Being a parent is hard work, no doubt about it. It’s rewarding to be clear, but the list of skills required to effectively take care of children is rather lengthy! Moms, dads, and guardians alike are responsible for a child’s emotional well-being, physical needs, school performance, social skills, and so much more. Mercifully, those tasked with caring for young children are not expected to know what to do in every situation. And that’s what makes checklists and “what to look for” brochures so very helpful when engaging in the care and keeping of the youngsters who rely on us.
25 out of 100 children, which is the equivalent of roughly six children in every classroom, struggle with some sort of visual deficit or dysfunction. These problems may be obvious in some kids, but more subtle in others. The child who stumbles into walls makes it pretty obvious that they should get their eyes examined. But what about the child who has a tendency to “space out” in class, or the teen who writes on a slant and calls it “art?” How is a parent to know that the child who loses things is not irresponsible, but suffering from a problem that can and should be addressed?
If you notice that your child is struggling in school, complaining of frequent headaches or other problems, sit down and ask them if they are aware of the frequency with which they complain of the symptoms below and if they’re seeing the same things you are.
Younger children will often times expect that the way they see the world is how everyone sees it, having a checklist can help guide the conversation with a younger child.
When speaking with your child, ask them if there seems to be an identifiable rhyme or reason to what’s happening. Do they get headaches in school and gym, or one or the other? Do they write on a slant for fun or because it’s easier to see and read that way? Do they close one of their eyes only when reading or doing near work?
Review your checklist with them and let them know that you’ll be taking notes from time to time. This will allay any fears of being “shadowed,” and drive home not only why it’s important for you to understand what’s happening, but help you get them the help they need.
If you’ve noticed that your child keeps “forgetting” their assignments in school, announces that they simply “can’t” do their work even before trying to, or seems to have distanced themselves from all things academic, there’s a good chance their teachers are seeing the same or similar behaviors. The more you know, the better you can help them.
The following symptoms are often associated with visual impairments.
Does your child report or display:
Answers to the following questions can go a long way in understanding how your child sees, understands, and processes the world around them. And because the ability to function well at home and school is a precursor to future successes in any environment, this checklist can help pinpoint what’s really going on.
The following behaviors are frequently associated with vision problems.
Have you noticed if your child:
The following reading tasks frequently indicate problems with overall vision and nearsightedness.
Does your child seem to:
Once you have assessed your child’s vision to the best of your ability, it is crucial that you schedule a functional eye exam with your optometrist. Let our developmental optometrist review your checklist so they can compare what they see during the eye exam with what you’ve been seeing at home. Sharing this information with our eye doctor not only helps your child get the most comprehensive exam possible, but lets them know that you care and are invested in their visual health and self-esteem.
It can be really difficult for a child who has learned to compensate for poor vision with tricks and humor to admit that they’re really suffering. Letting your child know that you believe them and want them to succeed can go a long way in making your job as their parent even more rewarding, for many years to come.