Is your child’s learning disability actually a vision issue?

< An undiagnosed vision issue could easily be mistaken for a learning disability. Does your child have an undiagnosed vision problem?>

I’m thrilled to have pediatric OT and vision rehab specialist  Robert Constantine guest post for me today.  Did you know that school vision screenings only detect 20-30% of vision problems?

Is it an undiagnosed Vision issue?

Vision is our furthest reaching sense. It tells us 75% of what we know about the world around us.

It affects movement, balance, and reading and writing ability.

But vision is a frequently overlooked contributor to academic problems. Undiagnosed eye movement problems can mimic conditions like ADHD and dyslexia and are not identified on school screenings, making a complete vision exam a must for every child.

undiagnosed vision issue, vision problems, dyslexia, dysgraphia, learning disabilities,

Signs of Undiagnosed vision problems

There are signs that a child may be having vision problems:

  • A child having difficulty with reading and writing even though they are receiving tutoring to improve these subjects.
  • Poor handwriting and letter reversals can be a sign of binocular vision problem.
  • Frequent headaches and eye rubbing or tearing while reading or doing near vision tasks.
  • A child that is doing well in most subjects but struggles and dislikes reading tasks.
  • A child that fidgets, turns their head or closes one eye during reading. They may also hold the pages close to their face or particularly far away while reading.
  • Motion sensitivity or disliking movement (like roller coasters), difficulty learning to ride a bike
  • Difficulty catching a ball
  • Child diagnosed with ADHD that does not respond to medication

vision and learning, binocular vision, vision and reading, undiagnosed vision issues

But my child never said anything

It is very common for a child to have no visual complaints. This is the only way they have seen the world, so they are unaware that there is a problem.

They do not realize that seeing the words “get blurry and clear” or seeing the words “moving” on the page is not how we are all seeing. These are common symptoms of near vision focusing problems. The Convergence Insufficiency Symptom Survey is useful in helping to identify children that may have near vision focusing problems.

All eye exams are not created equal

In order to identify and properly diagnose an eye movement problem, the child will need a binocular vision exam. In this exam, the eye doctor will perform assessments like near point of convergence and a measured cover test.

Parents may have to ask if the office performs this service.

The complete pediatric eye exam will also include a cycloplegic dilation and refraction. This procedure will allow the doctor to get the most accurate prescription possible and thoroughly examine the health of the back of the eye. It is a necessary part of the complete eye exam.

When should my child get their eyes checked?

Most eye doctors agree that first eye exam should be between 6 months and one year. The Infantsee Program provides this exam at no charge with providers listed on the linked website. The next exam at 3 years old, then annually from 6-18 years old as vision changes as the child grows.

Get to the Eye Doctor!

The visual system is very important in development and academic success. Every child should get a complete binocular vision exam to make sure they are reaching their full potential.  What if an undiagnosed vision issue is an underlying reason for your child’s struggles in school?


About the Author:

Robert Constantine, OTR\L is an occupational therapist specializing in vision rehabilitation for nearly 5 years following a career of 15 years working with stroke and brain injury patients. He now treats children that have eye movement problems and the functional problems associated with these eye movement problems. He also presents a continuing education course on vision rehabilitation for pediatric patients hosted by Vyne Education. He has a blog focusing on vision issues and Facebook group called “Pediatric Vision OT”.

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Even though every child has one hidden away in their pocket or backpack, the intense obsession with every kind of fidget spinners is slowly dwindling.

A few months ago, when fidgets were more popular than  big hair in the 80’s, parents and teachers kept asking me, “What do you think of these fidget spinners?

Truthfully, a fad is a fad.  Fidgets can be helpful for some kids in some situations.  I can see how some teachers would find them a complete nuisance in the classroom.  BUT, on the other hand, it’s awesome that another fine motor fad made its way back to popularity.

As an OT in a public school setting, I find that children’s fine motor skills are growing weaker and weaker.  Children are playing with Ipads and other techy toys that don’t require motor skills or dexterity.  It takes spinning, flicking, and using in-hand manipulation to move those spinners, so I look at it as a good thing.

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 <This is a sponsored post. To learn more, read my disclaimer>

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Yup, being self-sufficient below the ankles is a big deal.

There are tons of tips and tricks to help kids achieve those “big kid” milestones. Learning to get dressed (including shoes) by themselves is really monumental in a kid’s life.

Did you know that typically developing children are ready to learn how to tie between the ages of 4 ½  and 6?  It’s true. Unfortunately, many elementary school children don’t learn for years after that. 

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<Finding the perfect high chair can be a daunting task for a new mom.  Baby feeding specialist Rachel Coley guest posts on how to choose the best high chair for your baby>

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TIPS TO CHOOSE THE BEST HIGH CHAIR FOR BABY

If you’ve ever spent an hour pouring over Amazon product reviews desperate for a clear-cut, final, definitive, let-me-get-off-the-computer-and-go-to-bed answer to which swaddle, stroller, pacifier, baby carrier or car seat is the best for your little one, I need to warn you ahead of time that I won’t be sharing the #1 best high chair brand and model for your baby today.

Truth is – I can’t. I don’t know your home’s space constraints, if you have a preference for a wooden chair or a plastic chair, if you care about how cute your baby gear is, etc.

BUT, as a pediatric Occupational Therapist and feeding therapist what I can share with you is the #1 most important thing to consider when  you choose the best high chair for your baby and your family:

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<If you’re searching for the perfect gift for a child with Autism, ADHD, or Sensory Processing Difficulties, check out the Twiddle®Nathan. This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links for your convenience.>


Woohoo! Another amazing find!

You know when you are looking for the perfect gift and you just don’t know what to get?

It’s the worst.

So here’s what happened to me recently:  I’d been working for over a year with a family with a young boy diagnosed with Autism.

Then, they told me they were moving.   I had grown very attached to this sweet, loving family and their bright-eyed seven-year-old son, Gary, who had difficulties with attention and sensory processing.  He had achieved so much in the past year. We just “connected”.

So I wanted to find a little “good luck and goodbye” gift for Gary.  But it had to be something he would really like.  Something he would willingly play with, and not stim on.   This would be tough.

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The Must-Have Sensory Processing Resource

<A powerful sensory processing resource can change your life>

This post contains affiliate links.

Click to learn more about the minicourse “Unlocking Sensory Secrets”


Do you remember when you first started using Pinterest?  Really using it on a daily basis?

I do.

Discovering  Pinterest literally changed my life. All of a sudden I was:

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A resource like that is worth a million bucks.  

I FOUND ANOTHER ONE… A Sensory Processing Resource.

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