Children with neuro-developmental delays, such as autism, ADHD, and cerebral palsy, may experience a range of vision problems that can affect their ability to learn, communicate, and interact with the world around them. These vision problems can include difficulties with eye tracking, focusing, and general visual perception skills.
Individuals with Autism Spectrum disorder show a lack of eye contact, poorly developed eye-hand coordination, and decreased visual perceptual skills. The presence of such deficits may influence the development of cognitive, motor skills, perception, behaviour, social interactions, and communication of these children.
If you haven’t already read our previous post, you can learn more about what kind of vision problems children with neuro-developmental delays experience here
Fortunately, vision therapy and eye exercises may help improve these issues and support optimal visual function in children with neuro-developmental delays.
Vision therapy is a type of therapy that uses specific exercises and activities to improve visual function and processing. It is often used to treat conditions such as amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (eye turn), and other vision-related problems. Vision therapy can also be beneficial for children with neuro-developmental delays who may have difficulty with eye movements and visual processing. It is also important to note that each patient will require a highly individualized program tailored to his/her needs. The pace of improvement also varies from person to person.
Eye exercises are a key component of vision therapy. Activities come in different forms ranging from physical tasks to worksheets or even “application” games. They also vary in terms of difficulty levels, function and objective. Usually, these exercises hold the objective of strengthening weakened eye muscles and improving depth perception (common in patients with eye turns and lazy eyes) as a solid ground for all other programs. Similarly, Exercises may be designed to include a combination of patching therapy and engaging activities in effort to treat lazy eyes.
On the other hand, exercises may work on improving overall visual perception skills like:
- Eye tracking, such as following a moving object with the eyes (necessary for reading smoothly without jumping words and lines
- Maintaining focus/clarity when reading or shifting gaze from far to near or vice versa
- Hand eye coordination necessary for almost the majority of our daily tasks such as writing, pouring a drink or playing a sport.
- visual-spatial orientation as well as, visual balance.
- Object recognition (size, shape and colour): often used to help treat the visual components of dyslexia
- Visual memory enhancement- usually used as rehabilitative exercises post trauma
- Visual field expansion- usually used as rehabilitative exercises post trauma
Studies have shown that vision therapy and eye exercises can be effective in improving visual function in children with neurodevelopmental delays. For example, one study found that children with ADHD who underwent vision therapy showed improvements in visual attention and processing speed compared to a control group.
Another study found that vision therapy helped improve reading and spelling abilities in children with dyslexia. The study also found that children who underwent vision therapy had increased confidence and self-esteem.
A third study revealed that there were significant changes in behaviour including improved attention span and increased understanding of instructions according to parental feedback.
It’s important to note that vision therapy and eye exercises should be individualized to each child’s unique needs and may not work for everyone. effective cooperation and compliance to prescribed homework exercises are also critical when it comes to management and treatment. It’s also important to work with a trained vision therapist, orthoptist or optometrist and not follow your own researched eye exercises as they may not be suitable for everyone and cause a negative effect on the person’s condition.
However, a free downloadable activity book is available here. It is designed for children ages 3.5- 8 with amblyopia or lazy eyes. It is neutral to all other eye conditions, making it safe to use on young children just starting to develop their visual perception skills.
In conclusion, vision therapy and eye exercises may be valuable tool in improving visual function in children with neuro-developmental delays. These therapies can improve eye tracking, visual processing, and other visual skills that are critical for learning and development. If you suspect that your child may have a vision problem, it’s important to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor who can evaluate their vision and recommend appropriate treatment options
Have you Read?
The information on this post is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content including text, graphics, images or information contained is for general information purposes only and collected through intensive personal research/ experience.
All efforts to provide accurate information has been made. However, the blog takes no responsibility on the accuracy and reliability of information and such information is subject to change without notice.
You are encouraged to confirm and review any information obtained through this site, regardless of any medical condition present or treatment with your physician.