At home vision therapy is a series of exercises designed to change a child’s visual system and improve their learning ability, from the comfort of your own home. With vision being responsible for over 80% of the information a child absorbs in the classroom, it makes sense that at home vision therapy can help children with learning disabilities. But what many parents who have attempted at home vision therapy ask is, “Does have to be so boring?”
As a behavioural optometrist I can assure you that doing eye exercises are no fun, but rather pain and hard work. Watching a pencil tip come closer to your nose 20 times is strenuous, unpleasant and most of all, boring! You may be able to concentrate a bit longer, but at what price, and then how long does it last?
At Home Vision Therapy Needs to be Fun
Even as an optometrist, I can see that a lot of eye exercises are far from fun. They rely on repetition, in much the same way as exercises at the gym do to have an effect. Don’t worry, I hate gym exercises too, and I find them boring!
So the challenge was there to attempt to design a type of at home vision therapy that not only had a positive effect on learning, but was also fun enough that the child might actually want to do them! Is it possible that 20 minutes a day of games could actually help a child with a learning disability?
After a lot of research I recognized that some at home vision therapy tasks are simply hard work and cannot be made fun at all! Pencil convergence, mentioned above, will never be a favourite that’s for sure! However, many of the visual skills that are require for a child to learn effectively can be enhanced by playing particular, targeted games which develop specific skills.
So if I concentrate on developing the skills needed by children in learning, then it is possible to design an at home vision therapy program which is not only effective, but is also fun!
And that’s what I have done!
The Pros and Cons of At Home Vision Therapy
This ticks a number of boxes for a behavioural optometrist. It can be done at home, without direct supervision, and this means it can be done far more often that in-office therapy. I am convinced that doing a little bit every day is far more effective than doing a lot once a week, and we have found this to be true in our patients.
It can be done at whatever time suits the parents, and it can be done anywhere in the world because they do not have to travel to my office for help. If planned correctly, at home vision therapy can also be made fun as well as challenging, which means that getting children to do the work is a whole lot easier! It can also be made cheaper than the in-office variety!
The only real limitation for at home vision therapy is that not ever condition can be successfully treated. Turned eyes and lazy eyes, for example, cannot be easily treated by at home vision therapy alone.
Developing visual skills for learning, however, can very effectively be enhanced by consistently done at home vision therapy, especially when the tasks are fun and changing regularly. I have found that working with children in this way, rather than forcing them to do things they hate and which hurt, yields better results than doing tasks in the office. Parents can be kept consistent via emails (we call it being “gently nagged”) and kids can feel like they are achieving real results.
So parents, if you are slogging through miles of mind-numbing home activities then take my advice and stop right now! Replace it with genuine, proven at home vision therapy which is fun, challenging and anything but boring!