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The Vision & Learning Connection
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We are going to discuss vision problems that cripple the school experience for the average kid.
In fact, having these vision problems can make the smartest kid in the room feel inferior...
How do we know this?
Well, we could make you feel (and sound) like a kid with dyslexia just by changing the way the text looks.
We could do this just by changing the visual appearance...
Before we show you, let's back up a bit...
HOW DO WE REALLY LEARN NEW INFORMATION?
We learn new things through the FIVE SENSES.
These five senses are touch, taste, smell, sound and sight.
But when it comes to reading, touch, taste, smell and often sound are almost IRRELEVANT.
There is no taste to the written word.
There is no feeling in printed text.
There is no scent to letters or words.
And unless you are a beginning reader working on phonics, or "sounding it out", then you shouldn't hear anything when you read.
Let me repeat that. You should not hear a voice inside your head narrating the words to you as you read. If you are, you are ready way slower than you should... or could.
Once reading becomes more advanced, then VISION...
If we simply made the VISUAL INPUT more challenging to capture, we would change your entire reading experience. We'd probably also change your performance too.
From your reading "scores" to your grades, to your attention, to your frustration levels, to your interest level in the topic.
Of course we could make it blurry but that's not the point.
Most kids with learning problems CAN see the print clearly.
If, of course, they can manage to point their eyeballs to the right spot.
and over again.
Pointing the eyeballs directly to each word, then the next...
Sentence by sentence...
line by line...
paragraph by paragraph...
page by page...
...throughout the entire reading experience.
Research tells us that this not an easy of a task for many people.
And as media becomes more "passively" consumed, people will have a harder time reading.
What do I mean by passive?
Passive media is the the videos, the t.v., the movies and (many but not all) video games.
In that kind of media, the entertaining, exciting, and colorful imagery is driving your eyes around the screen. It is largely doing the work for you so you can capture the information.
But with reading, the PERSON has to drive their own visual system to capture the information. The person has to do the work. They have to look at the right spot. If they point the eyes just an inch or two off the target, they get lost.
They have to keep focused (visually and mentally... what is the difference, really?)
They have to move the eyes and keep they eyes together. The reader has to keep everything steady and accurate for themselves.
QUESTION FOR YOU:
Did you ever think about why authors of young children's books...
text like this?
And not like
the following paragraph?
It is mainly because of of the fact that the eye tracking skill of the child is still developing. If you squeezed all the words and letters together like this in a book for pre-readers, the child would never be able to make the proper eye movements to keep place. With text like this, you really have to point the eyes in the correct spot, or you'll probably read the wrong word, skip over a word, skip over a line or read the sam line twice. This is despite the fact that this text is (on average) CLEARER FOR THE 5 YEAR OLD THAN IT IS FOR THE 40 YEAR OLD. So if we presented all the same words to the child but in a different format. Words like cat, hat, dog and saw. How engaged would the child be as you read with them or had them try and read? Would they give up? Would they tell themselves "I don't like reading?" Would they squirm and shake? Would their behaviour look like someone with ADHD? Would it be an overall cruel experiment? I believe so.
What if your eyes did this when you read?
What if the text looked like this?
Unfortunately most people aren't aware of this information.
We've all been led to believe that if you can see 20/20, then everything is fine and vision can be "crossed off the list" of reasons why your kid is struggling.
But it's simply untrue.
There are many more vision problems to check for.
We will discuss them in the workshop.
The vision problems discussed in the online workshop can affect just about all areas of learning and development...
School, sports, reading, writing, math, attention, behavior, you name it.
Because we learn most of what we know through the eyes.
Of the five senses, vision is the dominant.
Every lobe of the brain has "real estate" dedicated to processing what the eyes record.
There is more space in the brain dedicated to sight, than there is all the other senses combined...
The amount of information we see is immense.
So much so, that when people try to think, they have to close their eyes.
Many people can't deal with the vast amount of information through the eyes at once.
The amount of visual data entering the brain can sometimes distract the other senses.
Many people close their eyes to listen to music, to smell a rose, to think of a memory, to think of what they have to say etc.
Have you ever seen a person cover their mouth, nose, or ears in order to appreciate the sunset?
Sure, sounds (auditory input) can distract too, but not nearly as much as sight (visual input).
Many people say they are "auditory learners." I have to think this would be a very very rare phenomenon.
There is not a person on this planet who's brain processes more auditory information than visual information.
Except if the brain is injured in a very specific way.
To summarize... show me an "auditory learner" and I'd bet I could show you a visually deficient person.
Somewhere between 10 and 50% of kids (people in general) have vision issues that affect learning.
How do we identify them?
What can we do about it?
That's what we'll cover in this workshop...
The good news is that most of these vision problems are trainable. We have to use our eyes. And apart from the things you probably can't fix (the structure of the eye), vision is a skill that can be learned.
SHOULD I ATTEND?
If you know anyone who has the following symptoms and you think they need help, then YES!
😥 Must use finger or marker to hold place while reading
😥 Moves head or body when reading a line of print
😥 Poor reading comprehension
😥 Likes to listen to stories but doesn't like reading
😥 Falls asleep or gets tired when reading
😥 Slow, choppy reading (not seeing the whole word at once)
😥 Skips words or lines while reading
😥 Often overlooks or mis-reads short words
😥 Has been diagnosed with 'learning disability'
😥 Has been diagnosed with dyslexia or dysgraphia
😥 Writes uphill/downhill/runs out of space at end of line
😥 Letter/number reversals past 2nd grade
😥 Difficulty copying from the board
😥 Spells well verbally but not in writing
ATTENTION AND BEHAVIOR:
😥 Not performing to potential at school despite effort
😥 Gets embarrassed or anxious when asked to read aloud
😥 Has been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD
😥 Wants to touch everything to know/learn about it
😥 Attention span shortens when doing intense close up work
WHAT YOU'LL GET FROM THE WORKSHOP
😃 How to identify children whose vision restricts learning
😃 How the way children “see” the world affect their behavior
😃 How to build school performance by enhancing vision
😃 How to perform assessments and tests of vision skills
😃 How and why vision development therapy works
WORKSHOP HOST: DR. PETER CHARRON
Peter Charron, OD, FCOVD is a private practice Optometrist in Bellingham, Washington who wants you and your therapists to have the best information at your fingertips.
Dr. Peter Charron was born and raised in Portland, Maine. He moved to Bellingham in 2010 after practicing optometry for 2 years in Rhode Island. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a major in Neuroscience, then earned his Doctorate of Optometry from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN in 2008. He has wanted to be an Optometrist ever since he was introduced to vision therapy in college.
In 2014, he earned a Board Certification with the College of Vision Development which requires passing written and oral exams, and over 100 hours of additional coursework in vision therapy related material. He is the only provider in Whatcom & Skagit County to hold this credential.
Dr. Charron is the owner of Charron Vision Therapy in Bellingham, WA.