Discovering Vision Therapy Blog

Summer Break Not Always an Escape for Struggling Students



Struggling students are very excited that summer break is close at hand. The only people who may be more excited are their parents, who have watched helplessly as their children have struggled through the year. But this summer may not be a complete break from the academic struggles, and it also may help you discover the root cause of your child’s problem.

We’re going to make the assumption that you don’t know exactly what is causing your child to struggle in school, nor does your child’s teacher or physician.

We’re also going to assume that your child is bright, yet doesn’t seem to be able to translate his or her intelligence to the classroom. School is a struggle for your child, no matter how hard they work.

In fact, their struggles in school may have led to them being classified as having Attention Deficit Disorder, or even worse, an underachiever. They may be inattentive in school, and may even have a behavior problem in the classroom.

The bottom line is they don’t like school, which is why getting to summer vacation is a relief for both child and parent.

But will it truly be a relief?


Functional Vision Problems Don’t Take a Summer Break

How can we so accurately describe you and your child’s situation? Because we’ve seen thousands of children who fit the exact same description, and we’ve helped them overcome their struggles in school.

The real cause of their struggles in school may not be Attention Deficit Disorder or a bad attitude. It may be that they have a functional vision problem.

A functional vision problem extends beyond a child’s ability to read the letters on a Snellen eye chart. It has to do how their visual system interacts with an object in space.

This object in space might be a ball, a person in the hallway, and in the case of a struggling student, a book.

Functional vision is how your brain, eyes and visual pathways work together to help you see and interact with these objects in space. Functional vision includes such skills as depth perception, tracking an object as it moves through space, and orienting yourself in relation to other objects. This post details types of functional vision problems their symptoms.

How do these problems affect your child during the school year?

Poor tracking may hamper their ability to follow a line of text across a page. Poor convergence may cause double vision, causing words and numbers to jumble together. Poor laterality and directionality might cause a “b” to be confused with a “d”.

But a functional vision problem won’t be confined to schoolwork. This summer might give you some clues that your child has a problem with their functional vision system.


Summertime Symptoms of a Vision Problem

Remember, a functional vision problem affects how you see and interact with an object in space. Here are a few examples of how this could manifest during the summertime:


summertime activities

Difficulty with summertime sports. Baseball is America’s pastime, but for a child with a functional vision problem, it’s a nightmare. They may have poor depth perception or double vision that affect their ability to see, hit and catch the ball. Same goes for frisbee, golf, or anything involving a ball.

Problems with the 3D summer blockbuster. Summer usually means the latest blockbuster movie will be released. A child with a functional vision problem may have poor depth perception. They won’t be able to see the 3D effects on the big screen.

Ignoring the summer reading list. Summertime can be a great time to read for pleasure, but not for a child with a functional vision problem. They’ll bypass reading altogether, as keeping text single and clear while tracking word to word can be a real challenge.

These are just a few of the many ways your child's school year struggles can manifest during the summertime. If you notice some of these issues, your next step should be to schedule a Functional Vision Exam with a Developmental Optometrist.

Start addressing the problem during the summertime. It will be the first step toward making next school year less of a struggle.


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Posted by   Greg Mischio