The importance of visual function for good reading and learning has been documented in research. This begins with the need to see clearly and have healthy eyes, but there is more:
- We have two eyes that must precisely coordinate together. Those who struggle with common eye teaming (binocular vision) disorders will often see words overlap/double when attempting to read. That makes it harder to read and can be very exhausting. A common response seen in elementary school children is just to avoid reading.
- We must move our eyes very precisely across the page (visual tracking) when reading. Those unable to proficiently visually track, lose their place, re-read to get the information, and have trouble with speed and comprehension. Thus reading fluency problems often result.
- We have to focus our eyes to see the near print. Those who struggle with eye focusing (accommodation) will often have trouble with words coming and going out of focus, leading to miscalling errors, eye fatigue, loss of attention, and headaches.
- We have to make sense of what we see (visual processing). This includes the ability to see subtle likes from differences (visual discrimination), recognize spatial differences, (visual-spatial relationships), find an object in the background of clutter (visual figure-ground), and remember what you’ve seen (visual memory), which connects to generating images in “one’s mind” (visual imagery) and being able to think in imagery in the present and for future action (visualization)
The above are important visual functions that must be available for the child, sometimes referred to as developmental readiness abilities, for individual performance necessary to get things accomplished. This ability to transfer this to accomplishment is often referred to as Executive Function.
Good visual processing is essential to facilitate Executive Function for patients to have the best outcomes from their vision therapy and rehabilitation.
To help teach other doctors and vision therapists, this was the topic of a two-hour lecture by The Wow Vision Therapy Team at the Annual Michigan Vision Therapy Study Group (MVTSG) Meeting that took place on January 28-29, 2022 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Presenters from around the State of Michigan, the country, and internationally present with the theme focused on Vision and Learning.
Drs. Parz, Bultsma, and Fortenbacher lectured on the topic of Visual Memory, Visual Imagery, Visualization, and Executive Function. Drs. Haque, Efianiya, and Connie Glanzer, COVT presented on vision therapy methods for treatment.
Here is a look at Drs. Fortenbacher, Parz and Bultsma’s lecture.
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