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Visual Processing Disorders/skipping words and lines - experiences please

(17 Posts)
Periwinkle007 Tue 26-Mar-13 11:54:50

Would anyone mind sharing their experience of visual processing disorders please.

my reception daughter was complaining about the contrasts with the white board at school so we tried different seating positions none of which helped. I kept thinking we would see how it went but then started to notice problems with her reading, well not problems so much as inconsistencies. She reads very hard books at home and some school ones which were in the wrong boxes but she read them fine, the standard biff and co ones she had problems with. Not because she doesn't know the words but just missing words out, rearranging the sentances etc. I then started looking into it more and discovered that the ones she reads very well are either bigger font or printed on coloured backgrounds so started reading up on it and spoke to her teacher and optician (who retested her eyes and sight is fine) and decided to try a local Visual Therapy place the school recommended. They tested her with the colourimeter machine and there was a big improvement with a coloured tint. the first time she read it was slow, skipping words, skipping lines all over the place. the second time was confident, faster and only skipped one line. Obviously this would indicate some sort of problem even if it isn't anything you can diagnose officially but it does mean we need to help her work with it.

We have ordered her tinted glasses (an overlay obviously couldn't help with the white board or writing) to try. The place also said it is possible to do an eye tracking test (?) and then based on results of that we could sign up to a 5 week course of exercises to try and help her learn to control her eyes a bit more.

Does anyone have any experience or advice please? Obviously we, and her teacher, want to help her as much as possible but we aren't sure where to start. She is reading well because she picked it up at the age of 3 so at 5 she is on level 7 at school, reads level 9 or 10 vocab happily but reads purely on whole word recognition. she CAN spell out words phonetically but it exhausts her eyes very quickly and luckily she seems to know all the vocab up to literally level 9/10 books in the boxes and most general childrens story books. Obviously as time goes on she can't learn every word however good her memory is and we need to help her work out a way to spell the words out when she actually doesn't see some of the letters.


Teachercreature Tue 26-Mar-13 12:26:54

I'd definitely advise further investigation.

It is very common for children to have difficulty seeing the white board and tracking problems (that's the following alone the line bit) and usually that happens as they switch to denser text. The majority grow out of it.

However, the colour issues here and eye fatigue make me think there could be an issue she does need help with and a proper diagnosis is the first step. I believe if you discuss it with your GP they should be able to refer her to eye specialists. Some explanations of the different roles here so you can ask for which is most appropriate:§ionTitle=W

It is also possible that she may have visual dyslexia:

There's some links on that page re who to see about diagnosis.

Hope that helps!

Elibean Tue 26-Mar-13 12:35:54

Not a lot of advice, as you've done really well already I think - but just to say that dd1 had similar problems with 'jumping' words and lines, diagnosed whilst in Y2. She never had problems with short bits of reading, but as soon as her eyes got tired she'd get headaches, and was never able to track to the next line in a text.

She had a green overlay for a while, but was not hugely cooperative about using it tbh! By the middle of Y3, things were a lot better - and now, half way through Y4, she says she only ever gets 'jumpy' letters when very tired. She still prefers reading in half-light to bright light, though, given the option.

My friend's dd had the same problem, and outgrew it in Y5-Y6, so it does seem to get better with time for many of them smile

Elibean Tue 26-Mar-13 12:36:50

ps dd was also checked by opthalmologists, and for dyslexia (very very mild was possible, but again has got better) - her eye health was fine. It was purely a tracking problem, in her case.

Periwinkle007 Tue 26-Mar-13 12:45:20

thank you - greatly appreciate that, especially the reassurance that she will probably grow out of it.

I am just typing a letter to her teacher (updated her this morning) so that they have it all recorded, what we have had checked and when and what the situation seems to be and also asking if SENCO can suggest anything else/school keep us updated on her progress so that we can try and help her as much as possible. She should get her glasses next week which gives her a couple of weeks of the holidays to get used to wearing them for reading (luckily as I wear glasses all the time and a couple of her friends have glasses she is very excited about her bright pink frames she chose so I think she will wear them)

Luckily everything they do on the white board in general is about book band 3 and she is 7 so the majority is stuff she CAN deal with but yes it is when the tiredness kicks in (which does seem to be quite quickly) we get a lot of eye rubbing, a change in mood because she starts to get frustrated and she starts looking away a lot obviously to try and relieve the eye strain.

The local eye hospital is supposed to be excellent so I will try the GP and see if they can refer her for some sort of further investigation.

thank you

Teachercreature Tue 26-Mar-13 13:11:44

Sounds great Periwinkle - good luck! smile

Periwinkle007 Tue 26-Mar-13 14:22:09

thank you Teachercreature

SaltedChocolate Tue 26-Mar-13 16:25:39

Children do not grow out of eye tracking problems - see this link

Vision therapy at a behaviour optometrist was very expensive and didn't help my DS much, but Engaging Eyes helped him a lot.

He no longer gets eye strain and can copy off the board easier and read for longer etc etc etc.

It's certainly worth a try from everything you've said.....

Branleuse Tue 26-Mar-13 16:27:21

Irlen syndrome?

Teachercreature Tue 26-Mar-13 16:44:27

Sorry saltedchocolate (and periwinkle!) didn't mean that they grow out of diagnosed visual problems, I was referring to the basic difficulty most children have with reading lines of text accurately, which the majority do experience around y2/3 and then improve with as they get used to it being smaller/closer. My own DD was the same at first and I nearly had her tested, but then she adapted. In school we tend to refer to this as "tracking issues", but that's probably not the right term come to think of it since it's just one aspect.

Actually, saltedchocolate since you have more experience here with your DS what would you say the right term is for not being able to follow lines of text easily? Is there a better term? It comes up a lot and don't want to mislead people!

Periwinkle007 Tue 26-Mar-13 16:45:38

Engaging Eyes sounds interesting although the optician did specifically check convergence when I explained why we wanted him to recheck her eyes so I am not sure if that is her problem. Will speak to him and look into it more, thank you. The vision therapy is £125 for 5 sessions which is expensive but not as bad as I thought it would be and they seem confident that enough of a result can be achieved in 5 sessions for that to be all that is needed. Will look into that a bit more too.

I have read about Irlen syndrome and a friend suggested that too. I keep reading though that they just call it eye stress now not actually Irlen syndrome. It does seem like the same thing to what she has though.


Ineedmorepatience Tue 26-Mar-13 19:53:06

Hi perri we have had good success with coloured lenses with Dd2 and 3. Dd2 is dyslexic and has tracking issues, she did a tracking program and had tinted lenses when she was younger and her reading accuracy and fluency dramatically improved. Dd3 wears her coloured lenses for visual perception issues possible related to her Asd.

I would give the vision therapy a go and maybe have a look at the Tinsley House thread on the special needs children board.

Good lucksmile

Periwinkle007 Tue 26-Mar-13 20:31:59

thank you.

Teachercreature - I think potentially it is something she could either grow out of or learn to cope with because I don't believe she is dyslexic given that she has managed to learn to read (by whatever method works for her) but it does seem she is a bit more than just the tracking issues. bodes well though if that can be a normal problem so that even if she is left with some sort of problem it should lesson. not sure that is making sense but it is in my mind.

I feel lucky that she is enthusiastic about her glasses and she has a lovely teacher this year (am sure next years will be too but don't know anything about the Yr1 staff) so hopefully we can start to get some ideas of what to try to helpher.

will look up that thread thanks Ineedmorepatience.

Vision therapy does sound worth a try, like the other things it certainly can't hurt other than the cost.

Teachercreature Tue 26-Mar-13 20:54:05

I do see what you mean Periwinkle yes! ]

Do just bear in mind that some dyslexics can indeed learn to read despite difficulties and without extra support as they are often very bright and use all sorts of clever coping strategies. They often manage very well till older and then can start to struggle and people suddenly realise they actually are dyslexic.

The good thing is, you're already very aware and supportive and investigating carefully, so whatever the issue is I am sure you will get to the bottom of it and find the best way to help her. And if she doesn't grow out of it, then it definitely also sounds like she will be able to cope too smile

Periwinkle007 Tue 26-Mar-13 21:30:46

thank you. I think that is what worried me, it is by chance we have worked out there is a problem and otherwise I think they wouldn't have noticed at school because she is reading well so it wouldn't have been until she was end of year 1 they would have looked at it I don't think.

luckily my mum used to be a teacher so is about to contact two of her old colleagues who are both SENCOs to ask them for advice as well.

She is a very bright child, always has been so it doesn't surprise me if she has just worked out a way to work round it but I want to give her the chance to reach her full potential rather than have to use her energy trying to cope with a problem or ending up confused and missing important information as a result.

I appreciate your help and reassurance, thanks

Teachercreature Tue 26-Mar-13 22:19:16

No problem! Schools typically tend to put most stuff down to age until they reach Y2/3 unless really obvious (since so many do grow out of things as they mature), so it's brilliant that you did spot it and that the school are also being supportive. Early diagnosis and support are always best. That and the fact that she is coping so well already do bode very well for the future.

Totally agree she shouldn't have to waste her energy on coping without the right support (if it is needed) and hopefully your mum and her old colleagues should be able to help, but if you need anything else please do just ask!

Periwinkle007 Wed 27-Mar-13 10:47:14

thank you - very kind

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