
credit: DrGallway.com

Surprising Twist for Vision Challenges

Interestingly enough, each of their teachers recommended that they get their eyes checked.

Unfortunately, their first appointments were with eye doctors who lacked the specialized training required to diagnose and treat the issues mentioned above.  Each of the three individuals were told that they had 20/20 vision.  They were informed that the problems they were having had nothing to do with their eyes.

Luckily, they each sought second opinions and went for evaluations by an eye doctor certified with The College of Optometrists and Vision Development (COVD).  The three individuals above were diagnosed.  Each was prescribed a course of vision therapy.  This therapy corrected the issues that caused them to rely on “crutches” to get through their day.

Learn more about vision challenges in this incredibly insightful view-on-demand webinar by our very own, Kim Wiggins, OTR/L >>

Visual Perception and Its Impact On Learning: Strategies and Resources

Did you know that 80% of all learning in a school setting is acquired through vision? There is a rise of focus and attention issues in the classroom that can be related to visual issues. Unfortunately if children are having difficulty using their eyes, they will often give up or work twice as hard as other children causing increased frustration and a lack of motivation. Unfortunately children are often misdiagnosed with attention deficits without taking a good look at possible visual insufficiencies. This view on demand webinar includes easy-to-understand explanations of the visual system, lots of FREE resources, and question and answer time. This 2-hour webinar geared toward beginning- to intermediate-level occupational therapists, teachers, and parents will address the following:

Learning Outcomes
  • Recognize the impact of vision on reading and writing.
  • Differentiate Vision Therapy vs. Occupational Therapy.
  • List options for visual screenings.
  • Identify the primary components of the visual system.
  • List strategies and exercises that can be done at home, therapy, or classroom.

Register Today!