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The connection between vision and learning problems

A parent emailed with this question: “George has had many eye exams,but his reading skills are still poor. I really want to find someone who is good at sorting out how much of his learning issues are vision related and how much is from learning or processing issues. Can you help?”

To tell the difference between a learning issue and a vision issue, you can go one of two ways.

1. Do a vision exam with a eye doctor who believes in vision therapy and who will assess vision skills like tracking, visual discrimination, visual memory and other vision issues which can impact reading and learning skills. This way if no problems are found with visual issues you can take the next step and assess for a learning issue.

If visual issues are identified, you will have the information you need address them. Once the visual issues are addressed there may still be some learning areas that need to be strengthened, but it will be easier now that the visual skills are working better.

2. Have an educational evaluation that includes auditory and visual processing issues including: auditory and visual memory, auditory and visual attention, phonological processing, visual scanning, visual-motor integration, along with reading, writing, math and language ability. This kind of testing usually also includes an WISC IV IQ test, so cognitive abilities can be compared to processing and academic abilities.

This assessment will give a good overall picture of the child’s learning strengths and weaknesses. Then a plan can be made to build the weak areas and maximize the strengths.

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