Vision & Learning

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1 in 5 children have a vision problem that impacts on efficient learning

The link between vision & learning

A large part of learning is done visually. Reading, spelling, writing and computer work are tackled all day, every day at school. Each task requires sustained visual attention at a close distance (30-40cm).

As vision and learning are intimately connected, a vision problem can sometimes be mistaken for a learning problem.

The whole brain is involved with vision and integrated with all other senses. Two thirds of our brain pathways is taken up by vision.

Vision and Learning
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80% of learning takes place through vision

School vision screenings routinely check children’s sharpness of vision at distance–measured by the 6/6 line on the eye chart–and refer children for glasses if they have blurry far-away vision and can’t see the board from the back of the room. Unfortunately, this is all school vision screenings are designed to check, yet a child’s vision involves so much more.

Many parents do not realise that their child’s struggles in the classroom are in no way linked to their intelligence or how hard they are trying. Instead many children are not able to visually process the information put before them.

Apart from being able to see clearly, visual skills that are needed are:

Eye tracking - both eyes working together following a line of print

Eye teaming - both eyes working together to converge at near and far

Visual perception - includes visual memory, visualisation, directionality and sequencing

Accommodation - eyes focusing

Binocular Vision - simultaneously blending images from both eyes into one image

Symptoms of poor visual performance include:

    • Blurred vision distance or near
    • Rubs eyes frequently
    • Squints
    • Occasionally sees double
    • Closes or covers one eye
    • Able to read for only a short time
    • Holds things very close or very far
    • Poor reading comprehension
    • Frequent headaches or eye strain
    • Sloppy handwriting
    • Poor/no spacing when writing
    • Reverses letters and numbers
    • Trouble learning right and left
    • Poor judgement of depth
    • Difficulty changing focus far and near

    • Moves head a lot when reading
    • Frequently loses place when reading
    • Skips lines when reading
    • Uses finger to keep place
    • Poor posture when reading or writing
    • Short attention span
    • Mistakes words with similar beginnings
    • Difficulty recognising letters, words, shapes
    • Trouble with basic math concepts
    • Poor speller
    • Can respond orally but not in writing
    • Poor copying skills
    • Turning of an eye in or out
    • Dizziness or motion sickness

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