It’s back to school, and back to paying attention. It’s also often the time of year it’s suggested to parents that they have their child assessed by a psychologist for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or attention deficit disorder (ADD).
This generally comes up because a child is having difficulty maintaining their focus in class. It’s often hard for them to stay on task when reading, writing or similar. Sometimes the idea for psych ed testing comes up because that child is struggling with reading, writing, or other areas of learning. But there are a few things that are commonly overlooked during the testing process, and could leave your kid struggling or mis-diagnosed.
7 of the 9 symptoms of AD(H)D can be caused by problems with how the eyes work together. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If your eyes cannot focus or track efficiently, it will be much more difficult to do the task, and you don’t be able to do it for as long. See the TEDx talk here to dive deeper. Imagine if your child was riding a bicycle. If the tires were flat, and the wheels slightly bent, would you expect them to be able to perform properly, or to ride their bike for as long as the other kids? Of course not! The same goes with their eyes. On top of that, they need to use their eyes for all psych ed testing.
80% of struggling readers have problems with how their eyes work. Problems with eye tracking, focusing, or binocularity (how the eyes work together) have to be specially tested. Many eye exams with the optometrist or ophthalmologist only test visual acuity (clarity), and the physical health of the eyes. This means that children commonly get told that their vision is ok, when there are still problems with how it functions. If the eyes cannot move properly through the text, how could you expect a child to learn well? This makes it even harder to stay focused!
Have your child tested for binocular vision dysfunction, eye tracking problems, and more. Make sure that you see a developmental or neuro optometrist who can test all the areas of how your child’s vision works. Ask them to test tracking (often with special goggles), accommodation (focusing), and binocularity (convergence and eye teaming). If it is a problem with how vision works, it can be very treatable. Treatment may involve specially prescribed glasses and/or vision therapy. If applicable, treatment success rates are greater than 95%.
Psych ed testing and ADHD testing is important and has its place within our system. Children can also have ADHD as well as vision problems, making their symptoms even worse. For these reasons, any parent looking at doing a psych ed assessment for their child should make sure that the eye tracking and teaming is fully tested.
We offer advanced testing in Victoria and Nanaimo that can determine if vision causing problems with attention and focus. If it’s part of the problem, our advanced treatment methods can help get your young learner back on track (read some of the stories here).