Dear Educators, Policy Makers, Parents and Taxpayers,
I grew up with a younger sibling who struggled with reading/learning. Even though she was smart, I watched her struggle in school and with her self-esteem, and everyone wondered why tutoring never really seemed to help. She passed every eye exam and test, because nobody knew to look for the issues with tracking or how her eyes worked together.
As an older brother, my response were often ‘try harder’, ‘what’s wrong with you’, not realizing that there was actually an underlying problem; imagine yelling these things at a kid with a broken leg on the soccer field. I still feel guilty about it to this day. I see children and teens all the time who lack self-esteem because they have always been behind their peers in school, no matter how hard they ‘try’; it’s heartbreaking.
Did you know that it’s up to 20% of children in a classroom that are affected to some degree? Or that 80% of problem readers are lacking one or more visual skills (http://www.mccrodanvision.com/vision-development-education-centre/clinical-research-and-white-papers/).
School age is a critical time to reach these children, as we have the opportunity to really change the trajectory of their lives by opening the doors to further educational opportunities. The statistics are clear (http://www.mccrodanvision.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/quaid_association_between_re.pdf).
The average lost income to a learning disabled child is $1.98 million
- The cost to the family is $455,000.00
- 80% of problem readers are lacking one or more visual skills
- 95% of Juvenile delinquents have visually related learning conditions (http://oepf.org/sites/default/files/Juvenile%20Delinquents%20Paul%20Harris.pdf)
There are major costs involved in ignoring these visual problems, to the individual, to their family, and to society (taxpayers). These costs go beyond just the monetary values, as there are major impacts on self-esteem and quality of life.
Treatment is non-invasive, success rates are high, and there is the potential to one day work it into our public and educational structure. The major barriers currently are lack of awareness and funding.
These are major drivers the non-profit society (going for charitable status) that I work with. The Visual Process has been created by parents of children with vision problems that have been helped (www.thevisualprocess.org).
I am committed to finding a way to help everyone we can, and ensuring that no children are left needless suffering within our society. Helping with this goal can be as simple as sharing the information in the talks and links above (http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Overlooking-Our-Vision-%7C-Camero;search%3Atag%3A%22tedxvictoria%22), supporting and understanding those that need help these areas, or becoming directly involved.
Dr. Cameron McCrodan, OD