Behavioural OptometryBehavioural Optometry is an area is holistic, looking beyond the ability to see to include the ability to comprehend and process information via the eyes and visual system.  It is usually connected with kids and developing vision, and for this reason is typically referred to as developmental optometry.

Behavioural Optometry was once considered by conventional Optometry as being somewhere between reading tea leaves and reading palms!  When I started behavioural practice a long time ago, I felt like my fellow Optometrists saw me as weird and eccentric, but much has changed since then.

Nowadays other Optometrists send patients they may be unsure about to me!  In my area on the Sunshine Coast Behavioural Optometry is being embraced by established practitioners and recognized for what it is, a unique specialty or discipline within our profession which can provide real answers to children struggling at school.

 

Academic Support for Behavioural Optometry

Academics are actually discovering solid support for what Behavioural practitioners have been working with for years, and this has increased the credibility of this mode of Optometry.

Yet it does not stop there!  As a Behavioural Optometrist, I can now supply answers for most patients and many conditions, notably the efforts we’re pursuing to stop the progression of short sightedness or myopia.  This means that we don’t have to sit down by and watch our children’s prescriptions get stronger and their lenses thicker through the years!  Sometimes we can even reverse it, and the principles we build such treatments on are based upon longstanding Behavioural Optometry premises.

Another area which works well is in the treatment of turned eyes and lazy eyes, where conventional Optometry holds few answers and loads of frustration.  As Behavioural Optometrists, we can help the eyes to actually function together.

However, the actual power and attraction of this discipline is in the area of learning disabilities, where we are able to not just increase concentration and decrease frustration in our children, but we could also train them in the skills they need to learn, and hence see rapid and sustained improvement in their learning abilities.

So now could be the time when this branch of this profession is coming into it’s own!  There is a sound and powerful tool that can be used to assist children with learning disabilities, turned eyes, lazy eyes and increasing short sightedness, and this tool is known as Behavioural Optometry!

Vision therapy activitiesVision therapy activities are used by Behavioural Optometrists around the globe to help children develop their visual skills.  The main aim of these is to help the child as they learn and develop in their schooling rather than helping them to perform a specific task within the Optometrist’s office.  It is one thing to see some measurements in the office change, but I know every parent of a child struggling to learn is far more interested in whether their child’s learning ability has increased!

 

So the big question is, “Do vision therapy activities actually work?”

 

What are the Vision Therapy Activities?

If your child is struggling at school, as a concerned mother or father you might be on the lookout for ways to improve their abilities.  So-called experts are fast to dismiss the effectiveness of vision therapy activities without even attempting to understand what they are and how they work!

Having been involved in Behavioural Optometry for more than 25 years, I’ve seen these therapies improve both my measurements and the actual school efficiency and learning abilities of children in the classroom.  However, I recognize that some activities taught by optometrists hold little value for bettering the school performance of children, even when they change our measurements in the consulting room.

Making the claim that these therapies don’t work is like saying piano lessons don’t work!   Why dismiss a complete profession because someone did not get a great result with the therapy?  I have done poorly at piano lessons, however piano lessons do seem to have worked quite well for Billy Joel!

Vision Therapy Activities That Can’t Fail!

It may surprise you to know that there are vision therapies which simply cannot fail to teach children the skills they need, in much the same way that piano or guitar classes can not fail to enhance children’s skills at playing.  What skills am I talking about?

I use vision therapy to train skills like eye movements and tracking, eye coordination and focus, visual memory for spelling, directionality for letter reversals and well-known skills like sequencing, coding, etc.  These skills are used day-after-day by everybody as they learn, read and study, but if they’re slow in developing for any reason, the child will struggle at school.

OK, the skills would possibly develop naturally, but what happens if they do not develop until Grade 8?  You would have a bright youngster who has trouble reading, writing and spelling.  Many of these kids actually don’t have dyslexia or brain damage, they most often have simply failed to develop the skills they need do the job properly.

which concentrate on the visual skills every person in every culture makes use of to learn and read will definitely assist a child with learning disabilities.  In fact, they can not fail to have a positive effect!

which concentrate on developing these essential visual skills nearly always see enhancement of the child’s learning ability.  In the same way that piano lessons will enhance both a novice player and an expert, getting these skills right can have a major impact on a child’s capacity to learn.

The best news is that the therapies which assist children are frequently fun and fascinating for the kids!  I have worked hard to produce a variety of therapies which kids will enjoy doing, will be challenged by yet will not be overwhelmed by.  We have now a incredible success rate with these therapies for helping children with learning disabilities, because they’re fun and the kids really like doing them.  They’re not weird, not boring and take round 6 months to help a child reach their full potential.  While I don’t teach children to read, I can provide the visual skills that they need to allow an academic professional to teach them to read.

So when it comes to helping children with learning disabilities, vision therapy activities which concentrate on developing the necessary visual skills are extraordinarily effective!

behavioural optometristIf you’re the mum or dad of a child with a learning disabilities, a Behavioural Optometrist might have the answers you’re looking for!

A Behavioural Optometrist has a special interest in children, especially those that are battling learning disabilities.  These sorts of youngsters most frequently present with symptoms like reduced concentration for all their school work, and nearly all of them have in some way failed to develop the necessary visual skills required to perform well at school.

But the great news is that a behavioural optometrist like myself can help your child right across the board, both in focus and visual skills, using a combination of reading glasses and targeted vision therapy.

 

A Behavioural Optometrist Can Help Focus

 

Most folks think that all an Optometrist can do is help a child to see better, and most kids with learning problems have absolutely no issues with seeing the print.  Yet, as a Behavioural Optometrist I can tell you that the most common symptom I see in children with learning disabilities is poor concentration, not blur, not headaches and not sore  eyes.  These different symptoms can occur, that is for certain, but reduced concentration for reading and near tasks is by far the commonest symptom.

This occurs because the pressure induced on a child’s visual system as they try to read and learn causes the focusing and eye coordination mechanisms in the eye to stress out and ultimately break down.  If concentrating on reading is demanding for a child, they either do the work and suffer eyestrain, headaches and sore eyes, or more commonly simply refuse to do it… that is, they stop concentrating on their school work!

A Behavioural Optometrist can prescribe special support or study lenses, or they can use focus and eye coordination vision therapy.  Both of these techniques work very well, and both of them can increase the length of time a child can concentrate for.  This is a dream come true for a lot of annoyed parents, however there’s so much more that we can do in addition to helping your child to concentrate, and there are a number of ways we can assist your child as they battle to learn at school.

A Behavioural Optometrist Can Assist Studying

A child learning to read should develop certain skills to do the job properly.  Skills like word recognition, visual memory, eye movements and control all serve to help a child when they read.  Children struggling to learn most often show diminished visual skills, mainly because they have never concentrated long enough to develop the skills they need, and this is where I can offer something totally unique to help.

I have designed special exercises, therapies and games which target and supercharge a child’s visual development, and these therapies also help them to pay attention and learn more efficiently.

As a child reads, shouldn’t these skills develop normally?  Well yes, they definitely need to, but if a child has learning difficulties then they typically do not develop correctly, or are slow at developing.

Vision therapy allows us to concentrate on developing these skills and make them happen faster than they would normal develop as a child reads.  While the lenses we prescribe help children to pay attention better without stress, vision therapy permits us to train the skills they need to read, write and spell quickly and effectively.

Combining the two allows us to have the maximum influence on a child’s learning experience, and to do so within the shortest amount of time.  I have the chance to see both of these techniques work successfully in my practice, and I really like hearing children excitedly inform me that they have gone up a level in reading, or listening to their dad and mom describe the improvement.

So when it comes to helping children with learning disabilities, a Behavioural Optometrist could hold the answer to the problem.

That’s why I love being a Sunshine Coast Behavioural Optometrist!

Vision Therapy at HomeVision therapy at home is recognized as an extremely cost efficient way of helping a child with learning disabilities.  It can train the kinds of visual skills a child needs to learn properly and may also help children who struggle to read, write and spell of their learning.  Being home based creates a difficult scenario for the optometrist because they are not in control of the therapies directly, yet it gives convenience and ease for the parents and the child.

The Benefits of Vision Therapy at Home

Not every eye condition can be adequately treated by home vision therapy, because expertese and tools are often necessary to do the job.  This is especially true of therapies which target huge visual problems like lazy eyes or turned eyes, especially if neurological problems are involved such as is often the case with eyes that turn inwards.

That being said, learning disabilities are simply and positively helped using a home based program of therapies.  The advantages include…

It is Convenient:  could be done at any time, without an appointment with an eye care professional.  You can mix it with morning activities, homework or the assorted commitments children have.

No Travel Required:  With vision therapy at home, there are not any appointments and no travel necessary to the doctor’s offices.  It’s accomplished within the comfort of home, in an environment a child knows, loves and understands and this can help with the effectiveness of the therapy.

It’s Available Everywhere:  Millions of people on the planet don’t live near a behavioural optometrist and as such don’t have any access to their services, including vision therapy.  But home based therapies are available to parents anyplace on the earth, at any time.  Go to the local optometrist to test the eyes and make sure they are healthy, then they’ll do our therapies at home.

It is Cost Effective:  At a behavioural optometrist vision therapy may cost hundreds of dollars over a number of months, including the visits, the homework and assessments.  is often a way more efficient product, so for the cost of six weeks in office therapy you are able to get an eight month program, for example.

It is Transferable:  is applicable to many children who have learning disabilities, and as such could be transferred to different children as well.  With our program, many parents have involved the siblings of the kid they’re focusing on and been able to see improvement in the learning skills of all children, all for the same price.

It is Fun!  As a father or mother do you take pleasure in spending time together with your learning disabled child trying to do homework?  Is it fun, or is it a battle, possiblly even all-out war!  From your youngster’s point of view, you might be asking them to do something they hate and aren’t any good at, after already spending the entire day at school doing stuff they hate and aren’t any good at!  Any wonder your child reacts with frustration and anger!

However, homework doesn’t have to be like that!  Take the time to train the skills that children need to learn successfully and homework becomes simple and even satisfying!  Helping them learn the skills needed may even change a child’s attitude to homework.  They will also feel they can do the tasks, and feel good about themselves and what they’ll achieve.

Traditional home therapies are boring and lead to just about the identical response from kids that homework does!  That’s why I have spent years designing and researching fun ideas and games that youngsters want to be a part of, but which successfully develop the skills they need to achieve at school.

The right kind of vision therapy at home could be the answer to the issues you face helping your child to learn reading, writing and spelling.

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.