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Are you convinced that your son or daughter has dyslexia because he or she reverses letters and numbers? Although the problem can be a symptom of dyslexia, it may also be caused by a vision issue. If the actual cause of the problem isn't identified, your child may suffer unnecessarily for years.
How Can Vision Problems Mimic Dyslexia?
Acuity, the able to see objects clearly, is an important aspect of good vision, but it's not the only factor. When you look at an object, the image is transmitted from the retina, the light-sensing layer at the back of your eye, to your brain via the optic nerve. The brain processes and interprets the images it receives. If there is a problem with your visual processing system, you may not be possible to use your vision effectively, even if you don't need glasses.
Several visual processing issues can cause the problem, including:
What Are the Symptoms of Visual Processing Problems?
Behavioral problems at school may actually be an indication that your child has a visual processing problem. When children can't identify letters, copy assignments from the board or do well in a game of kickball at recess, he or she may quickly become frustrated and act out. Other symptoms may include:
How Can I Help My Child?
Most visual processing issues can be improved with vision therapy, a treatment method that improves the way the eyes and brain work together. Vision therapists, optometrists who specialize in treating these complex vision issues, use games and activities, exercises, prisms, filters and other devices designed to help your child make the most of his or her vision.
Activities are age appropriate and designed to capture your child's interest. For example, a young child who has a tracking problem may participate in an activity that uses multi-matrix blocks. The small colored blocks feature numbers, letters, shapes and a series of dots. Asking a child to flip over the blocks to display the dotted sides can help improve his or her ability to scan words. Your child's vision therapist may also recommend strategies that can make reading at school easier, such as using color overlays over papers to decrease glare.
Vision therapy offers an effective way to help your child improve his or her performance at school and in sports. Contact us to find out how we can help your son or daughter.
Understood: The Difference Between Dyslexia and Visual Processing Issues
Irlen: What is Irlen Syndrome?
College of Optometrists in Vision Development: Forward Progress from Backward Letters, 8/5/16
Learning Disabilities Association of America: Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
Understood: Understanding Visual Processing Issues
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"Dr. Sapossnek is an excellent optometrist. She has my complete trust. She is so thorough in her exams and includes parents in conversation and education, so I know and understand all the facets of my children's vision. All of the above [in the Patient Satisfaction Survey are] EXCELLENT, no need to elaborate. I feel fortunate to have found Dr. Sapossnek and am glad all of us can go to her-both for my child with vision therapy needs, daughter and I with glasses, and son who needs neither."
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