Good Vision is Fundamental to Reading...
and Reading is Fundamental to Learnin
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Is Your Child's Vision Developing Normally?
As adults, we often take reading for granted. For most of us, learning
to read wasn't a problem. But for some children, learning to read can
be an ongoing struggle. The presence of a vision problem that makes
it hard to focus, move the eyes easily across a page of print, or use the
two eyes together as a team can interfere with reading and learning.
Reading involves a complex process that begins when our eyes focus on the words
on a page and move in a coordinated way along the lines of print. The visual images
our eyes record are sent separately from each eye to our brain. The brain combines
the two images into a single picture, converts the letters and words into abstract
representations of sounds and language, and develops the information into
meaningful ideas and concepts.

The process of reading includes:

1. Decoding
- recognizing letters and words and "sounding" them out.

2. Comprehension - gaining understanding of what is being read.

3. Retention - being able to remember what is read.

Sometimes children can "see" the words in a book, but they can't "see" what they
mean. They spend so much effort trying to make out or "decode" the letters in the
words they are reading that they have little mental energy left to understand and
remember the meaning of those words.

Vision Problems Cause Kids to Struggle

There are many factors that can affect a child's ability to learn to read or to read
effectively. Not all reading problems are due to vision problems. Difficulties with
hearing and language skills also can be major contributing factors. But it is
important to remember that the entire reading process starts with our eyes.

Although they can see words clearly, some children have an eye-brain processing
problem that causes them to struggle unnecessarily. Their inability to effectively
gather or process information through their eyes may result in their being
mislabeled as learning disabled or having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
(ADHD).

Vision Problems Can Affect Behavior

A child with a vision problem may not voice any concerns. However, his or her
actions may be a strong indication of the presence of one.

A smart child who struggles and isn't performing up to his or her potential may have
a learning-related vision problem; as can the child who gives up easily or becomes
stressed after reading or doing homework for a short time. These may be signs of a
vision problem that needs attention.

Hidden vision problems affect how well a child learns and understands. They can
cause difficulties with reading comprehension, math aptitude, problem solving and
reasoning.

If your child is experiencing any reading problems in school, make an appointment
with your eye doctor for a comprehensive vision examination.
TM
Set the Stage for
Reading Readiness
When you read to a young
child and encourage his or
her participation by listening
and responding to the story,
you help build needed
"reading readiness" skills.
Vision Topics
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