Vision therapy for children has long been looked to as a possible solution to children’s learning disabilities.  However there are various types of vision therapy, ranging from more traditional methods through to ideas which break new ground in their development.  Forward thinking behavioural optometrists are finding that employing both of these is seeing major improvements in children with learning disabilities.

Vision therapy for children


Traditional Vision Therapy for Children



Traditional vision therapy tends to centre on techniques that improve measurable characteristics in the consulting room.  These may have a positive effect on a child’s ability to learn, but at times they may not directly correlate to an improvement in school performance.



Included in these types of therapies are focus, eye coordination, convergence and some eye movement training, which certainly can help but may not necessarily be translated into increased school performance.  That is not to say that they do not have value, and in optometry terms we can actually measure improvement, but the point is that these types of exercises may not necessarily improve school work.



A New Breed of Vision Therapy for Children



There is a fresh and exciting change in vision therapy which is aiming to have a more direct effect on a child’s school performance.  These new training ideas revolve around techniques which the child uses directly in their learning experience, and they are tailor made for children with learning disabilities.



These newer techniques target things like eye movements, to improve the flow and expression of reading, visualization, to increase the ability of children to learn new spelling words and other developmental areas such as coding, sequencing and directionality.



This type of vision therapy is yielding real results by increasing the school performance of children because they are developing or coaching the skills children need to perform well in school.



Combining Both Makes the Best Vision Therapy



Simply training visual skills may help a child to perform better in school, but if the more traditional aspects of therapy are ignored, the fundamental visual problem will limit improvement.  Therefore, the best approach is to combine both aspects of the vision therapy for children so as to gain maximum improvement both in the optometry office and the classroom.



I believe that any child struggling in school needs to have a complete behavioural optometry assessment to ensure that any underlying visual problems are dealt with.  Treatment of such problems might include reading lenses or the more traditional vision therapy for children.



Beyond this, the newer style of vision therapy for children could hold the key for real and sustained improvement in school.  By targeting the skills children use in the classroom, we are able to quickly develop the tools a child needs to learn and improve their school performance.



This is what most parents want.  A change in the optometry office is good, but an improvement in school performance is what matters most, and this can definitely be helped by using the right vision therapy for children.

Learning Disabilities ResourcesIf you are the parent of a child who is struggling with reading difficulties, you are probably searching for learning disabilities resources all the time, often with limited results.  Why is it that many such resources seem to offer little other than the long, tortuous and painstaking frustration of making a child read over and over again.   If reading is the main source of difficulty for a child, one has to ask the question, “Are most of these resources missing the point?”

Learning Disabilities Resources should be More than Repetition

If you have a child struggling with reading, writing and spelling, simply making them do more of the very task they hate and associate with failure is frustrating and discouraging for both them and you!

It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same task over and over expecting a different result, and for many this sums up most learning difficulties help available!  Surely there is a better way to approach things which give some hope and encouragement to our children!

How to Build a Platform for Success

Effective help for learning disabilities must provide a platform for the success of a child struggling to read.  They need to build essential skills which enable reading success, and they need to be interesting, fun and provide a sense of achievement.  They cannot allow the child to fail and struggle, and they need to keep the child motivated to continue.

In short, the best way to provide help that actually works is in the form and games and fun tasks, which somehow build up the skills that children need to succeed.  That is where vision therapy can provide a fantastic alternative to the traditional learning disabilities resources which involve repeated, painful and discouraging tasks.

The Role of Vision Therapy

For over 20 years I have been helping kids with learning disabilities using vision therapy, which is a series of targeted games and fun activities which most children love to do and which help to build essential visual skills.  These exercises and therapies train a child’s vision skills to help them learn more effectively and quickly.  These skills, such as focus, eye coordination, sequencing, coding, visual memory, hand eye coordination and eye tracking lay a groundwork to allow reading success, and they do this in a matter of months and with a lot of fun and enjoyment.

This means that we can provide the skills necessary for a child to read effectively, and do so in a fun and enjoyable environment rather than in a screaming match or tearful environment.  Vision therapy can be done at home, wherever you are in the world, and in a few months you could be seeing an amazing transformation in your child’s ability to read, write and spell.

If you then apply the more typical learning disabilities resources which involve repetitive reading, you will now find that your child has the basic skills necessary, and will start to improve rapidly rather than slowly.

This may sound crazy, but it is true in most areas of life.  We take our kids to football training to learn football skills, to tennis lessons top learn those skills and guitar lessons to learn guitar playing skills… so why not get the right training for your child’s reading skills.  Vision therapy can produce the right results if you take the time to do it correctly.  It is very often the missing link in learning disabilities resources.

Reading Help for ChildrenIf you are searching for a way to provide reading help for children it is often difficult to know where to start.  As you would readily recognize, simply going over and over the same material endlessly does not really provide what your child needs, but rather it compounds the misery of their failure at reading, frustrating both children and parents.  Surely there has to be a better way to provide reading help the children that actually sees results?  There is, and I can show you exactly what you can do to start seeing improvement in your child!


Reading Help for Children Must Start at the Basics


The reason why so much of the remedial reading  available today is ineffective is because it starts at a level that is too advanced for a child struggling with learning difficulties.  If you have a child with a learning disability, then you will obviously be very keen to get that child reading well as soon as possible.  For this reason, parents and often teachers plunge into reading programs but completely overlook the basics of providing remedial help, which starts with basics such as the eyes.  You cannot build a strong house without a strong foundation, and you cannot provide long term reading help for children without addressing the basic issues and skills that are failing in the reading process.


You Need to Build on the Basics


This does not mean that we completely neglect words and sentences, because these are the building blocks of reading.  However, if we lay a firm foundation in the basic vision skills that child needs to learn to read, the actual process of deciphering words and sentences and ultimately reading effectively will become easier in the long term.


If we want to provide powerful help for children in their reading, we must start with the basics and then build on the basics as the child increases their ability to read.  However, in our eagerness to provide reading help for children, we most often jump to the second phase and overlook the basics but in fact lay the groundwork for future reading success.


 Start With Developing the Tools They Need to Read


So where do we start in providing effective help for your child that actually works?  As a behavioral optometrist for over 20 years, I believe that vision is a key skill that needs to be developed effectively in order for children to read well, and the success of our treatments really bears that out.  That’s why I have developed a program which trains the basic visual skills required in reading, and is an effective way of developing these skills to provide long-term reading help for kids that will yield academic success, usually in a short period of time.


Visual skills such as focusing, like ordination, visualization, eye tracking, sequencing, coding and a host of others can be developed quickly and effectively to provide the basis upon which you can build good reading skills.  I have proven in my own practice time and again that taking a short amount of time out from reading tutoring, and devoting it to the development of these essential visual skills, can yield long-term results in reading, writing and spelling.


If we develop these basic skills properly, the effectiveness of reading programs provided by teachers and parents are greatly increased.  Once again, the laying of a proper foundation provides support for the structure that is built upon it, and the right vision therapy can provide that foundation to ensure long-term reading success, because we are training the actual skills they use when they try to read!


So I would urge those of you who work with children with learning disabilities to not overlook the training of these basic visual skills, because these will fast track your efforts and ultimately yield far better results that slugging away at remedial reading.


Combining the right type of vision therapy with traditional reading help for children could be the formula for success in learning disabilities that you are looking for.

Real reading help for childrenIf you are the parent of a child with learning disabilities, reading help for children may seem like an enigma.  In fact, if doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is a definition for insanity, then most reading programs for children may look like insanity to you!  If you are struggling for ways to help your child, you may be asking yourself, “Is there a better way?”

Standard Reading Help For Children


The most common way of providing reading help for kids is tutoring, which involves a dedicated teacher or tutor drilling the child over and over again in an attempt to break through and improve their learning disability.  There is no doubt that this method can work, but it is a long, painful and difficult way to provide help.  The question arises, is there a better way?


While I applaud and support the many dedicated tutors and reading teachers across the world who work hard to produce results with their kids, I also recognize that providing any type of reading help is a long and painful process.  As a behavioral optometrist, my calling is to make of this process easier, more palatable and more effective.


How Visual Development Provides Reading Help For Children


I am not an educator, and that is why I do not provide the standard reading help for children which tutors and teachers are so good at.  However, I have found a way which will make the methods offered by teachers and tutors more effective. There is no magic involved, but has to do with enhancing the visual development of a child with learning disabilities to help them produce their maximum potential when it comes to learning to read.


Vision is the dominant sense in the classroom, and it is also the basic sense is used when reading.  Therefore it makes sense that, if we can improve the visual skills of a child, we can provide real help for children with their reading, writing and spelling.  This makes the standard methods more powerful and easier to implement.


The great news is that this means relief for parents and teachers who pound away, day after day, week after week, month after month trying to help a child who is struggling improve their reading performance.  The answer is not to continuously do it over and over again expecting a different result: the answer is to try something new!


Reading Help From the Ground Up!


If standard reading methods are not breaking through, it is likely that the child has not developed some of the basic skills needed to do the tasks.  While these skills may develop slowly over time, it makes sense that training these basic visual skills will give them the tools they need to improve their reading ability far quicker than constant repetition.  The real question is, “What are these skills and how can we develop them rapidly?”


The development of certain basic visual skills are required to provide real reading help for children.  These visual skills include eye coordination, focus, eye movements, sequencing, visual memory, coding and a whole host of other skills.  Simple reading glasses or constant repetition may help some of these, but a child with learning disabilities will still be struggling if these are not developed quickly.


That is why I have developed a vision therapy program specifically targeting the development of these basic vision skills.  These can be enhanced by a number of exercises and games which directly target the skills that are required to lay the platform for real and sustainable reading help for children.


So if you want to help your child, the answer is not to do the same things over and over expecting a different result.  Take some time out to develop the necessary visual skills, and your child will improve more rapidly.  Targeted vision therapy can provide real reading help for children far more effectively than mind numbing repetition.

Reading Help for Children