For many families, homework is the most dreaded time of day, because it can be so frustrating. In Rachel's case, her mother had to read the homework assignments to her every night because she read too slowly. Rachel is now in 8th grade at a private academically accelerated school, but she has struggled from the beginning of first grade. Unfortunately, each passing year has gotten worse as the reading demand increased.
Rachel's mother just couldn't keep doing Rachel's homework every night. She wished that there was a solution. There were so many other things that needed to be done. Then one day Rachel told her mother that the blackboard was blurry when she tried to look at it. Rachel's mother hoped that an eyeglass prescription would be the answer to her problems. The eye doctor prescribed glasses for her to help her see the board, but, Rachel still had trouble reading and copying from the board.
Fortunately, Rachel's parents discovered that a developmental optometrist is an eye doctor who specializes in testing ALL the visual skills critical to reading and learning that are also vital to a child's development, and that these tests are typically not tested in most eye exams.
A developmental vision evaluation found that Rachel had difficulty following along a line of print. In addition she had difficulty shifting from looking at something up close to being able to see clearly far away (such as copying from the board at school). No wonder she didn't like to read or copy from the board! Fortunately, the type of vision problem Rachel had was completely treatable and after only a few months of intense vision therapy. Rachel now reads her assignments alone!! What used to take her hours to complete now takes minutes. What is even more startling is that Rachel now has 20/20 eyesight and doesn't need her glasses!
If your child is struggling with reading or learning, it is important to understand that children often don't tell their parents that they are having trouble seeing the letters on the page because they think everyone sees the same way they do. They may think that they are stupid because they can't make any sense out of what they are seeing. It is vital that all parents and educators become familiar with the symptoms of vision problems that interfere with learning:
headaches when reading
slow or incomplete copy work from board or paper
avoidance of reading
poor reading comprehension
frequent loss of place while reading
short attention span
smart in everything but school
labeled ADD, ADHD, dyslexic
working below potential
When the doctor says your child can see "20/20", that only means that he or she is able to see a certain size letter at a distance of 20 feet. Vision is a complex process that involves over 20 visual abilities and more than 65% of all the pathways to the brain. In Rachel's case, glasses provided helped her see the board by giving her 20/20 eyesight but they did not improve the other visual skills critical for academic success.