“My son has been diagnosed ADHD and OCD, might be bipolar, and he is having the hardest time socially and academically. His school said to have his eyes examined, even though our pediatrician reported 20/20 and healthy eyes. The pediatric ophthalmologist confirmed 20/20, healthy eyes and strong eye muscles. The psychiatrist referred us to a psychologist for a comprehensive battery of testing, which resulted in referral to a developmental optometrist.”
The above scenario is seen repeatedly in developmental optometry. Many children have difficulty processing visually presented material, yet their eyes test textbook normal. This is frustrating to family, teachers, involved professionals, and most of all, the child. Prior examinations of this boy’s eyes are only the beginning of diagnosing, especially considering he is a special needs child. Complete vision is made up of eyesight, eye health, and the following basic skills: eye teaming, eye movement and focus flexibility.
Visual perceptual skills, which allow one to make sense of what they see, are also a vital part of vision. These skills, alone or in tandem, contribute to our ability to see 3-D, scan a page of print accurately, sustain effectively when reading or writing, understand the printed page, or maintain a dynamic balance between processing of central and peripheral vision. This impacts the child’s ability to attend, perform academically or athletically, and even relate to others. Special needs children experience double vision more than the general population, and those that do usually never mention this to parents, as they may have always been accustomed to this. If the basis for testing vision is to determine if the child sees 20/20, then this is often missed! For the most comprehensive means of evaluating how your special needs child sees and processes his/her world, schedule an appointment with a developmental optometrist. For more information, visit www.covd.org, or www.pavevision.org.