Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common condition diagnosed in children and adults these days. It is estimated that 3 to 5% of school-aged children presently have this disorder. The condition often leads to academic difficulties and performance that is well below potential.
The symptoms commonly associated with and used to diagnose ADD/ADHD are also seen in children with Learning-Related Visual Problems.
Much of our academic (and work) environment requires students to sustain visual attention on near-point tasks for lengthy periods. In order to accomplish this, the two eyes must coordinate as a team and point at the same place. The two eyes must focus at the proper distance and maintain clarity. The two eyes must move and track to understand or get meaning from what is viewed.
These functional aspects of vision go far beyond whether a person can see 20/20 or not. When these functional visual skills are lacking, the student is unable to sustain attention on near-point tasks. Fatigue and distraction set in and the student begins to make careless mistakes, fidgets and squirms, talks excessively, interrupts others, fails to follow directions, or begins to move about to touch and feel objects in the environment.
A Developmental Optometry evaluation will reveal whether visual factors are contributing to a student’s attention difficulties
When functional vision difficulties are found, they are treated through a program of Vision Therapy. Vision Therapy is aimed at providing students with the necessary visual skills to manage the visually stressful near tasks frequently encountered in school.
Vision Therapy begins by addressing the following that are necessary to sustain attention on near tasks:
Vision Therapy also works with the visual perceptual and cognitive skills that are necessary to quickly get meaning and understanding from what is being viewed.
To learn more about Vision and ADD/ADHD please visit the links below:
Many ADD/ADHD students are not performing at potential in reading skills
This could be due to impairments in the visual issues mentioned above, or could be due to lack of reading experience. Once vision issues have been resolved and the student is able to sustain attention on near tasks, a reading skills development program can usually rapidly improve overall reading abilities.