There are many visual demands in the classroom because so much of a student’s performance depends on their vision skills which can actually be strengthened and developed when necessary. Some of these visual abilities are explained as follows:
Eye tracking - this is necessary for visually monitoring what’s going on in the classroom environment which helps with maintaining attention and good behavior. The six muscles surrounding the eyes must be working properly together to allow for different kinds of smooth eye movements.
A student with undeveloped eye tracking:
Focusing - it’s important to develop the ability to focus at different distances and to be able to smoothly adjust the focus from one distance to another. When a baby is born his or her entire world is extremely close up, mainly the distance between the baby and the mother. As the baby grows up, his world expands and he is required to look at various distances. Being able to focus at different distances is very important in the classroom because a student must be able to focus on the board which is usually at a distance and then to be able to take notes in their notebook which is at a much closer distance than the board is at and the demand to shift their gaze at different distances is constantly required in the classroom.
Binocular teaming - this is a skill that represents how well the eyes are coordinated with each other. It translates as depth perception which helps prevent clumsiness and bumping into things. If there’s a lack of binocularity then it can show up in a student’s behavior as he can have a hard time maintaining concentration and interest in reading. A highly motivated student will push himself to overcome this obstacle, but then will complain about headaches, discomfort, fatigue and blurry/ double vision.
Other very important visual skills for school performance include:
Vision therapy is a series of sessions in-office, which usually include at home exercise as well. The child works with a professional vision therapist doing various activities and exercises which train the eyes to work together properly as a team and strengthens the communication that the eyes have with the brain. This yields effective results as a child’s visual skills can constantly be developed and strengthened. When a child no longer has the visual obstacles which would make school performance challenging, he or she can then thrive with their peers.
It is important to make sure that your child’s visual system is properly developed in preparation for starting school, as approximately 80% of the information that we process is visual.