Reading & Learning
If your eyes cannot accurately track through text, or the same word doesn’t look the same to you each time you see it, learning can be a struggle. If it’s really inefficient, like riding a bike with flat tires, it makes it difficult to sustain the effort.
Depending on the specific conditions and severity, children will show different signs and symptoms. It’s helpful to think of it in a few scenarios.
- Some conditions will cause children obvious difficulty with hand-eye coordination, and usually prefer dance, gymnastics, martial arts, and other non-fast-moving-small-object sports.
- Some children will seem to do fine with sports, but not possess the visual capabilities required for reading, and it becomes obvious very early on in education
- Other children will seem to start reading fine, and then it becomes a problem as the transition from learning-to-read, to reading-to-learn occurs and there is more reading demand (often grades 4-6).
- Other children will have accurate eye movements that are inefficient. This can result in difficulty keeping focus and attention on reading and school work.
Signs and symptoms of vision problems related to learning.
- Skipping lines and losing place when reading
- Reading with a finger or ruler
- Skipping small words
- Flipping letters or numbers
- Trouble writing in a straight line or uneven spacing
- Difficulty with writing or spacing
- Trouble copying from the board
- Inability to recognize words that were just learned
- Difficulty spelling (visual memory)
- Does better when listening vs having to read it themselves
- Mis-reading test questions or information
- Having to re-read text to understand it
If you said yes to one or more of the above, it’s important to have the vision function thoroughly examined. The exam needs to include more than just the eye health, and look at areas like how the eyes actually track through a page of text. As you can see below, the reader on left’s eyes do not track accurately through a page, causing her to mix up the information and struggle.
Many of these visual conditions can mimic other learning challenges and lead to a misdiagnosis (link to JPTS study). For example, 7 of 9 symptoms of an eye teaming problem are identical to attention deficit disorder, and the attention deficit improves when the eye teaming problem is treated.