Conclusion: More to School than Meets the Eye

There is more to school than reading a book, writing a paragraph, or solving a math equation. What about all those sometimes forgotten skills that help us to be successful as we take notes, follow directions, play a game, take a test or interact with classmates? These abilities cannot be ignored no matter if the student is primarily an auditory, visual or kinesthetic learner. I have learned that since the eyes take in the information and the brain makes sense of what it sees, the visual system is of high importance. 


General School Difficulties

  • Having efficient speed/accuracy/ memory needed to copy from the board to their paper
  • Forgetting which way was right or left when playing games
  • Mixing up cardinal directions
  • Following multistep directions
  • General ability to process information and remember it
  • Wearing shoes on the wrong feet
  • Proper organization of school supplies/work
  • Needing to touch everything to know how it feels



Education and Vision Therapy

I am sad when I think of my students who lost confidence to do their work correctly and retreated into themselves. I also had students do the opposite, who acted out behaviorally because doing the work was so hard for them. Staying at either end of the spectrum for too long is not a place we want a child to be. Something that vision therapy offers is the chance to be in an environment where making mistakes is okay. During vison therapy we learn and grow in multiple ways at each session. While working on eye focusing skills we learn patience. We teach our eyes to work as a team, while being a part of a team that encourages each other to do our best. Our eye tracking abilities improve while we push ourselves. We gain spatial awareness and appreciate the body God gave us. A positive attitude helps foster and encourage our visual thinking skills. As a former classroom teacher and current vision therapist, I am blessed to continue my work of helping others learn more than classroom skills, but life skills as well. 

Part 4: Math is More than just Numbers

Math is usually one of those subjects you absolutely love or totally despise. Although math was never one of my favorite subjects when I was a student, as a teacher I grew to appreciate the various processes, tools, songs and hands-on ways to make learning more fun. Visually it can be cumbersome to understand how mathematical concepts work and are related. This doesn’t even include the act of reading, interpreting, and correctly writing the problem to find a solution which is a more advanced skill. Since the basic levels of math require number recognition, some students who struggle with math have difficulties starting at this level. Perhaps their difficulties begin when they have to use spatial awareness to write the numbers down in a certain way, or draw a visual representation of the mathematical work they are doing so that it makes sense. Math is a subject where you need to master one skill before moving onto the next level. In third grade this was made obvious as we progressed from mastering multi digit addition and subtraction, to learning how to multiply, to introducing division. 


Common Math Difficulties

  • Writing numerical answers in the correct order/place value (ex. Understanding 123 is very different from 321)
  • Recognizing patterns in numbers, counting
  • Skip counting
  • Lining up numbers correctly to solve problems
  • Following the appropriate steps to solve a problem
  • Clockwise/Counter clockwise
  • Symmetry of geometric shapes (ex. Drawing the rest of the picture so the sides match)
  • Memorizing math facts
  • Being able to read a word problem, understand what it is saying, and find a way to solve
  • Drawing a visual to solve a word problem 
  • Concepts of measurement such as weight/size/ distance/ length



Math and Vision Therapy

I have done several activities so far as a vision therapist that help promote visual awareness, memory, processing speed, seeing things from a different perspective, and patterns. Spatial awareness activities can include orientation, number order, and require a person to solve any problems that come up while working. One activity we use to promote visual logic is a version of tic-tac-toe where the patient cannot see the board and has to plan and visualize each move in their head, much like planning for how to solve a math problem. Working through these vision therapy exercises could promote mathematical growth as well as numerous other brain skills. While vision therapy doesn’t strive to teach math skills, it helps improve the child’s conceptual understanding of math through numerical literacy and visual thinking. It’s exciting to know so many areas of the brain can be enhanced at the same time.