Children’s Vision and Learning
According to the American Optometric Association, up to 80 percent of a child’s learning in school is through vision. But 1 in 4 children in the classroom have vision problems. Further compounding the problem, upwards of 60 percent of parents don’t include regular eye exams as part of their children’s health care.
Since we know that no parent wants to see their child struggle with learning, we’re on a quest to educate parents about the difficulties children may face with their vision. Imagine entering a strange (class) room. You take a seat at a desk in the back when asked by the teacher. You hear her talking about what’s written on the chalkboard, but it’s all a blur.
She calls on you to reply to something on that chalkboard, but since it’s all hazy you can’t answer. And other children make fun of you for not answering the teacher.
This scenario is repeated in classrooms across the country at the beginning of the school year. Take a look at “Experience What It’s Like to Live With Poor Vision in a Classroom” video to find out what’s it’s really like for a child with vision problems. Difficulties can manifest not only in poor grades but behaviorally as well. Some children have even been known to develop tummy aches at reading time because it is so stressful for them with poor vision.
Understanding Vision Problems for Kids
Do you think your child may be struggling with an undiagnosed vision problem that is affecting his or her learning?
Most children begin learning to read in the home. Have you noticed reading difficulties such as skipping letters or words? Does your child skip over smaller type size? Do their eyes not track sentences across the page but find themselves reading lines above or below the one they are on?
These are just a few signs of potential vision problems. Many childhood vision difficulties can be overcome with treatment and coaching. Getting that assistance as soon as possible is key to success.
Improving Childhood Vision Problems
Some examples of fun exercises to do with your child to aid their visual acuity include drawings and games. (They also make terrific activities during summer vacation road trip!) Connect-the-dots drawing books are wonderful tools to help children develop the skills to connect letters, words and ideas into a cohesive whole. As children get older, they graduate to more sophisticated visual games such as crosswords and find-a-word drawings.
Assessing Your Child’s Vision
While nothing takes the place of a formal eye exam conducted by a licensed optometrist, you can begin at home to assess your child’s vision. Download and print out our short Quality of Life checklist. Use this as a guide to help determine if your child should be seen by an optometrist sooner rather than later.
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), children should receive their first eye exam at 6 months of age, receive additional exams at the age of 3, the age of 5 or 6, and before they enter kindergarten or first grade. Research has shown that 5 to 10 percent of preschool children and 25 percent of grade school aged children have vision problems. Don’t wait to help your child get great grades!
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an eye exam for your child, please call 707 254 2020, or visit us at 1328 Pearl Street, Napa, California. We are open 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday.