from V. Liane Rice, OD, FCOVD
- If the child you are seeing has been labeled as gifted but is expressing no interest in reading and does not seem to be catching on to the “code” to learn to read, they may very well have a vision problem.They can have difficulty with receiving visual information or not know how to process the information appropriately.
- Vision therapy teaches a child to use their eyes more efficiently so that they require less effort to see and have more energy to comprehend what they are seeing. A child can have problems with focusing skills, eye movement skills, coordinating the two eyes as a team, eye health issues and/or a need for glasses. Glasses can act as a tool to allow a child to receive visual information more comfortably and with less effort.
- Children who have problems with processing visual information may either not know how to utilize the information they have or misinterpret what they are seeing. A visual perceptual evaluation looks at what we would normally expect from a child developmentally in comparison to the child who is sitting in front of the examiner. If there are deficits, vision therapy can play a role in solving problems in this area. It typically includes looking at visual memory, visual sequencing issues, problems with seeing differences between reversed and non reversed letters or numbers.
- Many times, a gifted child can score exceptionally well with visual processing skills but still have not made the leap toward breaking the code with reading. These kids are great to work with because the hardware is all there. They just need to learn how to use what they have. Linda Silverman and Alexandra Golon have described the visual spatial learner; these kids may need to have learning materials presented visually to maximize learning.
- Not every child who has a reading problem has a visual problem. Reading is the transfer of visual material to the auditory. Thus if problems occur, they can be with the visual system (receiving and/or processing), the auditory system (receiving and/or processing) and/or the transfer between the visual and the auditory system. Thus if problems are not found with the visual system with a child with reading problems, problems with the auditory system should be ruled out as well.