Vision's Impact on Your Students Learning
Visual ability in students is often taken for granted because the student does not complain. It turns out, in many cases they don’t realize that it’s a problem, and due to the subtle nature, parents often aren’t aware their child is having issues either. As a result, it’s very useful for teachers and nurses to be aware of the warning signs of visual issues, because addressing the issue will unlock a much brighter future for students.
Sometimes students can even get labelled as a behavior problem or as lacking intelligence solely because he/she struggles with visual problems. However, we know that every educator wants their students to succeed, and as a result we want you to help see the warning signs quickly to get students the help they need and deserve.
- Child becomes easily distracted
- Avoids near tasks
- Has emotional outbursts
- Poor self image
- Shows aggressive behavior
- Low comprehension
- Poor concentration
- Fails to complete assignments
- Frustrated with school
- Exaggerated head movements
- Loses place and skips lines
- Very close reading distance
- Has no voice inflection when reading
- Rapidly fatigues when reading
80% of Learning is Visual
Meeting Financial Needs
For some students, there might be financial needs that are preventing vision examinations. If you are facing such a situation, you’re not alone, there are resources available to help!
NFCV has been putting together School and Community Clinics to serve large groups of students by providing free exams and glasses. These are an excellent way to remove the barriers for families and students to getting vision care. They also allow NFCV to collect data that can support future projects to further serve Nebraska’s children.
However, sometimes a larger scale event is not practical or feasible, and it’s easier to help children on a case-by-case basis. One avenue is to contact local optometrists, who often work with charitable groups like the Essilor Vision Foundation to provide free glasses. Or if you prefer you can contact us and we can connect you with resources that might be available in your area.
7 Visual Abilities for Learning
The following visual abilities affect learning:
1. 20/20 Acuity
The ability to temporarily see tiny letters at twenty feet. If the child lacks 20/20 acuity, it is likely that glasses will be prescribed.
The ability to maintain clear vision at all distances. Accommodation problems include:
- has poor reading comprehension,
- avoids reading,
- blinks excessively while reading,
- has frequent headaches or rubs eyes when reading,
- complains that things are blurry even though child’s acuity is 20/20
- moves the book or his head closer and further away to ‘clear the image’ and,
- makes careless errors when reading or copying from the chalkboard/whiteboard.
3. Eye Teaming Ability
The ability to coordinate the two eyes together so that they both point at precisely the same object. Eye Teaming problems include:
- child covers or closes one eye — rests his head in palm of one hand which ‘just happens’ to cover one eye,
- holds the book to one side or turns his head to one side when reading,
- adds or removes parts from words,
- repeats letters in words when copying from the chalkboard and,
- fails to align the columns of numbers correctly when performing math problems.
4. Eye Movement Ability
This includes moving the eyes from point to point, following a moving object with the eyes, or holding the eyes stationary. Eye Movement problems include:
- moves head rather than eyes when reading,
- frequently loses his place or skips lines,
- beginnings and endings of words are altered or missed — ‘Small’ words are skipped,
- child needs a finger to keep his place and,
- child is labeled as having a problem with ‘attention’.
5. Visual Perception
The ability to compare and understand things which are seen. The ability to ‘understand’ information entering his eyes; to compare things and see how they are different. Visual Perception problems include:
- not learning how to read on schedule,
- having difficulty in Kindergarten,
- having problems recognizing letters or numbers past Kindergarten,
- still writing b’s and d’s backwards past the end of First Grade,
- frequently confuses similar beginnings and endings of words and,
- recognizes the sounds of individual letters but cannot break words down into syllables.
6. Eye-Hand Coordination
The ability to use the eyes to guide the hands. Eye-Hand Coordination problems include
- poor handwriting,
- difficulty with spacing his words and keeping them on the line when writing,
- avoids coloring, drawing or maze-tracking activities — does not stay inside the lines when coloring,
- has difficulty keeping the columns lined up when writing math problems and,
- has difficulty getting his thoughts down on paper.
7. Visual Imagery Ability
The ability to ‘see pictures in the mind’. There are two separate categories:
- Visual memory is the ability to retrieve or remember a picture of what has been seen in the past and
- Visualization is the ability to form new pictures in your mind. Visual Imagery Ability problems include:
- persistent difficulty in learning to spell,
- fails to recognize the same word in the next line,
- fails to ‘picture in his mind’ what he is reading,
- has difficulty recalling what he did during the day and,
- loses his place during reading or board work and then has difficulty finding his place.