Did You Know that 15 of the 18 symptoms used to diagnose ADHD/ADD are also symptoms of Functional Vision Problems?
Functional vision problems in children can produce similar symptoms to those found in ADHD, such as difficulty focusing in school, tendencies to fidget or squirm in their seats, and making careless mistakes.
Visual integration problems can lead to skipping lines, confusing words and word-order, and generally making it impossible to read accurately.
This constant battle and frustration makes bright children seem like they just don’t get it, and can result in secondary behavioral issues.
If your child displays poor attention in school, don’t automatically assume that it’s Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or even Dyslexia.
An incorrect diagnosis can result in serious repercussions. Strong medications, such as Ritalin or Adderall may be prescribed for your child. These medications have side effects that are notoriously unpleasant, and include sleep disruptions, nausea, loss or increase of appetite, mood swings, and/or depression. Not only is the child needlessly taking medications and dealing with unpleasant side effects, but their vision problems haven’t been resolved.
Moreover, if your child has been misdiagnosed with ADD or ADHD, they can be subject to stigmas and negative behaviors from their peers, which can harm their self-esteem and confidence levels well into their adult years.
Children incorrectly diagnosed with ADHD may have vision problems, like convergence insufficiency, that are the root of the trouble.
When we read, our eyes converge to focus at the same point on the page. If our eyes are not working properly, we lose focus and forget material we just read. Words seem blurry. Due to eyestrain from vision problems, children dislike reading. They become agitated or fidget when asked to read. Many act out in the classroom or during homework time. Their frustration can actually lead to anxiety and depression.
The study suggested that, like ADHD, problems with vision make it hard for children to finish schoolwork in a timely fashion or to pay attention.
Some researchers think that vision problems affect children’s “executive function”— the higher-order cognitive processes used to plan, pay attention, and organize time and space.
TEDX talk Convergence Insufficiency
Does Your Child Have ADD, ADHD, or a Vision Problem?
When the visual skills in children don’t operate properly, certain symptoms and behaviors can appear.
Difficulty paying attention in class: regular classroom tasks become much more challenging for those with functional vision problems. As they struggle with the tasks, students may become more frustrated, tired, fidgety, or stop trying altogether and stare into space.
Trouble reading. Difficulty with eye teaming can make the act of reading difficult and uncomfortable on the eyes. Certain kids may push past the discomfort and read at a slower rate, while others may just stop trying altogether.
Not responding normally when spoken to. A child with a functional vision problem needs to work much harder than the typical student when attempting to focus on the board. As a result of focusing their energies so intently, they may not be able to process the information in their surrounding environment, such as when being spoken to. They also become understandably frustrated and act out.
Inattentive to details. Kids with functional vision problems typically have a limited window of time in which they can complete near work, such as reading and writing. They tend to feel rushed to get through their work before developing blurred or double vision, eye strain, or headaches. As a result of this rush, the student may skip important details and make careless mistakes along the way.
Poor performance when playing sports and other physical activities. Children with functional vision problems may experience difficulty seeing a ball fly through the air or assess their physical distance to others on a playing field. This can be perceived as poor performance and can affect their confidence levels.
Further symptoms associated with Functional Vision Problems
While the following reactions can be blamed on stress or attention problems, they’re most likely the result of vision difficulties.
- Avoids favorite activities
- Excessive squinting
- Feelings of inferiority among peers
- Frequent rubbing of the eyes
- Lack of interest in reading
I highly recommend Performance Vision & Learning! My Daughter wasn't able to recognize letters and numbers and we were worried about how she would do in Kindergarten. We started vision therapy in the summer with Dr. Spinozzi. Within the first month of kindergarten she was able to tell us almost every letter of the alphabet. She comes home daily and writes letters and is sounding out and writing words! She has a reinvigorated love for reading and making up stories when looking at pictures. I cannot say enough amazing words about Dr. Spinozzi and his new practice here in Windsor!Dan P. - Google Review
How We Can Help
A comprehensive developmental vision evaluation done by Dr. Spinozzi, a developmental optometrist, can determine if your child has a functional vision problem that is contributing to these symptoms.
Dr. Spinozzi’s commitment to helping students and adults with vision problems is personal. Having gone through the educational system and barely survived, he has a special place in his heart for children with these same visual challenges. A decline in a child’s self esteem, no matter what the cause, is a tragedy. But when this happens to bright children with vision difficulties, it is completely preventable.
No words can describe the relief he felt when he was properly diagnosed. He finally knew what was wrong. Every bit of extra effort was explained. Every minute of recess lost was accounted for. Every poor grade was rationalized. His frustration was vindicated: his eyes played tricks on him. Your child’s eyes could be playing tricks too.
Dr. Spinozzi says he has been fortunate. People have helped him along the way and he is forever grateful. He has dedicated his life to helping children who struggled as he did.
If you think your child may have a vision problem, call Dr. Spinozzi’s office today and schedule an examination.
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