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Get Ahead Kids® Feature Article
Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 4, No. 5 - September/October 2012

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Is There Something Wrong With My Child?

By Susan Walton

I'm sure there are lots of parents out there who know that their child is quite smart in lots of normal ways in their day to day life.

However, when they get to school they just don't seem to be able to perform to the level expected in the classroom.

Depending on the nature of the child there can be a number of behavioural outcomes:

  • Easily distracted & may distract others
  • Frustration because other kids complete tasks more easily
  • Quiet child who is slow or does not complete work
  • Has low confidence to attempt answers or ask for help
  • Avoids tasks and goes to the bathroom, is a class clown or often daydreams.

This behaviour can create a battle to get homework done!

Some children are able to complete homework because of the one on one situation with a parent to guide and urge them through at home, but would drift from the task in a classroom of 20 or 30 others.

There are the labels that may be given to your child: lazy, naughty, ADD, ADHD or Dyslexic.

You may need to have your child tested to see what could be wrong. Test their eyes, their hearing; see the occupational therapist or a paediatrician.

When these youngsters arrive for eye testing I like to observe what type of child they are - chatty, shy, nervous and looking to Mum for answers, wanders around the room and touches everything despite being told countless times not to by Mum, wriggles and fidgets in the chair.

What can the parents tell me about the difference in their child's verbal abilities compared to what occurs in their schoolwork? How do they manage with coordination (ball skills, ride a bike), organising to dress themselves, carry out simple instructions - particularly if there are more than one at a time given?

Many parents are looking for answers to allow their kids to perform to their true potential.

Some of the kids I have just described can benefit from vision therapy. As a Behavioural Optometrist I am looking much more broadly at your child than just their eyeballs. Vision is intertwined with all the other senses in allowing your child to function properly in the classroom and in life in general.

Our trained Vision Therapist Hannah, works individually with the kids each week for a minimum of 10 weeks on a range of activities that explores the use of their eyes along with auditory, motor and cognitive tasks - to look, listen, think and do.

We have a large room for these sessions fitted out with special equipment to allow the children to explore and expand the use and control of their visual skills in many different ways.

They learn such things as better control of their eye movements so they can track, not lose their place, not get lost on the board, and follow the ball.

There are activities where they gain or increase their ability to visualise - or be able to use images in their head - which can be integral in many areas for learning to read, spell, write stories and do maths.

The activities are then practiced at home under the guidance of their parents on at least 5 other days for about half an hour. This home practice is extremely important for the success for your child in vision therapy.

If this sounds like your child, you may like to attend our information evening. Please phone our office for further information.

More Information

Susan Walton - B Optom FACBO Behavioural Optometrist
Hannah Walton
Vision Therapist
P: 02 4926 4799
skwalton@tpg.com.au


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