As a school-based occupational therapist, you've probably sensed that vision may be interfering with behavior, academic performance or daily activities even if vision screening is passed or glasses have been prescribed. This can be true as common vision problems are frequently missed, especially when traditional eye charts are used. Follow-up on unfulfilled referrals and reports to teachers of students with vision difficulties may be delayed and consequently, so is vision care and a complete understanding of students difficulties.

VERA visual screening school vision screening

Even the most rigorous school vision screening programs will miss visual efficiency issues, which can be present as well in children with normal or corrected visual acuity. Affected children may have difficulty with reading or handwriting, have chronic behavioral issues and may be labeled as dyslexic or having ADHD. That's why it's so important to have thorough and reliable routine vision screening, reporting and follow-up of vision referrals and a screening for visual efficiency.

Identified students will benefit from cooperative support from therapists, teachers and parents and from techniques found in the VERA “Educator and Occupational Therapist Guide” (which is included with the program download). The guide addresses learning environments in which affected students can perform better, specific associated classroom difficulties, activities for visual enhancement and how to integrate visual exercises with classroom instruction.

Additionally, professional programs of vision therapy can be extremely helpful. To learn more about this mode of treatment, visit the "College of Optometrists in Vision Development" and/or the "American Optometric Association" on the web. Consider reaching out to local practitioners to be confident of any referral you might make. If they are not already familiar with VERA, invite them to visit www.visualscreening.com

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Vision screening and brain injury or stress disorders
If you're an occupational therapist in clinical practice, reliable information about vision status is essential. It is important to be able to screen for visual acuity and for vision problems which can manifest with acquired brain injury or PTSD, including:

  • Accommodative disorders which impede activities requiring visual concentration on small objects or print at a close distance.

  • Binocular vision disorders which may cause double vision, interfere with eye-hand coordination and mobility tasks or cause eyestrain or even loss of vision. These disorders can contribute to difficulty with driving, playing sports, reaching for objects or pouring liquids.

  • Eye movement disorders which affect ability to read quickly, comfortably, and with adequate comprehension and attention.
VERA visual screening and brain injury or stress disorder

Recommended Resources:

If you are caring for this type of patient, you'll want to consider treatment options available for visual acuity, visual efficiency and visual information processing disorders and whether treatment should involve an eye care professional or be managed by the therapist. And you'll want to be familiar with compensatory and remedial interventions available to help your client function more effectively in spite of the presence of these vision problems.

For understanding vision and the therapy process in children, as well as managing visual deficits after acquired brain injury: Vision Education Seminars offers seminars for care after acquired brain injury including screening techniques and treatment options such as compensatory strategies, therapy for eye movement and visual processing disorders and rehabilitative techniques. Other treatment options are addressed, including vision therapy, helping patients compensate for double vision, eye movement disorders, other direct intervention techniques, and establishing a vision rehabilitation service.

For working with children who have difficulty paying attention due to visual issues, primitive reflexes and sensory issues: Summit Professional Education offers Pay Attention, a seminar which focuses on strategies to promote visual perception, integrate primitive reflexes, utilize classroom sensory strategies, and use technology to motivate students. This workshop uses proven intervention models along with both evidence-based and complementary techniques developed with work with thousands of children in school settings, home-based services and private practice.

For visual terms and intervention strategies, developmental prerequisites for good handwriting, common handwriting problems and working on fine motor and visual perception skills: ListenWriteShineBright offers webinars by a national program developer and presenter of training workshops and seminars  to teachers, therapists, administrators, and parents, including OT State Associations and National Conferences.

For locating optometrists who specialize in vision rehabilitation: The College of Optometrists in Vision Development.