Behavioural Optometry- And How Vision is Related to Learning
Behavioural Optometry is a branch of Optometric practice that primarily deals with children, especially those with learning or developmental problems.
A Behavioural Optometrist like Darin Browne believes that kids are not miniature adults, and therefore should not be tested or treated like they are. He believes that kids need special tests, and should be treated as having special needs and demand on their vision.
But What Does Behavioural Optometry and Vision Have to Do With Learning?
Vision and Learning are closely related, with over 80% of all information a child takes in when learning coming through vision. It is the single most important sense we have, yet it is frequently overlooked when considering a child with learning difficulties!
Behavioural Optometrists recognise that the eyes are an obvious place to start when investigating the reasons why a child is struggling at school.?
The issue is not whether a child can see the print or whether their muscles are working, the issue is how they take in, process and understand the letters and words they are looking at, and also how they concentrate on the stress of a task, whether at home or in the classroom. Vision development is a key part of learning, and a behavioural optometry eye exam is needed to assess this.
Vision and Learning Needs more Than 20/20
20/20 vision, is a common diagnosis, but it actually means very little for a child suffering from learning difficulties.? All 20/20 means is that they can see the words, but it has no measure of the stress involved on the eyes, whether they can flow in their reading or whether they understand the words.
There is far more to vision and learning than just being able to see!
Darin says, “I see perfectly well and have a University education, yet when I visit a Chinese city, despite a reasonable intelligence and good eyes, I cannot understand the signs! I can?t even try and pronounce them, yet I see them!? Clearly there is more to learning and reading than simply seeing! Even though I am reasonably bright, why is it that I cannot understand Chinese?? I can see well enough, but I don?t know the code, so the symbols are meaningless to me.?
Behavioural optometry recognises that Kids who struggle in school can experience this with the English words they try to understand, so a true test for vision and learning must go far beyond just a child?s seeing ability.”
What is a True Test of Your Child’s Vision and Learning
When a Behavioural Optometrist like Darin examines a child, he wants to go beyond the simple prescription and seeing ability of the child.? He wants to look at how the child’s visual system balances as they read, whether they feel stress during the process, how they move their eyes across the page, how they coordinate their eyes as a team, and how they understand and interpret the symbols on a page. We need to find out HOW the child learns, whether they strain their eyes or feel stressed and how they use the vision skills that are essential for learning.
Most kids develop these during grade school, but children with learning problems often fail to develop or underdevelop these basic skills. But here’s the good news… We can test for these problems, and we can also care for your son or daughter and treat them very effectively using a combination of special lenses and targeted eye exercises (vision therapy).
We can improve the basic building blocks of vision and learning, no matter how badly your child is performing, and we can help them reach their full potential in the classroom. At Eye CU we believe that we can have a significant impact on a child’s learning ability by performing the right eye tests on your child and by using the right glasses or therapy to help them.
This will not only begin to combat their reading disability but also help relax their eyesight and improve family and home life as well! Stressed kids are frustrated kids, and they can take it out on parents and other family members at times (as you probably already know).
The Eye CU Difference in Behavioural Optometry
If your child is struggling at school, we want to provide what you need to improve their school performance! We do this because we care, and because we want to improve your child’s ability to learn effectively. We also do it because we are passionate about it.
We do it because your child is special and deserves the chance to reach their full potential!
We also do this because we believe there is a strong relationship between vision and learning that goes beyond the simple ability to see and involves a complex interaction between eyesight, muscles, and the brain. Darin says, “My calling as a Behavioural Optometrist is to maximize the potential of all children, especially those struggling with vision and learning problems.”