At Rebuild Your Vision, we put a lot of emphasis on having your children’s vision examined by a professional every year, especially around the beginning of the school year. So much of a child’s learning will be visual. When their vision isn’t functioning at the highest rate possible, it may be holding them back from learning.
You’ve heard this spiel a million times that now it’s time for something new. Classrooms are no longer what they used to be. They’re full of new technologies, but are these technologies harming our children’s eyes? And what are schools doing for the visually impaired?
Here are some new facts about children’s vision in the classroom.
Myth Busted: Computers Harm Children
Unless these computers are an artificial intelligence from a science fiction horror movie trying to take over the world, chances are that computer use in the classroom will not harm your children’s eyes.
It has widely been thought that computers damage young eyes. Screens would cause children to develop nearsightedness and other vision impairments. Though this is a valid concern for parents to have, it is also one that is dated.
It would take a massive amount of screen time to cause nearsightedness, just like excessive reading would. But you aren’t going to tell your child to stop reading, are you?
Time and again, studies have shown that a child’s vision health will not be affected by computer screens. The only way a computer will affect a child’s vision health is if they develop digital eye strain. In this case, it means that your child is spending too much time in front of a screen.
Digital eye strain can cause headaches, neck and upper back pain and eye strain. To avoid this, teachers limit computer use for students. While you’ve got it covered on the home front, teachers have your back in the classroom.
However, if you suspect that your child has digital eye strain, ask their teacher about their policies on computer use. You may teach them something about digital eye strain!
Accessibility for Low Vision Students
Having low vision is not a learning disability, but can often be perceived as one. Oftentimes when a student has low vision, they exhibit similar behavioral and learning problems as someone with a learning disability. A students can be misdiagnosed with a disability when all it is, is low vision.
Luckily, more and more schools are changing to accommodate students with low vision. As it becomes more widely understood that low vision can sometimes be confused with a learning disability, schools across the country have started doing their part to become more accessible for students with low vision.
Some adjustments being made in classrooms include preferential seating for students with low vision. This means seating them closer to the chalkboard and preferably with their back to the window. A spot in the class with reduced glare will help them see much better.
Printing special versions of tests and assignments for a low vision student is another method to help them succeed in school. Often these assignments will be printed in black and white so that the contrast is easier to see and in a larger font. Some students may even be given extra time to complete assignments.
Aside from accommodating a low vision student, teachers are being taught how to understand a student with low vision which is the most valuable accommodation.
A teacher who can empathize with the frustrations of being a child with low vision will not only have an easier time connecting and teaching the student, but will also increase your child’s chances of succeeding.
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Back to School Vision Screenings Are Not Enough
Don’t get us wrong, vision screenings are extremely important for students, but they only graze the surface. Yearly vision screenings held in schools across America is definitely a step in the right direction, but now it’s time to take it a step further.
Vision screenings administered in schools every September when the new school year begins often only check for myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and visual acuity.
These are vision conditions that no doubt affect the way children learn in school. Spotting them and treating them at the beginning of the year will ensure an easier learning journey for your child.
However, vision screenings can’t diagnose more serious vision conditions such as low vision or partial blindness and amblyopia (lazy eye). The early stages of amblyopia can be difficult to spot without a complete eye exam.
In addition to these vision screenings, schools should offer or at least encourage students and parents to get a full eye exam. An eye exam will either confirm healthy eyes or diagnose them with a condition that will most likely be treatable. Having good vision will help your child not only through this school year, but also throughout their academic career.
Untreated Vision Problems Kills Passion
When your child is sitting in the classroom, unable to comprehend anything while their best friend sits next to them zooming through math problems, it can be quite discouraging.
We are all born with a passion for learning. While some of us may grow out of it by the time we graduate high school, some of us continue to learn well after we’ve complete university. Somewhere along the line, the passion for learning was killed.
Children are naturally curious and always wanting to learn, but they can also be knocked out of this phase quite early if learning becomes too much of a challenge. By that, we mean that they may work twice as hard as anyone, but still produce below average results.
For a child, this constant lack of understanding can lead to frustration and low self-esteem. Eventually, it will cause them to give up on learning.
This is easily countered. Spark your child’s interest in learning and keep it aflame by making sure they are getting the eye care they need. Take them for an eye exam with your eye doctor at least once a year and make sure that they are eating a balanced diet of nutrient rich foods.