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Unleashing the Power of Vision Therapy: Tackling Vision Problems in Children with Special Needs

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Many children with special needs, such as autism, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome, often have vision problems that go unnoticed by parents, caregivers, and even health care providers.

These issues can range from difficulties seeing at night to challenges with tracking objects or processing visual information correctly. When vision problems go unrecognized and untreated, they can interfere with learning, play, and socializing. That’s why it’s important to detect and address these issues as early as possible.

Visit Advanced Eyecare & Therapies to learn more about vision therapy and how it can help your special child thrive.

What are Some Unique Vision Problems in Children with Special Needs?

happy asian girl wearing glasses 1280x853Strabismus (crossed eyes), amblyopia and convergence insufficiency are common eye conditions found in children with special needs. Strabismus is a condition where the eyes do not align properly, which can cause double vision and difficulty with depth perception.

Amblyopia, also known as "lazy eye," occurs when one eye is stronger than the other, and the brain begins to ignore the weaker eye. Convergence insufficiency is a condition where the eyes do not work well together when focusing on near objects, which can cause eye strain, headaches, and reading difficulties.

These conditions can significantly impact learning, behavior, and overall development. For instance, children with strabismus may have difficulty with coordination and fine motor skills, affecting daily activities like writing, drawing, and playing sports. They may also have trouble with reading, recognizing shapes/letters, and comprehension due to difficulties focusing on the page.

Meanwhile, children with amblyopia may struggle with spatial awareness and depth perception, affecting their coordination, ability to navigate their environment, and play sports. Their reading and writing may also be affected due to one eye being weaker than the other.

Children with convergence insufficiency will often struggle with reading and writing because of their difficulties focusing on near objects, which can cause eye strain, headaches, and fatigue.

These visual skill deficits can sometimes go undiagnosed due to the child’s lack of verbal skills or awareness that their vision is different than everyone else’s.

Benefits of Vision Therapy for Children with Special Needs

One effective solution to visual challenges is vision therapy. It involves a series of exercises and activities tailored to improve visual performance and processing by training the brain to use visual information more effectively. The treatment aims to strengthen the eyes and correct binocular vision problems that cause eye strain, headaches, and poor visual perception.

What’s more, vision therapy can help children with special needs improve their eye muscle control, visual perception, and focus, thereby enhancing their overall functioning.

In addition to the physical challenges mentioned, children with these eye conditions may also experience emotional and social difficulties. They may feel self-conscious or struggle with social skills because they have trouble making eye contact. They may also experience feelings of frustration and discouragement because they need help performing everyday tasks.

Vision Therapy for Special Needs in Spokane

A comprehensive eye exam is the first step in determining the best course of treatment for your child's visual needs. During the exam, the doctor will assess your child's visual acuity, eye focusing, eye tracking, and eye teaming skills. They will also check for any underlying conditions or eye diseases that may be affecting your child's vision.

Based on the exam results, the doctor may recommend vision therapy or other treatment methods like prescription lenses or eye patching.

It’s essential to work with your child's doctor and vision therapist to develop an individualized treatment plan. This plan will consider your child's specific needs, strengths, and weaknesses and will be tailored to help them achieve their best possible visual outcomes. The doctor will also work with you to teach you how to support your child's therapy at home.

Ultimately, vision therapy is a promising treatment option for children with special needs who struggle with vision problems. It provides a non-invasive, drug-free approach that addresses visual challenges, empowering children to enhance their daily lives and unlock their fullest potential.

Schedule an eye exam at Advanced Eyecare & Therapies today to learn more about an individualized treatment to help your child achieve optimal eye health and academic and social success.