Friday, August 14, 2009

Does Your Child Say Reading is Confusing?

Many children with learning related visual challenges describe reading as being confusing. I notice this time and again when working with younger elementary school students with whom I am doing in-office vision therapy. They don't understand how to explain the trouble using other words, perhaps because for them, reading has always been difficult. How inexplicable to be otherwise intelligent, curious, articulate, and wanting to learn but to lag seriously behind their peers in reading! While I have done no statistical survey to correlate the visual diagnoses of these children with their perception of "confusion", my sense is that it most often accompanies a severe delay in the development of the visual spatial skills of laterality & directionality. These children typically make frequent reversals when reading and writing, don't know their left from their right, and often have trouble crossing the mid-line. My theory is that they don't know which side of the page or word to read first - varying their approach without noticing it from line to line or word to word. Children also use the label, "confusing," when the words appear to wiggle or double on a page. This is a classic symptom of an eye teaming insufficiency or excess. Tutoring in phonics or reading comprehension strategies won't solve these problems. A comprehensive eye exam from a developmental optometrist may identify the problem. Once a diagnosis is in place, the options for treatment can be evaluated.

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