Visual Therapy is an individualised vision training program designed to correct visual-motor and/or perceptual-cognitive deficiencies.
Optometric visual therapy is done to improve poorly developed visual information processing skills, or to further enhance present visual skills to a higher level of efficiency and stamina. These abilities can directly or indirectly affect your child’s classroom performance or your child’s sporting abilities. This is not to say that this may be the only reason why your child is having difficulties in the classroom or in sport. Visual therapy will make it easier for your child to learn visually. Visual therapy solves visual problems. It is not reading therapy. They may still need classroom intervention to catch up in those areas they have been academically behind in.
Things you need to know before you start
- VT does not ‘do things’ to your child to make them better. The child does VT to make themselves better.
- You are presenting your child with a series of selected visual tasks or problems and asking him/her to work out how to do them.
- In solving these problems your child undergoes neurological change. i.e. Learning
- The strategies that your child learnt to solve that particular problem will then be applicable to other learning situations.
- The particular VT activities we have given you are not important in themselves.
- There are many different activities we could have given your child in order to teach them the same visual skills.
- It is far more important that you understand the skill that the VT activity is trying to develop.
- In this way you can modify or vary the particular VT activity so that it does not become boring and remains a challenge for your child hence continues to ‘learn’.
- We will monitor your child’s progress and update the activities as your child progresses.
- Visual therapy for certain types of visual problems can be completed with home based activities, while others will require in office monitoring on a regular basis.
Hints on how to do VT
Changing roles from a parent to a visual therapist is not always easy. As a parent we tell our children what to do and expect them to do it without questioning why. As a therapist we have to explain what they have to do and let them work out how to do it. They must ‘self-evaluate’ and ‘correct themselves’ rather then you telling them when they are doing it wrong.
- Read the activity sheet so that you understand what is expected of your child. In particular pay attention to the Aspects to be emphasised, at the end of the activity sheet. These are the things that we want your child to develop during that particular activity.
- Once you understand what the activity is about, then your first role as therapist is to explain that to your child. You can do this by demonstrating the activity or verbally explaining it. Before the child is to commence the activity have them repeat back to you what is expected. (What are they trying to do?)
- The child does the activity and talks to you while they are doing it. (explaining what they are doing and what is happening)
- When the child has completed the activity have them now tell you how they went and if their performance was as per expectations. If it was different – how was it different? If they are not aware what they did was not as per the instruction, have them do it again, only this time emphasising the thing that they did wrong.
- Do not change your home life to fit therapy in. Rather, change the therapy to suit your home life. In this way you will get your 30 minutes of therapy done each day but it may be broken up into lots of little bits (5-10 mins sessions). EG: you may do an activity at the dinner table after eating, while another one could be done front of the television during the advertisements etc. In this way VT will not become boring and tedious and therapy time a chore.
- For any learning experience for a child to truly be worthwhile and motivating, it must be fun. If you are tired or your child is tired, do not even attempt therapy. Far better to do it another time when the child is most able to learn rather than forcing them to do it.
- We will do regular in-office reviews to monitor how your child is going. You will need to bring your Visual Therapy program in with you. We will need your child’s recorded observation sheets. In this way we can review how your child went and identify those areas that presented more difficulty and then look at designing further therapy if needed.
- Often a child will perform better for someone else than they do for their parents. If that is the case consider asking grandparents, relatives or a friend to come in and be your child’s visual therapist.
- If it is a constant struggle to get your child to do the therapy or you are not able to get therapy done each night, please let us know. Together you can plan different strategies or approaches to solve the child’s visual problems.
- You are not alone. Remember we are only a phone call away if you need help or your child needs encouragement.