"My kid has 20-20 vision, so I'll just skip this post".... I wouldn't do that if I were you! You are about to learn more than you ever thought you could know about how visual skills impact handwriting and it's going to blow your mind!!
First, YES absolutely we need to ensure that the child has the visual acuity (meaning they can literally see clearly) and that if there is a need for corrective lenses then that is the priority. It is recommended that all children receive an eye exam every year to test this part of vision. Some pediatricians screen in office, others may want to seek out an optometrist to provide this service. Most schools require a thorough vision test prior to kindergarten, but this varies with each state as well as varies as to what exactly is examined during this test.
But wait, vision is WAY more than just being able to see clearly. Did you know that your child or student may present with behavior issues or ADHD when really it is eye movement difficulties that are impacting their learning?! Pretty eye-opening right? See what I did there ;) Reading and writing may be significantly impacted by a child's eye movement struggles, as well as sport performance and participation in school.
So how do you know if your child IS struggling with eye movements that are impacting their performance? Does your child squint or rub their eyes or blink frequently? Do they tilt or turn their head when reading? Do they complain of headaches, blurry vision, or say that words are moving on their page? Do they have unexplained academic or behavioral problems? If so, they may be struggling with one of a variety of eye movement conditions.
Now what do you do if you suspect your child or student has these issues? First, we recommend a comprehensive vision exam testing visual integrity, efficiency, and information processing preferable with a pediatric optometrist. You may have heard of vision therapy, which is typically performed by a developmental optometrist. This is definitely an option if you have a provider near you and if warranted following your exam. Another great option is an occupational therapist who has experience and training in vision. Most OTs are quite capable of addressing visual perception and visual motor integration as it is a major part of our education and knowledge base. However, specialized knowledge is necessary with visual movement issues.
At Handwriting Solutions, we provide handwriting tutoring. This means we look at all areas impacting a child's writing, including eye movement problems. We look at it through the lens of how it is impacting their handwriting and how we can improve their underlying skills to impact their handwriting performance. We are not vision therapists, but we understand the science behind the visual system and the role this plays in writing. We are here to help!