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Jul 21

Learning Troubles or Vision Problems?

Learning Troubles or Vision Problems? How Parents and Teachers Can Recognize the Symptoms of Each

Though parents, teachers, medical professionals, and school administrators may seem to occupy different spaces of a child’s life, all of these people share one goal: to see children grow to live healthy, productive lives. One person is working to help make sure all of these people are able to help students with one common issue that may be mistaken for other troubles: vision problems.

The Hidden Link Between Vision and Learning: Why Millions of Learning Disabled Children Are Misdiagnosed

The Hidden Link Between Vision and LearningWendy Beth Rosen is an education consultant, specializing in learning problems related to vision. Rosen, a former classroom teacher, is the author of the new book The Hidden Link Between Vision and Learning: Why Millions of Learning Disabled Children Are Misdiagnosed.

In the book, Rosen explores how children often struggle in school. Many of these struggles, Rosen explains, may be due to vision problems. Vision-related learning problems are difficult to perceive in children: parents, teachers, and others can easily hear problems with speech or pick up on an auditory issue, but we are unable to view the world through the eyes of a child. And most kids, unless vision problems are significant, may not know they aren’t seeing as well as they should be.

The Hidden Link provides explanations of all the vision skills we use every day in order to provide teachers, parents, guardians, and others the insight to identify possible symptoms of vision problems. In this way, the book is intended for everyone, not just vision specialists: by giving information to all those who care for children, Rosen hopes that adults will be able to help children who are experiencing troubles.

In the clip below and in the book, Rosen explains that while vision-related learning problems are often foundational in learning disabilities, many symptoms of these disabilities are also exhibited with a vision problem alone. Because of this, it can be easy to misdiagnose kids’ problems; sadly, a misdiagnosis like this could impact the rest of a child’s life.

In all, there are more than two dozen visual skills that help us navigate our lives each day. So many children struggle with learning, and Rosen explains how their development may be compromised in ways adults are not aware of due to these skills not working correctly. Instead of treating a vision problem, adults may recognize symptoms and assign them to a different issue, such as a learning disability. For example, vision problem symptoms like a short attention span and poor reading comprehension or difficulty recognizing letters and mistaking words with similar beginnings could be mistaken for ADHD and dyslexia, respectively – or any other similar disabilities.

80% of Children’s Learning is done through Visual Processing

While it may be easily understood that vision troubles can interfere with a child’s ability to learn, the significance of vision problems must be understood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 80 percent of children’s learning is done through their visual processing of information. Unfortunately, nearly two-thirds of all elementary-aged kids enter school without having had a vision screening.

Of course, even kids who have had simple vision screenings can have undetected vision problems. Rosen explains how it’s important for parents and teachers to understand the difference between vision and eyesight: while eyesight describes our ability to see, vision encompasses all those skills that help us perform in everyday life. Because of this, it’s vital for kids to have a comprehensive eye health and vision exam done annually.

While it can be difficult distinguishing between vision problems and other issues (even goofing off may be a child’s way of coping with visual discomfort!), Rosen’s book offers simple, frank advice for all concerned adults, from parents to medical professionals.

Minnesota Vision Therapy | Omni Vision and Learning Center

If you think your child may have vision processing issues that may be impeding their learning, contact us today for an appointment. We would be happy to speak with you and your young learner about possible programming to help your child succeed in school and beyond.

Learning Troubles or Vision Problems?