vision

  • January is National Eye Care Month

    During January, National Eye Care Month, start the new year by looking into your child’s vision. According to the Vision Council of America, nearly 50% of parents with children under 12 have never taken their children to an eye care professional. Typically parents know to schedule a traditional eye exam, which involves testing vision by reading an eye chart. However, there are also symptoms that can be signs that other healthcare providers could address due to the negative effects on academic, emotional, and life skills. Beyond visual acuity, which measures the clearness of vision, a child could also have deficiencies with visual perception and visual motor skills.

    Visual perception includes skills that determine how well a person understands what is seen specifically with skills including memory and discrimination of forms such as shapes, letters, and numbers. Visual motor skills include how well the muscles around the eyes coordinate to control eye movement.

    10 Signs of visual concerns in children can include the following:

    1)    Bumps into objects or people

    2)    Has difficulty putting away or sorting objects

    3)    Has difficulty paying attention to visual tasks

    4)    Reverses or misreads letters, numbers and words

    5)    Has difficulty copying or writing within lines or margins

    6)    Has difficulty remembering phone numbers

    7)    Has poor spelling, math skills, and/or reading comprehension

    8)    Skips words or entire lines when reading, or reads the same sentence over

    9)    Rubs eyes often or complains of eye strain

    10) Routinely fails to observe or recognize changes in bulletin board displays, signs or posted notices

    If your child demonstrates these symptoms, consult with your primary care physician about seeking an evaluation with a pediatric occupational therapist or developmental optometrist. I hope you find these tips helpful. Have a playful day!

    Amy Baez, OTR/L, The Smart Play Curator

    Amy Baez is a pediatric occupational therapist, award-winning handwriting author, and founder of Playapy. For more information, visit www.playapy.com or email info@playapy.com.

     

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  • October is National Dyslexia Awareness Month

    Dyslexia is a learning disability that is commonly known but poorly understood. Most people associate dyslexia with reading letters backwards, but that is only one possible symptom of many.  Generally speaking, dyslexia is a specific learning disability for reading.  It is often characterized by difficulty with word recognition, decoding, or spelling. This can lead to difficulty with reading comprehension and could slow down vocabulary growth resulting in struggles with reading, writing, and sometimes speaking. Against popular belief, dyslexia is not caused by poor instruction, poor intelligence, laziness, or impaired vision. It is a result of a neurological condition and can also be genetic. It is also something which can be overcome with help and support leading most to good reading and writing skills overall.

    It is important to detect dyslexia as early as possible because reading and writing are such an integral part of learning in the classroom. Some signs of dyslexia in young children include having trouble with recognizing letters, matching letters to sounds, learning new words, learning the alphabet or numbers, rhyming words, or remembering word sequences like the days of the week.  Some signs of dyslexia in older children include poor handwriting, reading or writing reversed letters like b or d, mastering spelling rules, following a set of directions, or remembering facts or rules. 

    I hope you find this information helpful. If you feel your child may have multiple signs of dyslexia, you should consult with your doctor about having an occupational therapist or speech therapist conduct an evaluation and create a treatment plan if deemed necessary. Have a playful day!

    Amy Baez, OTR/L, The Smart Play Curator

    Amy Baez is a pediatric occupational therapist, award-winning handwriting author, and founder of Playapy. For more information, visit www.playapy.com or email info@playapy.com.

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  • Eye Dominance? Yes, It Does Exist!

    Most people do not realize we all have a dominant eye.  Typically it is the same as our dominant hand or foot, but not always.  Eye dominance helps to aid in eye-hand coordination, handwriting, cutting, dressing, and other skills children need to develop properly.  Sometimes a parent may think a child is doing something awkward or wrong when really he or she is using a different eye than expected in certain activities.  It should be noted that having an opposite dominant eye verses hand can cause drawing diagonal lines, shapes, and letters more difficult initially.

    You can check for eye dominance after age three through two simple methods.  The easier way is by having your child look through a small hole like a magnifying glass, toilet paper roll, or a rolled up piece of paper.  Then demonstrate to your child how to look through it, and hand it to him or her.  They should put it up to their dominant eye.  However, sometimes their eyes may not be organized enough, and they may place the tube between the eyes.  If your child is old enough to demonstrate this activity without any physical help, they should at least have a preferred eye.  

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    Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    The second method is to cut a small one-inch hole in the center of a piece of paper.  Then have your child hold it with the hands on opposing sides and bring it up to the face to look through the hole.  It helps if you demonstrate and say something like, “I can see you!  It’s your turn.  Can you see me?”

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    Remember to consult with your pediatrician for a prescription to see an occupational therapist if your child has visual concerns affecting their learning or play skills.  Have a playful day!

    Amy Baez, OTR/L, The Smart Play Curator

    Amy Baez is a pediatric occupational therapist, award-winning handwriting author, and founder of Playapy. For more information, visit www.playapy.com or email info@playapy.com.

     

     

     

     

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