At Envision Optical our optometrists give careful consideration to your child’s emerging visual abilities and relate this information to the age expected and school demands. Some of the important visual skills that need to be considered are:
1. Visual Problem Solving Style
How a child deals with problems that require visual discriminations and judgments is influenced by previous experiences with similar tasks. Some children persistently demonstrate impulsive responses. Does your child show poor attention to visual detail; take little time to analyse available details and give rapid responses; and often need to ‘touch’ things that could be expected to be analysed by visual inspection only?
2. Direction Concepts
For optimal processing of visual information, directional responses should be completely accurate and automatic. This ability gradually comes as children relate to the ‘sidedness’ on their own body (right/left awareness), and project this understanding of direction onto the processing of direction – coded information such as “b, d”, “on, no”, “was, saw” and “31, 13”. Children develop an understanding of themselves as a point of reference for developing spatial concepts and making judgments of direction. From an understanding of ‘where I am’, the position of objects and their sequences, the ‘where it is’ takes on meaning.
3. Visual Analysis Skills
The ability to make accurate visual discriminations, sometimes called form perception, gradually emerges. What is the child’s ability at making judgments of size, shape, position and distance? Can he or she remember what is seen and visualize objects in different spatial orientations? The ability to visually inspect details and then to reproduce (copy) the form involves the use of visual analysis skills to plan the copy movements.
4. Hand-Eye Coordination
The ability to team eyes and hands as ‘learning tools’ is obviously important to the child in the classroom. What is the child’s ability to visually plan and perform a task in a defined spatial area?
5. Eye Movement Control
Can the child follow moving objects smoothly, accurately, effortlessly? Can the child quickly and accurately look from object to object, from far to near to far, and sustain such activity without undue fatigue or discomfort. Are these movements relatively automatic, or are they demanding on the conscious mind?
6. Eye-Focus Skills
Is it easy for the child to quickly focus from near to far etc. and get clear detail with each change? Can the child sustain focus at the near task without fatigue, blur or discomfort? Often children with focus problems pull the book very close and make the print appear larger. Others avoid sustained close tasks.
7. Eye-Training Skills
How well do the two eyes work together on far seeing tasks; and near seeing tasks? Can they sustain their teaming so that accurate single and clear information can be obtained without effort, fatigue or discomfort? Eye teaming problems often cause difficulties in sustaining visual attention.
Given the importance of efficient visual function it is recommended that ‘vision development’ not be left to chance. Ideally all children should be examined at the following stages:
- At age six months.
- At age two and a half years.
- Before commencing school.
- Yearly thereafter.
Your optometrist will be checking to ensure that your child’s visual abilities are appropriate for age. If all this is so, then guidance suggestions about games, toys, etc. that can be utilised to enrich your child’s experiences could be expected.
Some children demonstrate obvious visual difficulties and need to be taught how to control and synchronise the following, focusing, aiming and teaming movements of their two eyes while involved in information acquisition. An intermittent eye turn in a child over six months of age is not normal and early treatment is recommended. Visual Training is the treatment of choice for many visual dysfunctions. At Envision Optical we have children’s vision specialists available who are specially trained in behavioural optometry, where a greater emphasis is placed on holistic assessment and management from a neuro-developmental perspective.