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Posted on 11-03-2016

Diagnosing Visual Challenges in Order to Reach a Child’s Potential

Parent Footprint is an organization committed to building a community of parents empowered to raise self-aware children who are fully engaged in their own lives.

Dr. Gary Etting was invited to Parent Footprint to give his expert advice on the importance of a comprehensive eye examination to detect visual processing problems. He gives an explanation between the difference between 20/20 eyesight and vision, and which one can have a profound impact on a child’s learning.

“Sight is the ability to see a certain size letter at 20 feet, or visual acuity”, Dr. Etting explains. “This is only one visual ability, and sadly, that is the only visual ability that is screened while a child is growing up”. Dr. Etting goes on to explain that vision is the emergent of many visual abilities that help us understand and process what we see.

“Vision is learned and no two people learn it at the same rate or same degree.”

The following are some signs to look for when a child has a visual processing problem:

  • Having to use their finger when they read
  • Skipping small words or lines when they read
  • Having trouble copying from the board to their paper
  • Holding a book very close
  • Sitting in a distorted posture
  • Covering an eye when they read
  • Slow reading speed
  • Low comprehension even though they’ve had extensive tutoring
  • Complains of headaches when they read
  • Blurry vision when reading
  • Struggle with spelling
  • Difficulty with visual-spatial or visual-motor tasks even though they’ve had extensive occupational therapy

Most people think that a visual problem can be outgrown, but in practicing bad habits over and over again will just embed those habits. Some adults may have chosen careers not because they wanted them but because they avoided jobs that require too much reading or close work.

Dr. Etting explains that vision can be developed at any age, and the only way to remove visual roadblocks is to re-train the brain to use the eyes in a more efficient way.

How many people out there are not living up to their full potential due to an undiagnosed visual problem?

Click the link below to listen to the full interview with Dr. Gary Etting:

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