Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's Developmental

Eye movements, eye teaming, visual perceptual skills, and eye-hand coordination are all developmental skills. This means that they typically emerge given the right opportunities and experiences like learning to walk, ride a bicycle, or swim. There is a range of normal vision development which can be tested and measured against standard age/grade norms. This is how developmental optometrists determine and diagnose any delays or deficits of normal visual development. What we do in vision therapy is help trigger a child to acquire and maximize their visual developmental skills. I can't tell you the number of times a parent has asked me whether their child will need to return to vision therapy in the future. My usual answer is that it is very like learning to swim but then not swimming all winter. Can you still swim when the pool opens in the spring? Yes, and what good swimmer hesitates to dive into the pool's deep end even if they haven't been swimming in ages? Unless the visual problem involves a diagnosis of amblyopia, or some other non-developmental condition or brain injury, once a child's visual skills have developed, they tend to keep improving.