Has your child been diagnosed with dyspraxia?
Vision therapy may help.
Often referred to by professionals as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), dyspraxia is a disorder that affects a child’s ability to accurately and efficiently perform both gross motor and fine motor tasks.
Though it is not always as widely discussed as other symptoms of dyspraxia, vision issues associated with this disorder can have a severe effect on a child’s ability to learn and function.
Dyspraxia may also affect a child’s ability to properly plan and carry out actions that require complicated movement or multiple movements in sequence. This ability is called motor planning.
Dyspraxia and coordination
Poor motor planning can result in a noticeable lack of coordination of both gross motor and fine motor skills — both of which impacts the eyes.
Gross motor skills are those that involve relatively large movements. These engage large muscles and muscle groups in coordination to perform tasks such as running, skipping and kicking a ball.
Fine motor skills are those that involve relatively small, detailed movements. These engage small muscles to perform tasks such as writing, sewing and catching a ball.
A child’s academics can be adversely affected with dyspraxia, making it difficult to keep up with the basic tasks necessary to properly complete homework and classwork within the allotted time.
SEE RELATED: Why Is My Child Reading Below Grade Level?
Contact your local eye doctor if your child has been diagnosed with dyspraxia, as vision therapy may just be the solution you have been searching for.
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Can dyspraxia affect vision?
Vision issues associated with dyspraxia involve functional vision and visual processing skills.
Functional visual skills
Functional visual issues are those that affect the eyes’ ability to work together easily as a team.
Functional vision is also referred to as the visual skills and allows our eyes to accurately and efficiently create a three-dimensional picture, focus properly on objects and more.
One example of how dyspraxia can affect functional vision is by causing problems with eye tracking.
Reduced eye tracking means that the eyes are unable to move smoothly across a page of text, which impacts reading fluency and school grades.
Instead of moving smoothly, the eyes “jump” from word to word on a page or from place to place as they follow a ball. This can cause a person to lose track of where the ball is or where they were while reading.
A child with dyspraxia may find reading to be difficult and frustrating, as can participating in sports or other activities in which smooth visual tracking is essential to excel.
Visual processing skills
Visual processing skills are those involving the interpretation of visual information by the brain, including visual memory and visual spatial orientation.
A child with dyspraxia, may find word memory, spelling and comprehension difficult or show signs of dyslexia, such as writing letters or numbers in reverse.
A person with dyspraxia may regularly miss words while reading books or other texts, making reading a potentially very confusing experience. As more and more words are missed, sentences don’t always make sense, and reading comprehension suffers.
How does vision therapy help?
Vision therapy is an evidence-based regimen of in-office and at-home eye exercises that address both functional vision and vision processing problems, by improving the connection and coordination between the eyes and the brain.
Depending on the needs of the patient, optometrists may supplement these exercises with vision therapy aids such as balance boards and prism lenses.
Published case study:
In a March 2016 case study in Ophthalmic Physiological Optics, researchers found that an 8 year-old boy with dyspraxia was able to significantly improve in a number of important vision skills after an 8-month regimen of vision therapy.
This child achieved noticeable improvement in focusing ability, as well as essential skills in charge of fine eye movements that made his reading smoother, more accurate and more comfortable.
With vision therapy, a child with dyspraxia achieved an increase in reading ability by 4 years, in only 11 months.
According to the researchers in this study, this suggests the effectiveness of vision therapy as a treatment for dyspraxia, as well as ocular-motor and learning issues.
LEARN MORE: Guide to Vision and Learning Difficulties
For more information about how dyspraxia affects your child’s vision and how vision therapy can help, contact your local eye doctor.
Dyspraxia can cause vision issues and can have an adverse effect on a child’s ability to learn and function.
If your child has dyspraxia, vision therapy may be the answer you have been looking for.
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