- Retained Primitive Reflexes
- Postural Reflexes
- What causes learning disabilities?
- Three Pillars of Reading
- Neuro-Developmental Delay
‘I’m a professional skeptic and only adopt therapies that actually make sense and work. This is why I offer the services I do.” – DrB
‘Those who say vision has no impact on reading and learning have no idea what vision is.‘ – DrB
More Information: For those interested in learning more about what we do and the science behind it, begin by consulting the following articles (Adobe Acrobat Required). These articles cover primarily the medical and behavioural optometry aspects of our services. We also provide guidance in health, nutrition, and physical awareness.
- Proof and Standards
- Supporting Research 1
- Supporting Research 2
- Research By Diagnosis
- For information regarding reading and learning therapy online, see What is eLVT?
- Dr. John Abbondanza Video Series on Vision Therapy (external)
- Myths About Vision Therapy – http://www.visionfactsandfallacies.com/
- OEP Foundation Summary of VT for Learning Difficulties: http://oepf.org/ReferenceArticles.php
- Vision Press (blog regarding vision therapy and controversies surrounding it)
Many types of visual dysfunction exist and they all impact negatively upon reading and therefore learning. The large majority of visual motor and perceptual dysfunction can be trained, leading to improvement in comfort and performance in the execution of one’s daily visual tasks. Visual comfort and performance are especially important concerns for
• people working with computers or whose job requires precise attention with/to vision, and
• school-aged children, in particular children in grades K through 3.
• people suffering the effects of other brain disease and injury.
Current Position Regarding Reading and Learning Disabilities: Dyslexia is a severe inability to leverage printed formal language in learning. It is a diagnosis of exclusion and is over-diagnosed generally. It seems dealing with text on a page (decoding) and subsequently reproducing the language by hand or voice (encoding) are skills that run along a spectrum, from great facility to near complete deficiency (in otherwise normal children). In most cases, the visual and learning skills present in a child will be sufficient to succeed adequately in school. In all cases, the skill levels present (that is, skills to succeed in school including visual skills and others) can be improved upon, leading to better results and behaviour; it is quite possible to train children to be better learners by improving visual and behavioural skills. For children who are falling behind in school, they almost certainly have some element of visual dysfunction in addition to other possible concerns; very few children simply can’t meet the minimum standards of most classrooms. Many behavioural and control problems have at their root an element of sensory deprivation or dysfunction that places an obstacle before the child and puts him at odds with his world. Early detection can identify children at risk and so we recommend all children be evaluated in some detail in the Spring of Kindergarten, then again at the end of Grade 2, where late onset reading trouble can be detected. This approach to care is easily the single most cost effective means of dealing with learning difficulties in the public and private schools.
Why Do Some People Have Trouble Learning?
Various theories abound about the very nature of learning and reading disabilities. Pretty well all reading/learning specialists will agree there are numerous patterns of learning disability, and therefore likely many ’causes’ or types. Of all the theories, there are only a few that seem to point in the right direction as they complement one another very well and explain the majority of cases:
- • Dyslexia is a problem with phonology and graphology (matching the symbols with the sounds). This is well-documented and studied and points to underlying trouble integrating these two in receptive and productive language. While this does not describe the underlying problem is does deal with the results.
- • Reading and learning difficulties (including dyscalculia) are the result of ‘Retained Primitive Reflexes‘. In short, the child struggles to deal with advanced demands of the classroom using automatic (reflexive) responses that worked well in infancy, but have not been superseded by more advanced functions.
- • Reading and learning difficulties are the result of sensory and motor integrative difficulties (sensory disintegration theories). That is, the child is unable to maximally utilize his senses and motor skills in a coordinated willful way when asked to do so. This suggests a key role for the thalamus in learning and reading trouble as this is the central area of the brain that manages sensory and motor coordination and attention (a greatly simplified view of what the thalamus does and of what the neurology of the problem is).
There are other possible sources of trouble with learning and reading, but the three theories above describe best the trouble with disabilities, as opposed to difficulties.
Here are some articles to cover only a few of the elements involved in vision, visual control, reading, and learning. For more information, consult your local public or academic library for books on neurology and neuroplasticity, ophthalmology, optometry, behavioural conditioning, reading disabilities, learning theory, psychometrics, optics and physiological optics, nutrition and health, and ocular pharmacology. You should also look online to sources such as Sage Journals Online for the Journal of Learning Disabilities. Often times, public libraries will have access to academic journals for a low price and a smile.
Note: We also provide public education regarding ‘sham’ therapies, which will arise from time to time in public media. We are disappointed that some less than scrupulous operators (non-medically trained) make promises to desperate parents and empty their pockets in the process. Refer to Regarding Sham Therapies for a discussion on this matter.
Journal of Behavioral Optometry: http://www.oepf.org/jbo/index.php?pid=journals
Role of the Behavioural Optometrist: Behavioural optometrists are interested in vision as a process, not as a static thing that is unchanging. We are concerned in particular in how vision impacts daily living, growth, and development. We devise therapeutic methods and solutions to improve quality of life and performance at work and at school. Read more: LD Roleof Behav Opt
Summary of Research: See above for additional supporting documentation.
Optometry is Primary Eye Care in Alberta: Doctors of Optometry are specialists in treating diseases and visual concerns of the eye. They also concern themselves with your general health and work with other medical professionals to ensure you and your children receive the comprehensive care they require. Optometrists are much more cost-effective than ophthalmologists for routine care, and the wait times are most often days as opposed to weeks.
Review of Association Between Vision and Learning: This is a brief summary of some of the literature describing some of the currently known links between vision and learning.
Learning disabilities, dyslexia, and vision: A Subject Review: From the article: ‘Background: In 1998, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAP/AAO/AAPOS) published a position paper entitled ‘Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia And Vision: A Subject Review’ intended to support their assertion that there is no relationship between learning disabilities, dyslexia, and vision. The paper presents an unsupported opinion that optometrists (by implication) have said that vision problems cause learning disabilities and/or dyslexia and that visual therapy cures the conditions.’ This of course is not the case as there is no cure, behavioural or medical, for these conditions. However, because we focus on more than just language and vision, our methods can have positive benefits for all who employ them, even those with severe language problems.
Another Joint Statement Regarding Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and Vision – Another well-researched commentary on the current status of Vision Therapy. American academies of ophthalmology and pediatrics have spurned behavioural therapy, but have provided only concocted evidence to support their position. Meanwhile, there are reams of research papers proving that these behavioural approaches are far more efficacious and safe than anything ophthalmology or pediatrics has put forth. As it turns out, American ophthalmologists and pediatricians are far more likely to prescribe surgery or medication for reading trouble than any other medical community in the world. This is almost certainly driven by profitability for surgeons and insurance companies, but disregards what is often best for the child. To be sure, there is no surgery or pill that will improve reading ability if there is significant underlying visual dysfunction. Meanwhile, the trauma of labels and psychiatric diagnoses carry a lifetime of stigma and emotional pain, and do little to address the real problem.
Efficacy of VT for Convergence Insufficiency (CI): Here’s one specific example of treating a fairly common condition (Convergence Insufficiency) using Vision Therapy (VT) alone. VT is the treatment of choice for CI for long-term function and comfort, as opposed to various perceptual and motor complications that can arise from surgical intervention. (See the following video link.). CI prevents a person from being able to ‘cross’ their eyes and bring them together to look at a near object, such as as page of text. Children with CI will struggle to read as they work against themselves to try to see the page with both eyes.
You might also enjoy this strange and informative video from Dr. Dan Lack: http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7906553/