Scientific research on vision training and NLP
The connection between learning and vision is obvious to everyone. Since most classroom learning involves the visual system. Reading is a visually intensive skill. However, before you learn to read you need to master basic vision skills. Learning disabilities do not begin to show up before end of kindergarten and first grade. During pre-school years, failure to achieve development milestones may be the first indication for the appearance of learning difficulties later on.
Delays in gross motor movement, the ability to catch and hit balls. Language development, particularly phonological processing and visual information processing are indicators of learning problems in the making. Sustained near work is a major factor in developing visual efficiency problems and near sight.
Unfortunately learning related vision problems are not easy to prevent since they do not show up before the child starts learning to read. So early detection is therefore very important. Parents are recommended to have their children professionally tested at 6 months, 3 years and when they enter school.
Behavioural optometrists believe that vision can contribute to learning difficulties. Visual inefficiency may interfere with a child's school performance and thus not reach his or her full potential.
Ophthalmologists say there is no significant relationship between vision and learning. For them vision is ruled out as an issue as far as learning is concerned. If you can see and your eyes are healthy that's all you need.
Rather than attempting to convince the eye doctors let's look into the research that supports the idea that vision can be a factor in learning.
According to the American Optometric Association, over 60% of children who have difficulty with learning have undiagnosed vision problems which are not detectable by routine vision screenings.
Dwyer (1992) [The prevalence of vergence accommodation disorders in a school-age population. Clin. Exp. Optom. 1992, 75,10-18] examined 150 randomly selected children and found that 34% had refractive errors and needed glasses. An astonishing 80% of them also had accommodative or focusing and eye coordination problems.
Ritty et al. (1993) [Ritty M.J., Solan H.K., Cool S.J. Visual and sensory-motor function in the classroom a primary report of ergonomic demands., J.Am. Optom. Assoc 1993, 64:238-244] found that as much as 75% of school work is spent on reading and writing and on tasks that required alternating near-to-far-to-near. For children to do this require normal visual acuity, focusing skills, eye-coordination and good eye movement.
Extend that to include home work. In Asia children often spend up to 10 hours a day doing school work. Think about how the visual system needs to be focused at roughly 30 cm for that length of time. It is no surprise that more than 80% of the children in Taiwan are near sighted.
If we look at children who are already classified as having learning problems. Usually that means difficulty reading. Sherman (1973) [Sherman A., Reading vision disorder to learning disability, J. Am Optom Assoc. 1973, 44:140-141] found that that 76% had focusing problems such as accommodative excess (tired eyes). An astonishing 92% had binocular or eye-coordination problems. Equally astonishing, 96% had eye movement problems. No wonder they had problems reading.
O'Grady (1984) [O'Grady, J., The relationship between vision and educational performance, a study of year 2 children in Tasmania. Aust J. Optom 1984, 67:126-140] wanted to establish if there is a relationship between vision and educational performance. He studied a random sample of 227 second grade children. 16.2% were found to have significant vision disorders. Not surprisingly the children with vision problems were also significantly poorer on educational tests.
Hoffman (1980) is breaking down the specific vision problems as follows:
46% Bilateral integration – the ability to use both hands in support of each other.
74% Directionality – confusing left and right.
50% Visual discrimination – the ability to see distinctive features of objects and letters.
83% Visual-Motor-Integration – Eye hand coordination.
Research (Rosner and Gruber 1985) shows as much as 80% of children who have reading problems, including those considered dyslexic, show a deficiency in one or more basic vision skills.
In fact one of the three main types of dyslexia, named dysnemkinesia, which is identified when children frequently reverse letters e.g. d for b. Is due to poor development of laterality and directionality skills. This is easy to identify and responds very well to vision training.
In some cases several types of dyslexia may be present simultaneously. In this case the dysnemkinesia part can be corrected with vision training.
Five of the symptoms of ADD and ADHD overlap with convergence insufficiency, Borsting E., Rouse M., and Chu R. (2005) [ Measuring ADHD behaviours in children with symptomatic accommodative dysfunction or convergence isufficiency: a pleliminary study. Optometry, 2005 Oct,76(10):588-92]. This is when the eyes converge in front of what you are looking at. This will make reading very tiring and words begin to move around when you get tired. Again this problem is easy to detect and very easy to correct. Many children has this to varying degree. Unfortunately is is almost never checked.
By now it should be obvious that poor vision skills impact a child's ability to read and learn.
20/20 vision is just one of about 20 vision skills. In fact there are children that test 20/20, yet they can’t see the classroom board. Most vision tests in schools only test visual acuity for the distance and in most cases do not have time to check the vision for reading, coordination, eye-movement etc. This is unfortunate since most of the school work involve reading or writing and both take place in the near vision field and require accurate eye movement.
The central issue is really where do you get comprehensive and accurate visual testing done. Then the next question is where can the vision training be done? This book is an attempt to get parents involved at every stage and to take over if there is no way to get the professional testing done. Many of the tests and subsequent exercises are quite simple and can easily be done at home.
Vision involves about 2/3 of your brain and consumes about 30% of energy available to the brain. It is not just seeing objects clearly, but also involves physically tracking objects, and how the eyes are moving in order to achieve depth perception. Vision skills also include how we process, store and recall information. Vision is a fascinating process.
Since vision is a skill that has been learned any deficiencies therefore responds well to training. To make it easy to understand think of is as: Visual efficiency or input skills, visual processing and integration skills or how well the brain use what we see.