Does your child have a hard time copying notes from the board?

Published on
December 5, 2022

Having trouble copying notes from the board is actually a pretty common problem. This is a visually demanding task that requires many components to work well together.

What causes students to have difficulty with copying from the board?

If you suffer from significant myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism, you might just need a basic prescription for glasses or contacts. However, there are other eye conditions that could cause it.

  • Binocular vision dysfunction - Another important factor to consider is how well you can shift your focus between close and far. Whenever you look at your paper or computer, you have to converge your eyes inward to point at the same spot, as well as adjust the internal focusing muscle of your eye in order to see the print clearly. And then when you look back at the board, you have to make your eyes go parallel and relax the focusing muscles to make it clear. Those who have difficulty doing this often complain that refocusing is slow. And it takes a few seconds, or very often even longer than that to readjust the focusing back out to see the board clearly. Consequently, if you have trouble with this, you may not only get slower but also get headaches, particularly by the end of the school day, on the forehead or behind the eyes. It is tested through a binocular vision evaluation. There are a variety of tests we would run that use lenses and prisms and 3-D glasses to evaluate your efficiency or stamina as well as your ability to do it. We can also do vision therapy for issues such as binocular vision dysfunction.
  • Poor visual information processing - Another area to consider is the visual information processing component. You'll find copying notes from the board much more difficult if you can only handle small chunks of information at once. Copying in small chunks is going to be a lot less efficient. It is therefore ideal to be able to take information in larger chunks and hold it in your memory long enough so that you can write it down.
  • Spatial localization - Spatial localization is another important factor to consider. Every time you look at the board, you have to keep track of where you are. In some cases, people have difficulty with this and get a little lost or disoriented and have to reread the passage to figure out where they were. As far as testing is concerned, there's actually a specific test called the Wold Sentence Copy Test (WSCT), which has norms for different age levels. The visagraph is another useful test. This device has little sensors on the back that track how your eyes move during a reading task and can analyze things like how long you spend with your eyes fixed on information and how much information you take in chunks. This can be quite valuable.

Schedule a pediatric eye exam and binocular vision assessment in Olympia, WA

If your child has a hard time copying notes from the board, they may be one of the estimated 10%-15% of students that have functional vision problems such as binocular vision dysfunction that impact school performance. A binocular vision assessment evaluates eye focussing, eye tracking, eye teaming, visual processing speed, and visual perception. Patients with binocular vision dysfunction and visual processing problems visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of pediatric eye care services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey. To schedule an eye exam, call (360) 491-2121.


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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