A field with enormous implications
for helping kids with learning problems is Developmental Optometry. You may want
to refer learners for testing if you suspect that some of their problem with
reading/writing is that they are having these types of vision problems.
Developmental/behavioral optometrist and
researcher Robert Lederman works in Israel, diagnosing and treating vision/brain
problems that affect reading ability, beyond those handled by standard
Vision Center is located at Keren Hayesod 19, Jerusalem, phone: (02) 623-4888, Email:
email@example.com . The Vision
Center website, where you can see further details and read success stories of
people whom he has diagnosed and treated, is
Lederman lectures periodically, in English or Hebrew. Call the office for dates
of upcoming lectures.
Lederman says that a significant proportion
(60%) of children who have learning problems also have vision problems, EVEN IF
they have 20/20 or 6/6 vision. Many of these vision problems are currently
going undiagnosed and untreated because there are not enough people with the
skills to diagnose and treat them. He passionately believes that we could save
these kids, their families, and the education system a lot of aggravation, and
help the kids to fulfill their potential far more effectively, if we would
identify and correct these vision problems early on. He describes and gives vivid
demonstrations of a full range of visual functioning problems: visual processing
and eye teaming, focusing, and tracking. He makes some extremely persuasive
He uses a metaphor: If a computer is not working, either the keyboard or
the processing unit could be broken. The first thing to check is the keyboard to
verify that information is being delivered correctly to the processing unit. The
input device is easier to fix. If you fix the keyboard first, you get an
accurate assessment of the processing problem.
The parallel is that kids who, for example, are farsighted or having eye teaming
or tracking problems may get headaches when they try to focus on a book, so they
get restless if they try to do it for long, and their handwriting is a mess
which appears to teachers, doctors, and parents as a short attention span. They
are misdiagnosed as ADHD and put onto Ritalin too soon, when vision correction
could solve the problem.
One can look through lenses to get the feeling of what the child experiences; I
wouldnt read either if my eyes and brain were under that kind of strain.
The only standard vision tests done in school are distance vision: can
the child read the board? This does not identify whether the child can properly
focus up close for reading or writing, or can switch back and forth from
distance to close-up focus, as is required in a classroom.
Ophthalmologists and neurologists do not necessarily know how to do this
diagnosis and vision therapy. They may not check for all the possible types of
vision problems, and therefore miss some.
There is evidently a lot of controversy and resistance to the kind of
evaluations he does, for the usual reasons: vested interests, cost, lack of
This type of vision testing and therapy
should be expanded in Israel. Lederman says that optometrists need training in
what to look for and how to correct it. Once qualified optometrists are in
place, they can carry out a program of screening and therapy.
There are a number of web sites where you
can research the subject further:
(College of Optometrists in Vision Development)
www.childrensvision.com - If your child is struggling in school, having
difficulty reading, or finding it hard to remain on task, the cause may be an
undetected vision problem, even if your child's eyesight is 20/20. The goal of
this web site is to educate parents and teachers about frequently overlooked
vision problems in the hopes of helping those children who struggle
unnecessarily because of undiagnosed vision disorders. In fact, many of these
children are often suspected of having learning disabilities, dyslexia, or
attention deficits when the real culprit is their vision. We invite you to
explore the information presented in this site to learn more.
www.pave-eye.com/vision (Parents Active for Vision in Education)
P.A.V.E.® was founded by parents and teachers with children in their homes
and classrooms who had suffered the effects of undiagnosed vision problems.
After years of searching for answers to their children's learning problems,
their children were finally diagnosed and successfully treated by a
Developmental/Behavioral Optometrist through a form of treatment called
VISION THERAPY !
www.OEP.org (Optometric Extension Program)