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The following is a list of some visual problems that can be helped with Vision Therapy. Visually-related reading disorders can be caused by difficulty with the skills of Visual Efficiency or Visual Processing. Following each problem are some symptoms of those problems. Please keep these in mind when you see a child struggling in school.

Visual Efficiency

Visual Efficiency is how the eyes see the information: 













  • Accommodation is the ability to keep things clear by adapting vision to see at a desired distance. The nine signs of an accommodation problem:

    • Reading comprehension is good when the child first begins reading, but then rapidly reduces the longer reading is continued.

    • The child avoids reading. Pages are counted before reading commences and only shorter works are attempted.

    • The child complains of discomfort about the eyes or headaches when reading. Younger children, rather than complaining may rub their eyes or merely avoid reading.

    • The child blinks excessively when reading, looking at street signs or the chalkboard as if trying to "clear things up."

    • The child complains that things are blurry even though a vision screening or eye examination has demonstrated 20/20 acuity.

    • The child holds books too close to his eyes or moves the book or his head closer and further away as if to clear things up.

    • The child makes seemingly careless errors when reading or copying from the chalkboard. Long words like rhinoceros are recognized while little words such as of, as, and is, or small beginnings and endings of words are misread or confused.

    • The child's reading comprehension is not as good as his intelligence would predict. Math, with the exception of "story problems," is better than subjects such as English, social studies, or science, which require reading. The more reading there is to do, the worse the problem becomes.

    • The child has blurred vision at a distance after much near work.

  • Convergence is the ability to maintain both eyes pointed at the same object. The six signs of deficient convergence ability:

    • The child covers or closes one eye when reading.

    • The child tends to rest his head on the palm of one hand when reading. The hand "just happens" to cover one eye.

    • The child holds the book to one side or turns his head to one side when reading so that both eyes cannot see the print at the same time.

    • The child adds or removes parts from words when reading.

    • When copying materials from the chalkboard, the child repeats letters within words.

    • When performing math problems, the child fails to align the columns of numbers correctly because the numbers are seen to run together.

  • Eye movements consist of tracking with eyes when looking from one point to another.

    • The five signs of deficient eye movement abilities (tracking or ocular motor dysfunction):

    • The child moves his head rather than his eyes when reading.

    • The child too frequently loses his place or skips lines when reading.

    • The child makes seemingly careless errors when reading. Beginnings or endings of words are altered or missed. "Small" words are skipped.

    • Past the age of seven, the child needs a finger to keep his place when reading.

    • The child is labeled as having a problem with "attention".

Visual Processing

Visual Processing is what the brain does with the seen information.

  • Visual Perception is the ability to understand and recognize likes and differences in what is seen. The six signs of a visual perception problem:

    • The child is not learning how to read on schedule. He is having difficulty learning to recognize words.

    • The child is having difficulty in kindergarten.

    • The child is still having problems recognizing letters or numbers past the end of kindergarten.

    • The child is still writing "B's" and "D's" backwards past the end of first grade (It is normal for kindergarten students to "reverse" letters. By the end of first grade, however, only about two out of ten children are still reversing.)

    • The child frequently confuses similar beginnings or endings of words.

    • The child recognizes the sound of individual letters, but cannot break words down into syllables so as to "sound them out."


  • Eye-Hand Coordination is the ability of using eyes in order to guide hands. The five signs of an eye-hand coordination problem:

    • The child has difficulty spacing his words and keeping them on the line when writing.

    • The child's handwriting is poor.

    • The child does not seem to use his eyes to guide his hands to stay inside the lines when coloring. He avoids coloring, drawing or maze-tracing activities.

    • When working with written math problems, the child has difficulty keeping the columns lined up.

    • The child easily understands and can discuss what he has heard, but has difficulty getting his thoughts down on paper.


  • Visual Imagery is the ability to "see pictures in the mind." The ability to remember images from the past is called visual memory. The ability to form new images in your mind is called visualization. The five signs of difficulty with visual imagery ability:

    • The child has persistent difficulty learning to spell.

    • The child fails to recognize the same word in the next line.

    • The child fails to "picture in his mind" what is read.

    • The child has difficulty recalling what he did during the day or what he saw on the way home from school.

    • When the child loses his place during reading or board work he has difficulty remembering where he was so that he can find his place.

  • Dyslexia is a condition where there is an inordinate difficulty learning to read and/or spell. There are many types of dyslexia. It is possible to have one type or a combination of types. The three main signs of dyslexia:

For example the word "School" may be spelled as follows.

The child has persistent difficulty learning the direction of letters and numbers.

The child seems to quickly forget how to spell words just learned.

The child spells words the way they sound rather than the way they are spelled.

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