Does My Child Have Dyslexia or a Vision Problem?

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Dyslexic children are typically very bright, yet they fail at something most children can easily accomplish, learning to read. Here are some reasons why a child fails to read or is a poor reader.

  1. Your child cannot understand the meaning of words. If your child easily understands when being read to, this is likely not the problem.

  1. Your child is very slow at looking at a symbol or a group of symbols and remembering what to call it. This skill is automatic naming. Poor automatic naming inhibits the ability to read smoothly and consistently and can delay learning the alphabet. Vision therapy can improve visual discrimination and visual memory-- skills needed to recognize and recall visual information.

  1. Your child has poor visualization skills and cannot picture symbols or words in his or her mind. He may know a word in one line and fail to recognize it in the next, or is not able to recognize it when it is paired with another word, such as “cat” in the word “catfish.”  Vision therapy can improve visualization and visual processing skills, to help your child see a word and recognize it quickly when it stands alone and when it is embedded in another word. If your child struggles with learning new words, vision therapy can provide visual strategies to help your child recognize word parts or phonetic groups standing alone and when embedded or surrounded by different beginnings and endings or other phonetic groups.

  1. Your child is confused with small print and does better when there is large print with a lot of spacing.  Your child may have a tracking, eye teaming or eye focusing problem. Vision Therapy addresses these conditions through the therapeutic use of specialized prisms and lenses.

  1. Your child confuses or reverses letters and numbers, such as a “b” and “d” or a “6” and “9”. Your child has trouble knowing left from right, or has to think hard to recall which is which. This often comes from poor body lateralization. Vision therapy builds inadequate lateralization skills through eye hand motor coordination and integrates it with the skills mentioned above to treat left right confusion and  word/letter reversals.

Vision therapy does not teach a child to read. Vision therapy treats visual conditions that interfere with reading. If your child is behind in reading, or you suspect, or have been told she or he has dyslexia, schedule an exam today. Dr. Marran O.D. Ph.D will rule out a visual condition that could be causing or contributing to poor reading.

Though there is no age restriction for treatment, it is important to realize that the earlier patients can be treated, the more vision therapy makes an impact in academic performance because the longer a person goes without treatment, the farther they get behind in school, the lower their self-esteem and the longer it takes to change poor learning habits or compensations.

Click Here to learn about how college students with a learning disability can be accommodated in school.

Click here to read a Los Angeles Times article about how John Rodgriues went from being undiagnosed with dyslexia to creating ThinkLexic, which advocates for diagnosis and services for children with dyslexia. Down below is Dr. Lynn Marran's O.D. Ph.D. letter to the editor:

Man with learning disorder reaches out
Kudos to John Rodrigues for raising awareness and advocating for diagnosis and services for dyslexic children.
As a behavioral optometrist, I see children both privately and through IEP school services and find that dyslexic kiddos often have visual conditions beyond needing glasses, such as eye tracking and visual processing deficits which exacerbate or underlie the dyslexic condition. These deficits respond well to a vision therapy program that utilizes rhythm and movement to integrate left right awareness, visual spatial and visual analysis skills for improved auditory and visual processing of information.
Any child who struggles to read including any child diagnosed with dyslexia should have their visual oculomotor skills and visual processing skills tested to see if they could benefit from vision therapy. It is estimated that up to 50% of children with LD have a visual component to their learning disability that goes beyond needing glasses.
Dr. Lynn Marran O.D. Ph.D.  

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