Vision Therapy For Special Needs Children In Richmond Hill
Welcome to Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Vision Therapy Center
Vision problems can be tough on both children and parents. A child’s eyesight changes as they grow up, especially during their school years. For parents of special needs children, knowing how to handle and care for a child’s vision difficulties can be even more complex. That’s what we’re here for.
Dr. Radhika Chawla and the caring, experienced staff at Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Vision Therapy Center offer vision therapy for special needs children from all over Richmond Hill.
What Is Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy is a customized program of targeted exercises to improve and develop visual functions. Because each patient’s vision needs are different, vision therapy is personalized to ensure the best results and positive outcomes for the patient.
Vision therapy is often thought of as physical therapy for your eyes. It can help “retrain” your eyes to improve certain aspects of functionality, focus, eye teaming, hand-eye coordination, visual tracking, visual perception, contrast sensitivity, and more. Exercises may be combined with special eyeglasses or prisms to help support the therapy regimen.
Vision Therapy For Special Needs Children
Many parents and teachers think that any signs of changes or difficulties in a child’s vision will be noticeable or that the child will simply tell them if they can’t see clearly. The reality is that this rarely happens, and is even less likely to happen with special needs children. Many vision problems don’t make themselves known until later when the condition can be more difficult to manage.
Young children may be unable to verbalize if something isn’t working right, or they may be unaware of the problem. A child’s disability may compound the situation, making it even more challenging. That’s where our specially-trained staff comes in. Dr. Radhika Chawla‘s experience treating special needs children means that our practice is uniquely qualified to diagnose, treat, and manage your child’s visual difficulties. Our high standard of care and gentle approach can yield excellent results and a positive vision therapy experience.
What Does Vision Therapy Treat?
A number of vision problems can be treated with vision therapy. The combination of eye exercises, lenses, and prisms can strengthen eye muscles, help the eyes focus on images or objects up close and at distances, and more. The ultimate goal is to restore as much visual function, clarity, and skills as possible.
Eye conditions that are typically treated with vision therapy include:
- Alignment difficulties
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
- Convergence Insufficiency
- Double vision
- Strabismus (crossed eyes)
It can also improve tasks and everyday activities such as reading, writing, focusing, and keeping attention.
The exact type of therapeutic exercises and tools depends on the needs and health of the child, as well as his/her existing visual deficiencies. That’s why we tailor each type of vision therapy to each patient.
Vision therapy isn’t magic; it’s a process that requires patience and determination. If you or your child have been told that there’s nothing else to be done or that they can live just fine with their visual problems, don’t give up – there IS hope.
How Successful Is Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy is a non-surgical, non-invasive method of treatment. Success rates are typically high, depending on the patient’s specific case and general health. A recent study on 8-13 year old children with convergence insufficiency showed that an 8-week vision therapy program yielded an 87.5% success rate. When in-office treatment is combined with practicing at-home, the chance of successful results is even higher.
How Quickly Will I Notice Results?
Vision therapy can take up to 6 months to realize significant results. Although a recent 8 week program showed fast results, it usually takes longer to see more effective, long-term improvements. Positive changes with long-term effects require longer treatment sessions with close monitoring and follow-ups.
Additionally, each patient is different and requires their own unique vision therapy program. Knowing exactly how long it takes to achieve the right outcome depends on each child’s visual needs and overall eye health. The patient will undergo regular checkups by Dr. Radhika Chawla in order to ensure that there are noticeable improvements and positive changes in his or her visual functions.
How You Can Help Make Vision Therapy A Success
If your child is receiving vision therapy, there are some things you can do to help them achieve the best results possible.
Practice at Home
Using the techniques you’ll learn at Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Vision Therapy Center, continue doing the exercises at home. This will reinforce the skills being developed in the program.
Kids who wear glasses or contacts should wear them on a consistent basis to maintain healthy vision. Vision therapy does not cancel the need for glasses or contacts. Think of them as an assistant to the therapy program.
Let your child’s teachers and therapists know that your son/daughter is getting vision therapy. Communication is key to making vision therapy a success.
Behavioral And Vision Problems
Children on the autism spectrum display behaviors related to the eyes. Excessive eye rubbing, light sensitivity, and struggling to maintain visual focus are all typical of autism. When these same actions are related to eyesight problems, the confusion can be problematic.
Children with special needs require health care by trained medical professionals who know how to work with them and understand their unique needs. This is why a proper diagnosis - combined with vision therapy - can improve a child’s vision problems and hopefully, lead to a better school situation.
Learning Disabilities And Vision Therapy
Education professionals say that 80% of learning has to do with a child’s visual capabilities. For kids with learning disabilities, vision problems can make reading, writing, and other learning tasks more difficult. Blurry vision, headaches from eyestrain, or itchy eyes will cause a child to struggle with reading, writing, and homework assignments. Being able to see the board clearly is important in a school environment, and kids who struggle with this can act out their frustration.
If your child is struggling with these activities, talk with Dr. Radhika Chawla. We’ll be able to customize their vision therapy program to help them correct visual impairments that may be hindering their educational development.
Special reading glasses and vision therapy can help your child with a vision impairment that impacts their education. In many cases, these difficulties cannot be corrected with standard glasses or contact lenses. However, it’s important to understand that vision therapy does not fix learning disabilities; it merely improves a child’s visual function.
We Are Partners In Your Child’s Vision Therapy
Both the child and his/her parents are partners with Dr. Radhika Chawla in the vision therapy program. The series of exercises and visual techniques must be performed on a regular basis to ensure a successful outcome. The eye doctor will provide you with detailed instructions and a schedule of drops, patches, and exercises all combined to give you the best vision therapy experience with positive results.
If you’ve tried other solutions and exhausted every other method of vision treatments, then it’s time to speak with us about vision therapy. Let us help your child improve their visual functions, learning, and ultimately, their lives.