What Causes Developmental Dyslexia?
The brain’s inability to process phonemes causes developmental dyslexia in children—it does not result from hearing and vision problems. It is primarily a problem with language that makes learning and reading difficult, despite an individual with average intelligence having undergone traditional instruction. The following forms of dyslexia all affect the individual’s ability to read and write.
This is the most common type of dyslexia, describing a dysfunction of the left side of the brain. It does not change with age.
Secondary (Developmental) Dyslexia:
Problems with brain development during the early stages of fetal development cause secondary dyslexia. As the child matures, this form of dyslexia can diminish.
Brain trauma or injury causes acquired dyslexia.
Dyslexia Signs and Symptoms
Signs of dyslexia will become more apparent as a child begins to read and write, but parents and school teachers may be able to detect the disorder’s onset early on. The following clues may indicate dyslexia is at play.
Children may learn to talk late, learn new words slowly, reverse sounds in words (or confuse words that sound alike), and have problems remembering letters, numbers, and colors.
While in school, you may notice your child reads well below the expected level, has problems processing what they learn, is unable to sound out unfamiliar words, spends a long time reading and writing, and has difficulty seeing similarities and differences in letters and words.
Teenagers and Adults
Teens and adults may experience continued difficulties with reading, writing, spelling, word pronunciation, memorization, and math.
Childhood difficulties will continue into adulthood if your child doesn’t receive a proper diagnosis.
Vision Therapy for Patients With Dyslexia
While vision therapy cannot treat dyslexia (as dyslexia is a learning disorder caused by brain processing problems), vision therapists can help relieve certain vision problems that may be associated with the disorder. Studies show that ocular motor tracking, eye teaming, and eye focusing are more frequent in children with developmental dyslexia than those without it. This suggests that deficits in visual function are more prevalent in children with developmental dyslexia—there is an 80% correlation that if your child has dyslexia, they also have a learning-related vision problem that vision therapy can solve.
Whether or not an individual has dyslexia, certified vision therapists can work with the them to improve symptoms of convergence insufficiency, accommodative dysfunction (eye focusing), tracking deficiencies, and visual processing deficits. Certified developmental optometrists and vision therapists will develop customized treatment plans to help the patient:
- Coordinate precise eye movements to better follow moving targets and to keep their place for reading.
- Sustain a steady gaze to maintain visual attention.
- Focus on nearby and faraway objects for copy work.
- Reteach the eyes to team together to give simultaneous feedback to the brain.
- Coordinate precise eye movements for reading to improve accuracy, speed, and fluency.
- Improve visual spatial skills to reduce reversal errors like “b” for “d” and “21” for “12.”
- Build visual processing skills to reduce confusion of similar looking words, like “then” for “them,” and failure to recognize the same word seen frequently in the text.
- Grow visual memory skills to improve reading comprehension.
Alongside the use of special tools like glasses and prisms, vision therapists may use exercises addressing different aspects of the patient’s vision. Common exercises include eye focusing training, depth perception practices, precise eye movement practices, processing speed work on computer systems, and reading exercises.
How Do I Schedule a Vision Therapy Appointment?
OCVT provides dyslexia vision therapy in Austin and San Antonio. Come into the location nearest you or contact us today to speak with one of our vision therapists. You can also schedule a complimentary consultation to learn if our clinic is right for you.
The first step in regaining your visual health is talking to a vision therapist. We look forward to helping you strengthen your visual skills so you can approach reading and learning with newfound clarity and confidence.