Learning disabilities and vision disorders or visual deficiencies share common signs, symptoms and behaviors. While a learning disability cannot be cured or fixed, common vision problems in children that are often mistaken for learning disabilities, can be successfully treated and cured with vision therapy.
Having 20/20 eyesight does not rule out vision problems that interfere with learning. Watch this video to learn more about the relationship between vision and learning.
A learning disability is a neurological disorder that indicates a person’s brain is “wired” differently. Children with learning disabilities are no less intelligent than their classmates, but they may have difficulty learning through conventional teaching methods. A child with a learning disability may struggle with reading, writing, math, organizing information, memory, or with reasoning skills.
Examples of learning disabilities include auditory processing disorders (difficulty understanding spoken language), dysgraphia (difficulty with writing), dyslexia (difficulty understanding written language), dyscalculia (difficulty with math problems and concepts), and nonverbal disabilities (difficulty with spatial and facial cues).
Each type of learning disability presents unique challenges; and if the disability is identified early enough, children can be taught using different approaches and taught specific skills to cope and even thrive.
Learning-related vision problems may present almost identically to some learning disorders that can be significantly improved or even eliminated permanently with vision therapy.
Both a child with a learning disability and a child with a vision deficiency may reverse, transpose, invert, or mix up letters or words when reading and writing.
Both a child with a learning disability and a child with a vision deficiency may appear restless, fidgety, or distracted in a classroom setting or while doing homework.
Both a child with a learning disability and a child with a vision deficiency may have poor coordination or fine motor skills.
Both a child with a learning disability and a child with a vision deficiency may struggle with reading, writing, spelling, comprehension, and memory.
Both a child with a learning disability and a child with a vision deficiency may perform below grade level on standardized tests or perform more poorly than expected on exams.
Both a child with a learning disability and a child with a vision deficiency may be exceptionally bright or gifted but also struggle in school.
If you or child’s teacher suspect a learning disability, you’ll want to rule out a treatable vision problem. Your child might not need to learn differently. Instead, your child may need to undergo a treatment program to train and reinforce vision skills, with lasting results.
The only way to rule out a vision problem is with a comprehensive vision exam by a developmental optometrist who specializes in functional vision care.
For functional exam and vision therapy in Olney, Maryland or Silver Spring, schedule an appointment with Dr. Philip Nicholson’s Visual Learning Center.
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