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Vision Based Learning and Children's Eye Exercises

Vision plays a huge role in our quality of life and ability to learn and process the world around us. In the workplace, we are often reminded of the importance of taking a break from the computer screen during our work day. Giving our eyes a rest from our monitors may be enough to keep our eyes from fatigue, but for children still developing their vision, a break from the screen is only the beginning.

For a child’s eyes, something as simple as a trip to the park becomes the perfect visual workout. Unfortunately, due to less time outdoors and a strong focus on technology (learning tools like tablets and computers), the majority of preschool and elementary school children are no longer getting the amount of outdoor eye muscle exercise needed to correctly develop their vision into young adulthood.

Published in a March 2014 article in JAMA Pediatrics, children get more sleep, do better in school, show more positive behavior and experience physical health benefits when parents limit content and the amount of time their children spend on computers or television. Lack of physical activity also impacts ocular motor abilities. While sitting to view a computer screen, our eyes remain stationary, but when our bodies are in motion, our eyes spontaneously move. Sadly, as beneficial as we think those electronics are for education, they should be viewed as just as detrimental. Using them in moderation is essential to a child’s development. Here are a few key reasons why.

  1. Focus, tracking, and depth perception will develop continually from birth throughout early and middle childhood. These visual skills are needed to perceive, recognize, and identify shapes, letters and numbers for reading and writing. Limiting your child’s screen time and replacing it with gross motor play will also stimulate their nervous system.
  2. Children who primarily concentrate on electronics are less able to alternate between near and far vision and develop their peripheral vision. The ability to focus and converge the eyes from far point to a near point is necessary during school and may show up as the first sign of a vision difficulty. All too often, children appear to have a learning disability or attention problems when the real culprit is poor visual processing skills.

Symptoms that indicate your child may be experiencing vision-based learning difficulties include:

  • Head tilting or closing one eye while reading
  • Difficulty drawing a straight line
  • Bumps into things or knocks things over
  • Holds books very close to eyes
  • Burning, itching or constant watering of the eyes
  • Homework takes a long time to complete
  • Teacher reports the child is often off task often during class
  • Gets frustrated often when reading or writing
  • Is not able to copy from the board at school
  • Gives up easily on tasks even before trying

There is a true sense of urgency when it comes to a child’s vision. The ability of both eyes to focus on an object simultaneously becomes fully developed by around age seven. This makes it imperative that vision difficulties are corrected in elementary school children by implementing visual exercises that can be done in just a few minutes a day.

Coleman Vision - Playing baseballThe busiest muscles in our bodies are, amazingly, the eye muscles. We have six muscles that help the eyes move vertically, horizontally, anteroposterior (both front and back), and to rotate. Just like our arm, leg, neck and back muscles require movement and stretching, our eye muscles benefit greatly from targeted movement exercises. Outdoor play including running, skipping, crawling, and playing ball games promotes natural movement of the eyes and hand-eye coordination, depth perception, and eye tracking. Combined with daily vision exercises below and an eye examination, your child can be on a course for fully developed healthy vision.

Daily Vision Exercises for Children:

  • Up and Down. Have your child place their hands out and above and below their head level. Moving eyes only, have them look at each hand 10 times.
  • Side to Side. Have your child place their hands out wider than should distance apart. Moving eyes only, have them look at each hand 10 times.
  • Nose to Thumb. Have your child place their hand straight out, with one thumb up. With both eyes open, have them look in at their nose, then out to their thumb. Repeat 10 times.
  • Eye Shifting. This exercise helps a child learn to shift their eyes quickly from one point to another. Have your child hold an object out in their hand. Have them focus on the object, then look to another object such as a picture on the wall about 10 or more feet away. Repeat 10 times.
  • Tracking Exercises. This exercise is helpful to children that tend to skip words, switch the order of letters, or lose their place when reading. Tie a string around a ball. Have your child lie on their back. Swing the ball back and forth, side to side, and around in a circle. Have the child tracking the motion with only their eyes, head stationary. Repeat each direction 10 times.
  • Eye Writing. Have your child draw a letter, number or shape on a wall using only their eyes.
  • Imaginary Clock. Have your child imagine a large clock. Ask a number and with only their eyes have them look to where the number would be on a clock.
  • Flashlight Following. Together with your child, and two flashlights in a dark bedroom, have them follow your flashlight as you shine it on objects in the room, near and far, slow and fast. Take turns being the leading flashlight.
  • Board Games. Unlike games on a flat screen, playing object based board games like Operation, Pick-Up Sticks, and Lite Brite can exercise eye muscles and improve fixation skills. Beading jewelry or using modeling clay are a few more ways your child’s vision can get a workout without them even knowing it.

These eye exercises are a quick start and helpful to improve and enhance your child’s vision, but they are not enough to correct vision problems with binocular, oculomotor, or accommodative diagnoses that require a doctor’s care. Your child should have a visual screening with your family optometrist before beginning their first year of school.



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If your child exhibits any vision-based learning difficulty symptoms, schedule an evaluation with us today. Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman are developmental optometrists. They are trained to diagnose and treat vision-based learning problems and will assist in guiding you on a corrective treatment and exercise plan.

What You Should Know About Slow Processing Speed

Imagine a life where you read numbers and words just as you see them, but you are consistently told you are wrong. Or you are given directions, but somehow lose track of the task you were asked to complete, and everyone around you seems to have little patience for your way of doing things. These reactions to your perception of the environment leave you constantly feeling frustrated, anxious and overwhelmed.

Now imagine that you are only 6 years old and experiencing the above scenarios with little understanding of how to explain what is happening. As parents, teachers and mentors, we are essential in helping calm their confusion by simply observing and reporting struggles that disguise themselves as learning difficulties. Luckily, learning difficulties often stem from three very common factors: Visual Development Delays, Anxiety, and Slow Processing Speed.

Vision Delays, Slow Processing Speed and Anxiety

Does your child take two hours to do math or reading homework when others seem to take minutes? Does he do poorly on tests even though he knows the the material? Does he often “have a stomach ache” when trying to do work at school? Does he find it hard to follow multi-step directions where there isn’t a lot of time to get the task done? There are many possible reasons for these struggles, but visual delays or slow processing speed may be the root cause.

What is Processing Speed?:

  • Processing speed is the pace at which you take in information, process it and form a response. This information can be visual, in the form of letters, numbers or actions. It can also be auditory, such as spoken language or familiar sounds.
  • Having slow processing speed can be measured in how fast a child can take in and use information. It has nothing to do with how smart the child may be. It may take kids who struggle with processing speed a lot longer than other kids to perform tasks, both school-related and in daily life.
  • If you give multiple-step directions a child with slow processing speed may not follow all of them, often loosing track of the tasks. Having slow processing speed makes it hard to digest all that information quickly enough to finish the directions.
  • A child with slow processing speed may see the letters that make up a word in the correct way, but they may not immediately know what they spell. It’s not that she can’t read. It’s just that a process that’s quick and automatic for other kids her age takes longer and requires more effort for her.
  • Slow processing speed impacts learning at all stages. It can make it harder for young children to master the basics of reading, writing and counting. Older kids display slow processing speed by the inability to perform tasks quickly and accurately.

Signs of Slow Processing Speed:
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Slow processing speed can affect kids in the classroom, at home and during activities like sports. Children may show recurring difficulties in:

  • Finishing tests in the given time
  • Finishing homework in reasonable time
  • Listening or taking notes when a teacher is speaking
  • Reading and taking notes
  • Solving simple math problems in their head
  • Completing multi-step math problems in the allotted time
  • Doing written projects that require details and complex thoughts
  • Keeping up with conversations

Parents and teachers may notice that a child:

  • Becomes overwhelmed by too much information at once
  • Needs more time to make decisions or give answers
  • Needs to read information more than once for comprehension
  • Has trouble following multi-step directions

Signs of Anxiety:

Anxiety happens to all of us. But for some children, it can also result and be fueled by Slow Processing Speed and Visual Delays. As adults, when feel anxious we freeze for a moment. During that time, we’re not processing information as fast as we might otherwise be. We may take longer to respond, make decisions or size up situations.

In children, this anxiety can create a delay in processing speed. But slow processing speed can also create feelings of anxiety. They actually fuel each other, but determining which one comes on first is key to finding the root of the learning difficulty.

Imagine a child taking a test in class. She sees her classmates moving quickly from problem to problem, while she trails behind. This event may create a lot of anxiety in the moment. It might even make her feel anxious before the next test. But the more anxious she becomes, the slower her processing becomes, ending in her failing the test even though she knew the material.

This cycle can make it difficult to tell where the anxiety stops and the slow processing speed begins. Which one caused which? Also there is the question of what fueled them, a visual delay, attention issue or learning difficulty.

Signs of Visual Delays:

Visual development delays can disguise themselves as attention issues, anxiety and slow processing speed, among many other learning delays. The signs of a visual delay can present itself as visual-motor skill difficulties such as using scissors or gluing, copying letters or numbers incorrectly, or the inability to distinguish between similar letters or shapes, among may other tasks that appear as a learning delay.

The Importance of Recognizing Slow Processing Speed in Children:

What you should know about slow processing speedSlow processing speed isn’t a learning or attention issue on its own, but it can contribute to learning and attention issues such as dyslexia, ADHD, dyscalculia, chronic anxiety or auditory processing disorder. It can also impact functioning thinking skills that help kids plan, set goals, respond to problems, and be persistent. Kids who are slow to process information may have trouble getting started on assignments, staying focused and assessing how well they’re doing.

Important to Remember:

  • Children with slow processing speed often have feelings of anxiety.
  • Without intervention, these feelings can develop into chronic anxiety disorder.
  • Slow processing speed is not a learning or attention disorder, but can fuel them.
  • Visual delays may first present themselves as slow processing speed symptoms, attention issues or recurring anxiety.

Key Steps to Diagnosing Visual Delays or Slow Processing Speed

If you suspect your child is struggling with processing speed, the first step is to speak to your child’s teachers. Discuss you own observations and concerns and find out if the teacher has noticed some of the same issues or maybe ones you have not noticed at home.

Next, schedule a visual exam with a Developmental Optometrist, who will look for developmental delays in your child’s vision…becoming increasingly common due to extended use of monitors and tablets. The exam will include a number of tests not included in a standard exam. A program of Vision therapy may be all that is required to correct these delays and resolve the anxiety and vision based processing speed issues.

From there, if the Developmental Optometrist suspects other issues are interfering with your child’s ability to learn, you may be referred to have them evaluated to determine what kinds of help may be necessary.

Recognizing, understanding and addressing the link between visual delays, anxiety and slow processing speed is essential in getting your child help. But showing empathy is key to helping them recognize and manage their anxiety. Working encouragingly with them will let them know they are not alone, and that you’re there to support them.

Toys That Help Develop Ocular Motor Skills and Visual Tracking

Ocular motor skills and visual tracking are crucial for your child as they learn to read and write. If children are mixing p for q, b for d, and mixing other letters, it could be a sign of a deficiency in the development of their ocular motor skills and visual tracking. This also affects their handwriting as well as their reading as they struggle to use their hands with their eyes to guide their hand across the page to write words and track them visually across a page.

This video shows a reader with poor ocular motor development next to a normal reader.

Aside from reading and writing, ocular motor skills are necessary for a number of tasks such as throwing, catching, organization, and navigating environments safely. Poor development of ocular motor skills can have a direct influence on your child’s ability to accurately perceive and receive visual information.

Fortunately, you can help strengthen your child’s eyes while they are young. There are a number of toys that can are both fun for the child and help with the development of their ocular motor skills and visual tracking.

Bead and Thread: This toy is good for visual stimulation and development of fine motor skills. Your child has to visually track the thread through the bead, as they use their hands and fingers to thread the string through the bead.Coleman Vision - Bead and thread

Wooden Maze: The goal is to track the marble through the maze from side to side. This toy is small so it allows your child to easily hold it in their hands to maneuver the marble through the maze. Because of its small size, this is a very transportable game that can used on vacations or car rides.Coleman Vision - Wooden maze

Figure 8 Train Track: This is a great toy for your child. Activities that feature a figure 8 are great for strengthening eyes. They help with ocular motor skills and tracking for reading and hand-eye coordination.

Coleman Vision - Figure 8 train

Marble Run: Being able to track from left to right as well as from top to bottom is important for developing your child’s reading ability. The marble run is great for developing ocular skills from top to bottom as the follow the marble down the track.

Coleman Vision - Marble run

Bead Roller Coaster: This is another great toy that will give your child a chance to track both left and right and top to bottom. It allows them to use their hands as they manipulate the beads along the different colored tracks.

Coleman Vision - Bead roller coaster

Ocular motor skills and visual tracking can be improved through vision therapy. As a parent it important that you educate yourself and watch for signs of poor ocular motor skills or visual tracking. If you have any concerns that your child’s ocular motor skills and visual tracking may not be developing properly then see a vision professional for an evaluation.

At Coleman Vision we provide comprehensive family eye care in addition to functional vision exams and treatment for all ages in the unique areas of vision development, vision and learning, visual therapy and sports vision. With over 65 years of family service, we are the only clinic in the Joplin area uniquely trained and experienced in providing the full spectrum of functional, performance-based vision therapy and care. Want more helpful health tips? Visit our blog at: /blog/

Great Whole Body Movement Games for your Children

One of the best things for your child’s developing brain is exercise and movement. Both provide opportunities for children to develop eye-hand coordination, balance, and motor skills. Children should be active every day, and because children love to play, games are a fun easy way to get your kids going!

One easy game that kids love is tag. Kids of all ages like tag because it allows them to run and be active, but also has a competitive aspect to it. Tag works whole body movement, builds endurance, and develops direction following.

Check out these clever variations on a simple game of tag!

Children need to develop both gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Activities like running and jumping work the gross motor skills. Activities like clapping and spinning work the fine motor skills. Active learning through games can help them understand quantitative concepts such as high or low, big or small, or fast and slow, for example.

Read this article for great ideas on A to Z movement activities.

Variation is the key, so be sure to try different games. This fun way to get moving is great stimulation for the brains of both children and adults. Get out there and have fun playing games with your children.

Like this blog and want to know more about how proper brain and eye development are key to your child’s success? Be sure to check our blog regularly and we’ll keep you informed with the latest in vision therapy, eye health, and positive learning tips!



Take the Free Vision and Learning Quiz

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At Coleman Vision, we place our patient’s quality of compassionate vision and ocular health above all other considerations. Come see the difference Coleman Vision can make for you and your child.

Bilateral Integration – Crossing the Midline

Bilateral integration is the process of learning to use the opposite sides of the body and brain to perform everyday activities. Although the activities and skills required to perform tasks that build bilateral integration appear physical in nature, they also activate the two hemispheres of the brain preparing the brain to tackle higher order thinking and learning skills as your child enters his academic career.

How Do Children Learn Bilateral Integration?

There are a number of steps or milestones that children attain during normal development that lead to full bilateral integration.

Symmetrical Bilateral Integration: During infancy and toddlerhood children perform symmetrical tasks. This includes learning to play patty-cake where both sides of the body perform the same task. Other symmetrical tasks include jumping with both feet together, clapping or banging on pots and pans. You may notice your little one splashing in water by hitting the surface of the water with both hands using an identical motion.

Reciprocal Bilateral Integration: Once a child masters symmetrical bilateral integration, he will move on to tasks involving reciprocal movements from each side of the body. The task performed on one side of the body will be opposite the task performed on the other. Arms and legs will swing or perform in an opposite motion. Examples of reciprocal bilateral integration include learning to crawl, walk, climb stairs, skip and other activities that require opposite movements from the arms and legs. In older children this includes pedaling a bike or climbing a ladder.

Asymmetrical Bilateral Integration: At this stage the child has typically developed a dominate hand and will use it to perform a task while the non-dominant hand or foot performs a different task. Initially, asymmetrical bilateral integration involves using the dominant hand to perform the task while keeping the non-dominant hand steady, such as putting toothpaste on a toothbrush or stabilizing a coloring paper with one hand and coloring with the other. As the child develops more advanced asymmetrical bilateral integration skills, he can then tackle tasks like buttoning and zipping his clothing or tying his shoes. This also includes cutting with scissors.

Crossing the Midline Bilateral integration: Once a child has established the first three stages of bilateral integration, he is ready to move on to crossing the midline. This means he is able to cross an imaginary line that divides the two sides of the body to perform a task. This stage is vital to learning to perform cognitive tasks that require the use of both hemispheres of the brain. Some examples of activities that cross the midline include: touching the left shoulder with the right hand, touching the right hand to the left toe, and other physical activities that require the hand or foot on one side of the body to perform a task on the opposite side. It also includes reaching across the imaginary midline to color a paper, pick up toys or cards in a game, or to write the letters of the alphabet.


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Why is Crossing the Midline So Important?

Crossing the midline shows that the two sides (hemispheres) of the brain are able to communicate efficiently. This allows your child to access the information and attributes from both sides of the brain. The left hemisphere is traditionally considered the center for logical and factual information while the right hemisphere is the center for feelings, language and creativity. When these two hemispheres communicate well, your child can perform the tasks required for reading, writing and mathematical reasoning. In addition, failure to cross the midline may make it difficult for a child to track writing across a page in reading and may hinder his ability to complete worksheets or complete patterns or recognize sequences that carry across a page.

Can You Correct Problems with Crossing the Midline?

Yes. Many children respond favorably to activities that build their skill at crossing the midline. These include physical exercises, like touching the opposite hand to the toes, touching the opposite shoulder with his hands and touching the opposite elbow to a raised knee. It even includes learning to do the old chorus line dance where opposite legs are raised and cross the midline to music. Other activities include pen and paper tasks, such as drawing a line to match objects from columns of either side of the page. A therapist is often useful in teaching your child to build strong bilateral integration skills, but you can do activities at home too.


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Back to School Prep

August is when we start our back to school preparation. It’s time for filling out forms, buying school clothes, and school supplies. August is also Vision and Learning month, which is a good reminder that we need to take care of our children’s eye health as they enter the school year. Your child’s vision constantly changes as they age, so it is important to schedule regular eye exams and maintain proper vision care to ensure success in the classroom. The first eye assessment should have been around six months of age. Comprehensive eye exams should start at age 3. Continue reading

Visual Milestones for Reading – What to Look for

Being able to understand and identify visual milestones in your child is very important to make sure your child’s eyesight develops properly. Proper eyesight is important as children grow and learn about the world around them. Here are some important milestones to identify as your child grows from birth through their 6th birthday.

Birth-1 Month
You can begin spotting visual milestones as soon as your baby is born; infants should respond to bright lights and moving objects. As your baby grows, his/her visual senses become more complex and developed. By one month, your baby should be able to follow objects and although there may be not cues that this is happening, they should start to see some colors. Instances of eye crossing should be diminishing by the end of their first month as well.

2-3 Months
At this point, your baby should be following lights and objects more readily and is developing the ability to focus on objects and keep his/her vision stable. Before this stage, if your baby tries to follow an object, their movements are likely shaky. This is an important development toward learning to read, as eyes need to focus and be stable in order to read. Your baby should also begin to look more intently at faces.
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4-6 Months
Once your baby has mastered the ability to smoothly track objects, he/she should start reaching for objects. They can see objects more clearly and their color vision is almost fully developed. During this time, your baby should also be developing hand-eye coordination, as they start to reach for and pick up objects.

7-12 Months
Your baby is now developing a sense of depth perception, which allows your baby to see the world in three dimensions. They are also able to track more objects with their eyes, including objects that are moving quickly. Babies at this stage are more able to recognize faces, and often enjoy playing peek-a-boo. Hand-eye coordination also becomes more developed as your baby learns to crawl and walk.

1-2 Years
Your baby’s vision really begins to expand during this year. He or she will look at pictures and recognize faces, shapes, and familiar objects. They can understand more subtle differences in shapes, sizes and colors. Their hand-eye coordination becomes much more developed, as they pick up and play with more objects.

3-5 Years
All of your child’s visual skills become better. By 5 years, you should be able to get your child tested to make sure their vision is 20/20, and you may discover that they need corrective lenses at this point. Toward the end of this period, your child should be focusing on reading development and begin to recognize sight words and match spoken words to written words.

6 Years
By six years of age, your child should be ready to read, and should already be recognizing words and letters. They should be able to sound out words and read aloud. By the end of their 6th year, your child should have developed literacy skills and be able to read.

If you notice that your baby is not reaching many of these vision milestones, it is important to discuss this with your pediatrician. Here are some things that you may notice if your child is having trouble seeing, especially in the early stages: your baby doesn’t notice your face, your baby can’t track objects with his/her eyes, your baby’s eyes roll or don’t seem to focus, or your baby or child rubs their eyes and/or produces tears more than normal.

 

SOURCES
http://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=age-appropriate-vision-milestones-90-P02305

http://www.eyes4kids.com/eye-facts-milestone.php

Games That Train Your Child's Brain

Early childhood development is something that all parents should be concerned about as their children grow. While much of the motor skills and vision tracking that your child learns as an infant will be key in their performance and learning ability later on, much of their brain development takes place from the ages of 3 to 5 years old. During this very important brain growth period, your child’s nerve pathways are growing and setting the building blocks for a life full of learning about the world around them. To help make sure your child’s brain is developing properly and that they have the best possible advantages as they continue to grow, brain training games are something you and your child can work on together.

3 Awesome Games to Help Train Your Child’s Brain

Jump start brain development, hand-eye coordination and vision tracking with these fun, brain activity boosting games that you and your toddler will enjoy! Each one of these games are great for sensory development and may help prevent eye development issues as your child grows.

Coleman Vision - Games for your childRepeating Patterns (Ages 18 months and above)

This game is ideal for developing the eye and teaching your child problem solving skills.

Begin by using colorful building blocks to create simple structures and patterns including 3 blocks in a row, 2 blocks with 1 above and so on. Ask your toddler to copy your pattern. Next, ask your child to create their own pattern. Copy their pattern and show them how much fun you’re having. Increase the difficulty as time goes on.

Match Game (Ages 2 and older)

This game is great for showing off your artistic side and also lets your toddler get in some drawing/coloring time as well.

Draw colorful shapes, animals and even numbers on a card or piece of paper, making an exact copy of each drawing. Once you have 3 or 4 pairs turn each card over to begin playing. Open one card for your child and ask them to describe the drawing. Look for the same drawing by opening the other cards one by one. Each time you flip a card over, ask your toddler if it is a match. If they find a pair, give them both cards. Repeat until all cards are matched.

I Spy (Ages 2 and older)

This game is ideal for making your toddler think about the qualities of many different objects around them including different colors, shapes, sizes and so on.

Begin by picking an object and telling your toddler, “I spy with my little eye something that is… big or tall or round, etc.” At first, it’s a good idea to point to the object so that they learn how to play the game properly. Once they’ve got the guessing game down, have them find objects for you to find. As time goes on, your toddler will learn to think about objects around them and learn a few new vocabulary words too.

If you have school-aged children that may be struggling in school we can help.

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Symptoms Are Misleading

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Symptoms are Misleading Chart

With eye care, you can’t always trust the symptoms that you see on the surface. Just like an iceberg, there is a lot hidden beneath the surface that you can’t see. It is easy to assume that if your child is a poor reader or a poor speller it is only because they aren’t trying hard enough or they are not paying attention in class. Those symptoms may be how the problem is presenting itself, or in the case of this analogy, the tip of the iceberg. Although there are a number of very complex and interrelated processes that go into learning, vision plays a key role. Your child’s problem may stem from an undiagnosed vision related issue.

Before your child is labeled with a learning disabled, a comprehensive vision exam can be a great tool for trying to solve the issues that may be causing your child to struggle to succeed in school. At Coleman Vision, we are committed to helping parents uncover these hidden problems and get children on a successful road to lifelong learning.

Take the Children’s Vision Learning Assessment today to learn if your child’s symptoms are part of a bigger problem!

Does your child have headaches while reading, skips words, repeatedly loses their place while reading, and even clumsiness? These could be signs of bigger problems with things like depth perception, visual directionality, or visual-motor integration, which is essential in academic performance. If you search deeper these could be issues related to the health and structure of the eye, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.

Don’t let your child struggle when vision therapy may be the answer. We’ve created this iceberg visual as it relates to what may be causing your child’s symptoms. If your child has one or more of these symptoms an important first step is to contact an eye care professional for a comprehensive eye exam. Don’t let your child struggle when vision therapy may be the answer.

Come see the difference Coleman Vision can make for you and your child.

 


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Lack of Tummy Time Could Cause Learning Delays

There are important cognitive and physical skills that are developed through tummy time. Mothers that don’t give their babies adequate tummy time may notice delays such as learning to crawl properly. These delays can impact the child’s learning into their school-aged years. Let’s take a look at some of the things that develop during tummy time and how they can impact the child’s learning in school.

If you have school aged children then you may want to view this page on vision and learning.

Core Muscle Strength – When a baby is on their tummy, their natural response is to raise their head. They also lift their arms and legs. This strengthens the neck and core muscles that are important for alertness and attention. Slumped posture, constant heads resting on desks or hands for support, and poor coordination could all result from low core strength.

Visual Tracking – Weak core muscles cause head bobbing because the child doesn’t have the strength to hold their head steady. Since they aren’t able to focus quickly, it causes them to see blurred images. When the core muscles strengthen, it decreases head bobbing and allows the child’s visual field to even out and be more clear. This allows the eyes and neck to start working together to locate and track objects. Good visual tracking is very important to the development of reading skills.

Coleman Vision - Benefits of Tummy TimeHand-eye-coordination – The hands are one of the things that the child first learns to locate. Their eyes will track the movements of their hands as they learn what their hands can do. This is the beginning of hand-eye-coordination, which is crucial for handwriting and many other tasks like turning the pages of a book or playing sports.

Vestibular System – This is the system that is responsible for a sense of balance and coordination. When the child is on their tummy, they are able to lift their head, legs, and arms to resist the pull of gravity and activate the vestibular system. If a child’s system does not develop properly then they could struggle with coordination and self-regulation, which could lead to a number of problems including behavioral problems and attention span issues.

So the question is, what do you do? For infants, make sure you give them plenty of tummy time. This doesn’t just mean on the floor. You may lay them on their stomach across your lap, or lay them on your chest as you lie down. For children that are older and struggle with learning to crawl due to a lack of tummy time, you can play games with them to encourage crawling. Some ideas of activities you could try would be crawling tag, obstacle courses, or pretending to be animals that walk on all fours. Make your child’s imagination work for you.

If those types of activities do not seem to be working, it may be time to call a vision therapist. A vision therapist can offer treatment that can help to improve some of these issues and get your child onto a better path for their school-aged years.

Vision Therapy Assessment Referral Form

  • Section 1: Referring Healthcare Provider

  • Date Format: DD slash MM slash YYYY
  • Section 2: Patient Information

  • Date Format: DD slash MM slash YYYY
  • Refraction & BCVA:
  • Refraction & BCVA:




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We wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.