1996-2007, Optometrists Network
This Parents' Checklist is designed to assist parents who are investigating possible causes for their child's problems with Attention Deficit Disorder (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), attention span, hyperactivity, behavior, learning and/or reading.
Parents are advised to be aware that the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) cannot be made by teachers or school administrators alone. A determination of the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can only be made by a team of education and health professionals. As Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurological diagnosis, a neurologist should be a member of the team. The evaluation process should also include comprehensive examination of the child's visual and auditory skills in order to rule out any problems with visual processing, auditory processing, or sensory motor integration.
For information re: visual/perceptual skills which need to be tested, see comprehensive vision examination. For information on eye doctors who provide comprehensive vision examinations for children, go to the Directory of Vision Care Providers for an immediate, free referral.
A Parent's Checklist
Look for these signs and symptoms.
If you check off several items on the following checklist, consider taking your child for a vision exam. See the Directory for an immediate, free referral.
You observe the following behavior in your child:
- one eye drifts or aims in a different direction than the other (look
carefully -- this can be subtle). This is significant even if it only
occurs when the child is tired or stressed.
- turns or tilts head to see
- head is frequently tilted to one side or one shoulder is noticeably
- squinting or closing or covering of one eye
- excessive blinking or squinting
- Short attention span
- Daydreaming in class
- Poor handwriting
- poor visual/motor skills (often called "hand-eye coordination")
- problems moving in space, frequently bumps into things or drops things
- Clumsiness on playground or at home
While reading or doing close work your child:
- holds the book or object unusually close
- closes one eye or covers eye with hand
- twists or tilts head toward book or object so as to favor one eye
- frequently loses place and fatigues easily
- uses finger to read
- rubs eyes during or after short periods of reading
- Reversals when reading (i.e., "was" for "saw", "on" for "no", etc.)
- Reversals when writing (b for d, p for q, etc.)
- Omitting small words
- Confusing small words
- Transposition of letters and numbers (12 for 21, etc.)
- Loss of place when reading, line to line and word to word.
- Child's ability to learn verbally surpasses
his ability to learn visually.
Your child frequently complains of:
- only being able to read for short periods of time
- headaches or eyestrain
- nausea or dizziness
- motion sickness
- DOUBLE VISION!
Say no more. If your child reports seeing double, please take your child for a binocular vision evaluation immediately. You are invited to request a free referral at the Directory of Vision Care Providers.
Catch Visual Problems Early!
Early detection of visual problems greatly increases the chances of successful rehabilitation. Children should be examined by an eye doctor during infancy and preschool years to detect potential problems with binocular vision. This is particularly important if any member of the family has had ambylopia or strabismus. Testing of binocular teaming skills should be a part of every child's comprehensive eye examination.
Be sure to seek a second opinion when an eye doctor:
Parents are advised to consult a pediatric optometrist who offers supervised vision therapy to children, particularly a behavioral optometrist. You are invited to request a free
referral at the Directory of
Vision Care Providers.
- diagnoses ambylopia (lazy eye) or strabismus, but offers only surgery and/or patching -- no mention is made of eye exercises or other supporting vision therapies. (Patching of a non-amblyopic eye is of limited value unless it is part of an active vision therapy program.)
- recommends surgery only for cosmetic purposes (to make the eye appear straight to others) and does not believe that your child can develop binocular vision
- tells you that it is too late for either surgery and/or patching and that your child can not develop binocular vision. (For many years, it was thought that amblyopia (lazy eye) was only amenable to treatment during the "critical period". This is the period up to age seven or eight years. Current research has conclusively demonstrated that effective treatment can take place at any age, but the length of the treatment period increases dramatically the longer the condition has existed prior to treatment.)
To learn more about about the differences between the practices of pediatric ophthalmologists and pediatric optometrists, see Choosing an Eye Doctor.
For more information on Vision Therapy and children's visual health, see www.children-special-needs.org.
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