August is Vision and Learning Month, and to help drive home the important link between vision and learning, here are some quotes we picked up from the website of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. We included a few of our reactions with them:
- "25% of students in grades K-6 have visual problems that are serious enough to impede learning." - American Public Health Association
Many of these vision problems are often undetected, missed by typical vision screening and even vision examinations.
- "When vision problems go undetected, children almost invariably have trouble reading and doing their schoolwork. They often display fatigue, fidgeting, and frustrations in the classroom-traits that can lead to a misdiagnosis of dyslexia or other learning disabilities." - American Optometric Association
- "It is estimated that 80% of children with a learning disability have an undiagnosed vision problem." - Vision Council of America
These statistics and statements are a wake-up call to special education professionals everywhere. ADHD and dyslexia symptoms are often similar to vision problems, which is why any child with a learning disability should get a Functional Vision Test. Children can have a learning disability and a vision problem at the same time.
- "Early diagnosis and treatment of children's vision problems is a necessary component to school readiness and academic learning; and that vision screening is not a substitute for a complete eye and vision evaluation by an eye doctor. Comprehensive eye and vision examinations...are important for all children first entering school and regularly throughout their school-aged years to ensure healthy eyes and adequate visual skills essential for successful academic achievement." - National PTA Policy Statement 2005, Elements of Comprehensive Health Programs
- "Early testing for vision problems is key to preventing learning disabilities or, in some cases, significant visual impairment in children." - Ned Calonge, MD, MPH, Task Force Chairman, Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The sad truth is that parents and teachers are often in a reactionary mode, and we have to deal with problems only after the child has struggled. Great public awareness could help us reach these students earlier, and improve their visual system before problems worsen.
- "A three year study of 540 children found that those children who had visual perceptual and eye movement difficulties did poorly on standardized tests." - Dr. Lynn Hellerstein, FAAO, FCOVD, Developmental Optometrist and Past President of COVD.
The last stat, included by our colleague Dr. Lynn Hellerstein, will become more applicable here in Wisconsin as schools increasingly use standardized tests as a barometer of success.
Let’s continue to make educators, parents and the general public aware of the dramatic impact of vision problems. August is a great time to schedule a Functional Vision Test, and the best way to avoid the disheartening statements listed above.
Learn how undetected vision problems can impact a child's ability to learn. Download your free Vision and Learning Guide.