For a child to learn and develop to their full potential, there are many aspects that work together. One of the key elements in your child succeeding in the classroom is their quality of vision.

Vision plays a big part in education with many early learning skills revolving around sight based programs. Reading, writing, chalk/whiteboards, visual cards and using computers are all activities which involve vision and visual perception in the education process.

Children who suffer from vision deficits or impairments may not realise it. A child who has suffered a vision impairment from birth will not know any different and therefore can not tell you something is wrong. Often these deficiencies can come out in other ways that we may not pick up on, such as behavioral outbursts, anxious behavior or physical symptoms such as headaches.

How do vision deficiencies affect learning

Reading, comprehension and visual arts are the basis of most educational early learning programs. Their ability to be able to successfully complete these tasks is hindered if their vision is impaired in some way, or their ability to process the information (visual processing). Being able to focus on words or judge distances is a skill most with good vision take for granted.

A child who can’t focus on a word at school or read the books their teacher is giving them may fall behind the rest of their class. As children don’t know how to identify these issues, they will release their frustration in other ways. Children can act out behaviorally or withdraw completely and not show any interest in learning at all.

In some cases, signs of visual or visual processing impairment can look similar to the signs of the Attention Deficit Disorders; for example, hyperactivity, short attention span and being easily distracted. Before going down the ADHD path, have your child’s eyes tested by a qualified optometrist if you have concerns around the functioning of the eye. An Occupational Therapist who specialises in children can assist in detecting visual processing difficulties and work with behavioral issues relating to hidden underlying causes. Your child’s OT or optometrist may refer your child onto a Behavioral Optometrist for further treatment.

How to spot the signs

As we mentioned earlier, children may not be able to tell you if something is wrong. They may believe how they see the world is how everyone sees the world.

Signs that may indicate a child has vision problem include:

  • Frequent eye rubbing or blinking
  • Short attention span
  • Avoiding reading and other close activities
  • Frequent headaches
  • Covering one eye
  • Tilting the head to one side
  • Holding reading materials close to the face
  • An eye turning in or out
  • Seeing double
  • Losing place when reading
  • Difficulty remembering what he or she read

 

How to prevent and treat vision deficits

Routine eye tests should be carried out on all children from an early age. The earlier deficiencies are detected, the less impact they can have on your child’s overall development. In order to maintain good eye health, it’s important to conduct routine eye checks every 12 months.

If you are concerned your child is falling behind at school or having trouble adjusting and learning, please feel free to get in contact with us. Your child’s happiness is our priority and we believe no child should be left behind. Learning is fun and a child who is supported in their learning is a happy child.