If your child had problems with spelling in the previous school year, you’ve undoubtedly got your fingers crossed that this year will be a different story.Maybe last year’s teacher wasn’t up to snuff. Or perhaps your child just wasn’t as focused as he or she could have been. A lot can happen from one year to the next, and perhaps those spelling problems will go away.
However, there could be another issue.
Perhaps your child’s spelling problem is really a vision problem. If that’s the case, your child needs more than a great teacher and more practice. He or she needs a developmental optometrist.
A child who is a poor speller might have problems “seeing” a word written correctly in their minds. This is related to the skill called “visualization,” and if a child has an undetected vision problem, he or she may not have this ability. Here’s what can result:
Letter reversals. The most typical reversals include b and d, with p, q, and g being the next most common. This occurs because a child has an issue understanding the concepts of right and left, which is a visual perceptual problem.
Reversal of letter-orders. We often see students reverse the letters within a word. For example, “vision” might be spelled “visoin.” This can occur if a child knows how to spell the word, but due to issues with eye teaming and/or focusing, can’t always do it correctly.
Poor spelling may just be the issue. In some cases, a person just might make spelling mistakes – he or she might be a lousy speller. However, even among the poor spellers, life becomes easier if you remove any vision problems.
We cover the issue in greater detail in our post “Spelling Difficulties in Children Caused by Vision Problems.” As the school year proceeds and you see these issues starting to emerge, be sure to get a Functional Vision Test for your child.