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Visual Skills: The 3 R’s that Detect Visual Perception Deficiencies – Recognition, Reading Comprehension and Retention
This article provides information to help parents determine if their child is experiencing issues with their visual skills. Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.
As you may have already read in previous articles, vision is more than seeing clearly and having 20/20 eyesight. This is even more accurate for kids in their learning years. Your child’s vision system is responsible for understanding and responding to what they see. As parents and caregivers, sometimes we don’t recognize that our child’s vision, reading and learning are intimately related. Kids who are not doing well in school may actually suffer from a vision-related problem. In addition, many individuals also don’t realize that behavior problems (for example, attention, fidgeting, listening and sitting still) at home and at school could be an indicator of visual system problems or disorders.
How Learning and Vision are Connected
When visual information is perceived or processed incorrectly, it cannot be integrated with the child’s other senses. Their lack of visual processing then halts learning in many areas in the classroom, and can manifest itself as a behavior or attention issue. If attention and focus are affected because of visual processing issues, the child typically begins to fall behind in other learning concepts. A few key details parents and educators need to know about a child’s learning and vision include the following:
- 1 in 4 kids have undetected vision related problems
- Vision changes can occur without your child noticing
- Poor vision can lead to low confidence in school and sports
- Regular comprehensive eye-exams are key to detect any visual problems before they go undiagnosed for long periods of time
In fact, the American Optometric Association (AOA) estimates that one in four school-aged kids have undetected vision problems that go beyond clarity and 20/20 visual acuity. These visual problems are visual perceptual skill deficiencies, or more commonly known as the 3 R’s. They include the following:
- Recognition: A child’s understanding of different letters and numbers (for example, b and d; p and q; 6 and 9; 2 and 5).
- Reading Comprehension: A child’s ability to “picture” what’s happening in the story they are reading.
- Retention: Remembering and recalling/stating details about something they just read.
Visual Perceptual Processing
The process where we take in information within our surrounding environment is called perception. In a school-age child, a great deal of their world is learning in the classroom. If a child’s visual perceptual skills are deficient in one of the 3 R’s then problems with reading, spelling, handwriting, comprehension and math occur. Without accurate visual perceptual processing, a student has difficulty with not only reading and comprehending written words, but also copying from a whiteboard, following directions in an organized manner, and visualizing past experiences. Vision perception also creates the ability for a child to integrate vision with the other senses, including balance when riding a bike, shooting a basketball or hearing a sound and visualizing where it came from (for example, an ambulance siren).
Visual Perception Skills Every Child Needs
Every child needs solid visual skills to succeed in school because every task and project they do relies on an active, properly working vision system.
Vision skills every child needs for classroom learning includes the following:
- Visual Acuity: Seeing clearly, both at far distances and short distances.
- Eye-hand Coordination: Taking visual cues and being able to direct movements with hands and arms.
- Visual Focus: Maintaining clear vision when distance changes (for example, when looking from the whiteboard to their paper so they can copy a sentence).
- Eye Teaming: Coordinating both eyes together, correcting eye movements and judging distances.
- Visual perception: Organizing images as ideas from words, letters, numbers and sentences.
- Visual Memory: Recalling past visual experiences and “picturing” what previously occurred.
Millions of children in the United States and across the world have vision conditions that can negatively affect their learning journey. Many parents rely on school eye exams to check for vision problems, however, many children with visual perception issues can pass eye exams easily. Eye exams were created to catch clarity problems, but not visual processing issues. Comprehensive eye exams by a vision specialist can discover more in-depth issues that a simple eye exam may miss (for example, eye movement delinquencies, visual perception issues and/or focusing problems). Some of the common signs and symptoms of vision problems include the following:
- Loses place when reading
- Tends to rub eyes frequently
- Headaches (especially after reading)
- Turns or tilts head when writing or reading
- Closes one eye when focusing
- Makes frequent reversals of letters or numbers
- Omits letters or words
- Fails to “picture” what happened in a story that was just read
- Struggles with visual memory, recalling visual information or visual images from a previous experience
Importance of Good Visual Skills
Kids learn about their world with their senses. Good vision doesn’t just come naturally. A child’s brain needs to learn how to use the eyes to see and process the information they see. All visual skills are strengthened by practice to improve a child’s ability to perceive what is being seen, to remember visual information (phone numbers and words), and to picture what was in a story. These are all visual perceptual processing skills that the child’s brain must finely tune.
A child’s visual skills will help them develop solid problem-solving skills as they grow that will help them throughout their life. Since learning-related vision problems can occur at any age without your child noticing much change, you must pay attention to signs and symptoms your child may experience to determine if they have visual perception issues and act on those signals while they are still young.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs