Arizona Cardinals’ Wide-Receiver and Pro Bowl MVP Larry Fitzgerald Encourages Parents to Take Action TODAY
“The public doesn’t realize that you need over 15 visual skills to succeed in reading, learning, sports, and in life. SeeingåÊ20/20åÊis just one of those visual skills,” says Larry Fitzgerald, acclaimed Arizona Cardinals 2008 NFC West Champions’ wide-receiver.
During the many pre and post Superbowl press interviews, Fitzgerald, explained that one of the keys to his success was having vision therapy as a child. He had a vision problem that was making it difficult to pay attention in school and his grandfather, Dr. Robert Johnson, a developmental optometrist in Chicago, Illinois, diagnosed the vision problem and the appropriate treatment.
Fitzgerald went through vision therapyåÊunder his aunt’s guidance, Dr. Stephanie Johnson-Brown, who is currently the executive director of the Plano Child Development Center, a not-for-profit vision care service corporation which was co-founded by her father, Dr. Johnson in 1959, which specializes in vision education and the identification and remediation of vision development problems in children and adults.
According to a report from the New Jersey Commission on Business Efficiency of the Public School, “Undiagnosed and untreated vision related learning problems are significant contributors to early reading difficulties and ultimately to special education classification.”
“Vision problems can have a serious impact on a child’s education. Don’t wait to see if this next school year will be better, take action today!” Fitzgerald encourages parents.
One of the most common vision disorders that interferes with reading was recently the focus of a national study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Eye Institute, on convergence insufficiency.åÊThis is a vision problem where the two eyes don’t work together in unison the way they are supposed to when one is reading. The result can make reading very difficult.
While at least one out of every 20 school-age children is impacted byåÊconvergence insufficiency, there are other visual abnormalities to be considered. It is estimated that over 60% of problem learners have undiagnosed vision problems contributing to their difficulties.
The good news is the majority of these vision problems can be treated with a program of office-based optometric vision therapy. The study by the NEI found that in-office vision therapy was the best treatment for convergence insufficiency.
The five most common signs that a vision problem may be interfering with your child’s ability to read and learn are:
- Skips lines, rereads lines
- Poor reading comprehension
- Takes much longer doing homework than it should take
- Reverses letters like b’s into d’s when reading
- Has a short attention span with reading and schoolwork
Any one of these symptoms is a sign of a possible vision problem. A more in-depth symptomåÊchecklist is available on College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) website.
If your child has symptoms, do not delay. If you are in the region of Southwest Michigan contact Wow Vision Therapy, or to find a doctor in your area who specializes in vision development and optometric vision therapy go the COVDåÊwebsite,www.covd.org, and click on the doctor locator to find a developmental optometrist near you, preferably a Board Certified Fellow. Look for the initials FCOVD after the doctors name.
Dan L. Fortenbacher, O.D.,FCOVD