In this research study, students who were ALREADY diagnosed with ADHD were given office-based visual skills therapy. After the therapy, symptoms such as loss of place while reading, needing to re-read, reading slowly, loss of concentration, trouble remembering what was read IMPROVED significantly. In addition, these students’ attention scores IMPROVED after therapy as tested by the Conners 3 ADHD Index. The research team concluded that visual skills problems affect attention and can contribute to behavioral and academic problems.
Does your child have difficulty maintaining his/her attention when asked to do schoolwork? Is your child seemingly bright, but not showing it academically? Visual skills may be playing a role in this. If so, office-based visual skills therapy can help. Schedule a visual skills exam in addition to a yearly eye exam.
Here are the results of a clever study: Students who DID NOT have ADHD or visual skills problems, were temporarily MADE TO HAVE a visual skills problem by the research team. Their sustained attention dropped significantly as tested by the Conners CPT compared to before they were made to have a visual skills problem. The research team concluded that visual skills affect sustained attention and that visual skills problems often compound the symptoms of inattention.
Does your child lose concentration easily when asked to read, write or complete near-work? Visual skills might be playing a role in his/her inattention. Schedule a visual skills exam in addition to a yearly eye exam.
1 in 10 children suffer from a vision problem that affects academics. School and pediatrician screenings only check for the ability to see the board clearly. However, 80% of learning occurs through the eyes, and screenings only check one small part of vision. For example, undetected farsightedness, undetected astigmatism, poor eye-focusing skills, inaccurate eye coordination skills and imprecise fine eye movements can all contribute to reading difficulties. If your child is struggling with school, take time out to check her vision. Start first with a yearly eye exam, and then if necessary, schedule a full-fledged visual skills exam that will evaluate the entire visual system and how it may be affecting your child.
Children with vision problems that are not correctable with glasses or contacts are two times more likely to have ADHD according to a new study involving more than 75,000 children between the ages of 4 and 17 years old. Estimates indicate that 1 in 10 children are diagnosed with ADHD. There is no known single cause of ADHD, but there are multiple associated factors including a variety of vision problems. If your child suffers from ADHD, schedule a yearly eye exam and a visual skills exam for him. A visual skills exam is different than a yearly eye exam.
Visual skills affect attention. Another recent study showed that students with poorer visual skills showed a significantly worse score on a test of attention. On the flipside, the study also showed that students with significantly better visual skills scored significantly better on that same test of attention. The ability to focus attention affects our ability to ignore distractions in order to do something of more importance. If your child is struggling with academics and is exhibiting signs of attentional issues, then have your child’s visual skills checked. A visual skills evaluation is different than a yearly eye exam.
20/40 visual acuity is a common pass-fail mark for vision screenings. Visual acuity testing measures the absolute smallest letter size that a person can see at a specific distance. This testing of eyesight is different than sustainable acuity. Sustainable acuity is the eyesight level at which a person can comfortably and easily read for an extended period of time. A common rule-of-thumb is that a student’s visual acuity should be three times better than the size of the words that are being read in order to read comfortably for an extended period of time. This means in order to read a typical 8th grade book comfortably for an extended period of time, a student should have 20/20 eyesight. In order to read a typical 4th grade book comfortably, a child should have approximately 20/25 acuity. Someone who only has 20/40 eyesight would only comfortably be able to sustain reading print that is the size of newspaper sub-headlines or a typical 1st – 3rd grade book. When a child becomes uncomfortable, he/she will often be more easily distracted while reading.
There are other visual skills that can affect sustainability of reading. Some children, even if they can see 20/20, have a difficult time reading for lengthy periods of time or reading at a proper rate because of poorly developed visual skills. Visual acuity, though, is a contributor to decreased reading rates. If a child is only seeing 20/40, please schedule an eye exam for him/her.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that is becoming more prevalent:
• An estimated 2 million more children were diagnosed with ADHD in 2011 compared to 2003
• An estimated 1 million children diagnosed with ADHD were not taking medications for treatment in 2011
• More than one third of those not taking medicines were also reported to have moderate to severe ADHD
Vision and ADHD are related in important ways:
• Children with visual skills dysfunctions are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD on the CPRS-R:S
• Children with symptomatic visual skills dysfunctions with ADHD are more likely to have parent-reported concerns about reading and other schoolwork
• Those with ADHD have more significant problems in depth perception, peripheral vision, visual search and visual processing speed
• Those with ADHD have more visual problems associated with driving than those without ADHD
Children with visual skills dysfunction are three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD because of the overlap in symptoms. If a child is thought to have ADHD, it is important to screen them for visual skills dysfunctions. Use the ADHD and Visual Skills Symptoms Survey to help screen for whether visual skills problems are exacerbating ADHD symptoms. If the child does have visual skills problems, then treatment of those issues can help improve the symptoms and struggles associated with ADHD.
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