Vision therapy activities are becoming a popular way of helping children with learning disabilities. The main problem with them is that they are prescribed by behavioural optometrists and are often very expensive (sometimes thousands of dollars). They also often involve multiple and frequent trips to the optometrist to use sophisticated equipment. Some simple activities are done at home, but questions are often raised about the effectiveness of home based vision therapy activities.
The Advantage of Home Vision Therapy Activities
I believe that home based vision therapy activities have several clear advantages over the in-office style. Firstly, they can be done at any hour of the day or night, in any place in the world and do not require trips to the optometrist. Secondly, they can be a lot less expensive because the valuable time of the optometrist or their assistants is not being used on a weekly basis.
But are they as effective as in office vision therapy activities?
In some areas clearly they cannot be as effective because the advanced equipment is not available in your home. This is especially true for complicated eye conditions such as turned eyes or lazy eyes. That being said, a simpler task performed every day is frequently more successful than a visit once or twice a week to an expert’s office.
The fact is that some vision therapy activities, notably those which help learning disabilities, can be easily and successfully done at home by parents, while others require greater expertise or equipment and should only be attempted by a behavioural optometrist.
So What Vision Therapy Activities Work at Home?
Some vision therapy activities are extremely effective as home therapies, especially when it comes to learning disabilities and problems. Tracking for example, which helps a child to move across a page correctly and not misread words or skip lines, is easily trained using home based vision therapy activities. Visualization for spelling is another, as is directional training (to stop letter reversals), coding, sequencing and even focus and eye coordination.
As a behavioural optometrist myself, I have been effectively using these home based vision therapy activities to help children with learning disabilities for years and with the rise of the internet their effectiveness has become greater.
The big problem with home based vision therapy activities is that, despite all good intentions, many parents cannot keep up regular times and consistency with their child.
In my program I have utilized automatic emails to keep parents on track and gently “nag” them into keeping up their schedule of therapies. This has been very successful and can be reset at any time, helping to keep parents on track and children doing enough vision therapy activities to have a positive effect on their school performance. Again, doing a lesser activity every day is often more effective that a complex one weekly.
When it comes to children with learning disabilities, a home based series of vision therapy activities is one of the most effective ways of helping because parents can do the therapies daily and at any time that works for them and their family. Using the right activities more often can train the skills that a child needs to perform better in school, and I prove this with my patients on a daily basis!
When it comes to developing visual skills for learning, home based vision therapy activities are among the most effective tools I know for helping children with learning disabilities.