What is Your Learning Style?
Did you know that there are different ways of learning?
There are 3 main learning styles. Everyone is going to learn slightly differently. Knowing how you or your child learns best gives you the tools to help you to succeed.
The 3 main learning styles are:
Auditory: Learning by hearing and listening.
Visual: Learning by reading or seeing pictures.
Tactile: Learning by touching and doing.
All individuals will be a combination of each of these. You will have some ways of learning that will be easier for you and some that will be more challenging. An example would be an individual who is 65% tactile, 25% visual, and 10% auditory. So to support their most appropriate mode of learning, they should be encouraged to move and be physically involved in the learning. The auditory score being so low means that it is a struggle for this individual to learn just from someone talking or listening to something. They may have to work a lot harder to learn using only an auditory-style of learning. However if they were able to include tactile or visual aspects, this may allow for easier learning.
If this individual were listening to a lecture, and taking notes, they may struggle to retain a lot of the information being given. However, if they color code or draw pictures in their notes that may help them to better understand and remember what is being said. Then they can review the notes later and will have the visual clues in the colors and pictures added into the notes.
Do you know how you/your children learn best?
Would you like to? Click HERE to answer a 20 question Questionnaire, where there are no right or wrong answers. The website will break down what percent out of 100 you are with each of the three styles of learning.
After you finish the questionnaire the website will explain each one in more detail as well as give examples of ways to learn more efficiently. Below are a few examples of ways to utilize your preferred learning style to your benefit, by Dr. Michael W. Kirst of Stanford University.
Visual– Draw pictures and diagrams in the margins while reading and write out questions you are working on. Underling and highlight text as you read and make flashcards for studying (use different colored cards). Copy over your notes to help with recall. Preview a chapter before reading it by first looking at the pictures and section headings.
Auditory – Listen to the words you read and read aloud or talk through the information. Record lectures, tutoring and study group sessions, etc. Make up and repeat rhymes to remember facts, dates, and names. Study in groups and particulate in class discussions and debates. Have a friend or classmate quiz you on vocabulary words and recite the word and definition out loud frequently. After you read a section, summarize it out loud.
Tactile/Kinesthetic – Walk around as you read and listen to recordings of lectures and notes. Engage your fingers while studying by tracing words and re-writing sentences to learn key facts. If you have a stationary bicycle, try reading while pedaling and studying with music in the background. Try squeezing a Nerf ball or bouncing a foot on the floor.
Just because you know your learning style does not automatically mean you will be able utilize it to its fullest potential. In our office we see people with a wide range of visual difficulties. Quite a few of our patients could be primarily visual learners due to the way their brain is wired. However if the eyes are not working quite right it can greatly impact the ability to learn at the highest potential.
Irlen / Colored Lenses
What are Irlen Lenses?
The term Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome (SSS), also known as Irlen Syndrome, was introduced by Helen Irlen, M.A., to describe a perceptual dysfunction related to “subjective difficulties with light, luminance, intensity, wavelength, and color contrast.” Essentially this means difficulty processing color and contrast changes such as black print on a white background. Irlen claims approximately 50% of the reading disability and dyslexic populations have this syndrome. According to Irlen, individuals with this condition must use more effort and energy when reading because they are inefficient readers who see the printed page differently from the good reader. She suggests a large number of these individuals can be successfully treated using tinted lenses called “Irlen Lenses.”
Irlen Syndrome or a Functional Visual Issue?
Optometrists have brought up a number of concerns about patients that are considered candidates for Irlen Syndrome. The first issue centers around the screening method used for diagnosis to determine symptoms. Results are remarkably similar to symptoms associated with a binocular vision (eye teaming), accommodative (eye focusing), and ocular motility (eye coordination) disorder as defined by the COVD Quality of Life Questionnaire. Reading symptoms associated with both Irlen Syndrome and a functional visual issue include: headaches, eyestrain, excessive blinking & rubbing of the eyes, squinting, fluctuating blur, intermittent double vision, movement of words on a page, loss of place, skipping and re-reading lines.
A study performed by Scheiman, OD et al. reported 95% of subjects identified as good candidates for Irlen filters had identifiable visual issues. However, Irlen Syndrome is described by Irlen advocates as a diagnosis unrelated to any visual issue. Attempts have been made to direct Irlen candidates to an eye examination prior to Irlen diagnostic testing. The study by Scheiman, OD et al investigated this and found 57% of their subjects had some form of eye care and were told their vision is “normal” in spite of binocular vision (eye teaming), accommodative (eye focusing), and ocular motility (eye coordination) issues being present. This is where a referral to an appropriate vision care provider is important. Unfortunately some eye care professionals are not including binocular, accommodative and oculomotor testing into their eye examination and without testing for these visual issues, individuals will not receive the necessary vision therapy to address their problems.
The Need for a Functional / Binocular Vision Examination and Vision Therapy
From this research it’s evident many individuals with undiagnosed functional-based visual issues are seeking treatment with Irlen filters. These patients need a proper binocular vision examination to rule out visual issues that are likely interfering with school and life. Another study by Blaskey, Scheiman, et al identified all subjects in the Irlen filter subject group reported a reduction in symptoms and improved comfort, however they still had “clinically significant vision anomalies after treatment with Irlen filters.”
This study also included subjects treated with Vision Therapy and found significant overall improvements to the extent that those who were previously determined as a candidate for Irlen lenses (by Irlen survey), then scored below the level where they would be considered a candidate.
Another interesting finding reported was a combination of Irlen filters after successful Vision Therapy resulted in additional benefits. The reason for this remains uncertain, but this details the importance of collaboration among health care professionals ensuring the child/patient receives the best care possible.
How our Examinations are Different
At Nebraska Visual Integration Center we see patients for a myriad of functional-based visual issues. These visual issues are often not identified during a routine or general eye examination. A general eye examination will typically consist of an assessment of eye health and eye sight. These are two very important aspects of vision care, but further testing is needed to determine performance of the visual system and how it can impact classroom performance. Deficits in binocular (eye teaming), accommodation (eye focusing), and oculomotor coordination (eye control) must be identified. At our office we are dedicated to providing the best functional vision care to allow each patient to perform at their maximum potential in school, work, and life.
How Can we Help?
Please contact our Omaha Vision Therapy office at (402) 502-0043 or email: [email protected] with any questions. More information can be found at our Website and Facebook. We’d be happy to explain how our process of vision care is different and how we can help you / your child.
We all can benefit from more efficient vision.
Certain individuals will especially benefit from this type of care such as:
- Those who use their near vision a great deal at work or school such as those that spend many hours every day on a computer, reading small print, examining small objects, ect.
- Students who have been diagnosed as ‘learning disabled’
- Individuals who have suffered from brain injury or other head trauma
- People who are myopic (nearsighted), hyperopic (farsighted), have astigmatism, and/or have presbyopia (similar to farsightedness that begins usually after the age of 40)
- Anyone interested in improving their vision naturally
Will I have to do vision therapy forever?
No. Once your eye muscles and visual system have been reeducated, they remember their new skills and automatically use them all the time.
Can I wear glasses to avoid vision therapy?
Usually, no. This is not a seeing or eyesight problem, but an eye muscle problem –a problem controlling the eye muscles that usually can’t be helped by eyeglasses alone.
What is computer vision syndrome (CVS)?
It’s a condition recognized by the American Optometric Association that affects users of computer monitors and causes eye strain symptoms, such as blurred vision, dry or burning eyes, delayed focusing and headaches. It can arise from failure of the eye muscles to work properly.
Vision therapy –like a physical therapy for the Eyes and Brain
Vision Therapy is a highly effective non-surgical treatment for many common visual problems such as lazy eye (amblyopia), crossed eyes (strabismus), double vision, convergence insufficiency and many reading and learning disabilities. Many patients who have been told, “it’s too late” or “you’ll have to learn to live with it” have benefited from vision therapy. Eyes that are too tired to read after dinner, feeling sleepy when reading, reading too slowly and afraid to drive at night are just a few of the many reasons adults decide to improve their vision through vision therapy.
Feeling eyestrain and the need to do visual exercises is becoming more relevant these days with the dramatic onset of computer use, and overall close-up work required daily for students and professionals. Visual exercises help maintain healthy vision, reduce or eliminate the effects of eyestrain, and ultimately help to preserve eyesight. In the case of learning disabilities and attention problems, vision therapy is specifically directed toward resolving visual problems that interfere with reading, learning and educational instruction.
What is accommodation?
The ability of the eyes to focus clearly and sustain focus on objects of various distance.
What is convergence?
The aiming of the eyes inward toward an object.
What is fusion?
The process by which what is seen separately, by each eye, is integrated into a single perception.
What is stereopsis?
The learned ability to perceive relative depth– due to each eye having a different vantage point– commonly called 3D vision or depth perception.
Is Eye Strain from Binocular Vision Problems related to Learning Difficulties?
Often, yes. Children who tire easily from eye muscle problems have a greater workload when reading or using a computer. This additional load may make it harder for them to learn. Read more on our Vision and Learning page.
What is vision therapy?
Vision Therapy it is a program of therapeutic activities designed for improving visual function including eye movement coordination, accommodation (eye focusing), binocular fusion (eye teaming) and visualization. It works on the eye-brain connections involved in visual coordination and visual processing and consists of a series of visual, and visual sensory-motor activities of progressive difficulty, performed several times a week until symptoms are resolved and a more efficient visual system is developed.
Who needs vision therapy?
People who have eye muscle problems that cause eye strain symptoms- such as blurred vision, headaches, fatigue, concentration difficulty- including computer vision syndrome and vision-related learning problems as well as people who want to get more done with less energy, less effort, and more efficiency.
Why does this happen?
Our eyes are not made to fixate on two-dimensional written pages or computer screens for hours at a time. Our eyes are more geared for distance vision activities, and the constant demand of near work puts stress on the eyes leading to a less than efficient visual system.
How much time do I have to spend doing vision therapy?
That depends on how quickly your eye muscles and your visual system can learn the needed skills. A Vision Therapy treatment program can last anywhere from a few months to nearly a year depending on the severity of the vision problem as well as patient motivation and compliance. In most cases, significant benefits can be seen in a less than month.
At Nebraska Visual Integration Center we dedicate all of our time in helping patients of all ages with visual issues that impact their lives. We are proud to offer Vision Therapy to the Omaha, Council Bluffs and surrounding metro areas. Please contact our office at (402) 502-0043 or email [email protected] with any questions or to see if an evaluation is necessary to determine if Vision Therapy can help you.
This article is adapted from Learning Magazine
Written By: Mitchell Scheiman, OD, FCOVD
Richard, a 12-year old in your 7th grade class, is a verbal child. From what you’ve seen early in the year, you expect him to be an above average student. But gradually, you realize that he is struggling just to maintain average grades. Looking at his past records, you see the same pattern: strong language and verbal skills, but marginal performance. As you try to figure out what could be wrong, you notice that Richard is easily distracted. He almost never completes in-class silent reading assignments and consequently does poorly on answering the follow up questions. On homework, if the task is creative writing, he does well. But if he has to read for understanding, he seems lost.Watching more closely, you also notice that Richard often rubs his eyes when he’s reading. Sometimes he complains that he has a headache or tired eyes.
Visual Efficiency Problems
Richard’s behavior is characteristic of a child with an undetected vision problem. And there are many Richards. Experts estimate that 10% to 15% of school-age children have vision problems significant enough to interfere with academic performance. For children with learning problems, the figures are as high as 30% to 60%. And many of these children have passed the annual school vision screening with flying colors.Do you have a student with an undetected vision problem? The charts on the next two pages may help you discover why a student you think should be doing fine is failing. If one of your students exhibits some of these symptoms, make sure he gets tested by a professional as soon as possible. Help that could dramatically improve his school performance is available.These kinds of sight problems interfere with a child’s ability to clearly and comfortably see and take in information for sustained periods of time. Many of these problems don’t surface until the upper elementary grades or junior high, when children are required to cover significantly more reading material. Visual efficiency problems include nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and problems with focusing, tracking and eye teaming. Nearsightedness is the condition most commonly detected by the traditional school vision screening. But nearsighted children tend to be some of the best readers, and the traditional screening doesn’t necessarily identify any of the other problems.
Vision and Learning
Most people think that a child who has passed the annual school vision screening has “good vision” and can see the board and his textbooks clearly.Unfortunately, this is a serious misconception because the traditional school eye exam doesn’t test aspects of vision required for reading. And sadly, the perception that everything’s okay can mask significant learning-related vision problems.The key to understanding the relationship between vision and learning is realizing that vision is more than just being able to see the letters on the 20/20 line of a chart placed 20 feet away. Visual problems can be divided into two broad categories – visual efficiency and visual processing.
The inability to clearly see things in the distance
- Gets close to board
The inability to clearly see closeup things
- Rubs eyes
- Has watery eyes
- Complains of blurred vision
This condition causes blurred vision for distant and closeup things
- Complains of blurred vision
- Holds book at close distance
Eye Teaming disorders (Binocular Vision)
A variety of conditions in which the eyes tend to drift inward, outward, or upward
- Has intermittent double vision
- Closes or covers one eye
- Says letters or words appear to move
- Loses place
- Is inattentive
- Rubs eyes
- Has watery eyes
- Has poor reading comprehension
Eye Focusing disorders (Accommodation)
The inability to contract or relax the eye focusing muscles to allow for clear, stable vision
- Has blurred vision when looking from board to book or book to board
- Holds things very close
- Has headaches when reading
- Is tired at the end of the day
- Is inattentive
- Rubs eyes
- Has watery eyes
- Complains of blurred vision
- Has poor reading comprehension
Eye Tracking disorders (Saccadic Dysfunction)
Inadequate ability to scan along a line of print and move the eyes from one point in space to another
- Moves head excessively when reading
- Loses place frequently
- Skips lines when reading
- Uses finger to keep place
- Has poor reading comprehension
- Has short attention span
Visual Processing Problems
These problems have to do with the child making sense of incoming visual information. They include difficulty with laterality, directionality, visual form perception, visual memory, and visual motor integration.In contrast to visual efficiency disorders, many of which surface in the middle grades, visual processing problems tend to sabotage learning for children in the early grades even kindergartners. Children with visual processing problems may be difficult to teach because they fail to understand and grasp basic concepts and ideas.
Visual Issues Impact Learning
Directionality and Laterality Problems
Poor development right/left awareness
- Has trouble learning right and left
- May read either left to right or right to left
- Reverses letters and words
- Has trouble writing and remembering letters and numbers
Faulty Visual Form Perception
The inability to discriminate among different shapes
- Confuses likenesses and minor differences
- Mistakes words with similar beginnings
- Can’t recognize the same word repeated on a page
- Can’t recognize letters or even simple forms
- Can’t distinguish the main idea from insignificant details
- Has trouble learning the alphabet recognizing math facts, and learning basic math concepts of size, magnitude, and position
Faulty Visual Memory
Inability to remember what is seen
- Has trouble visualizing what is read
- Has poor comprehension skills
- Has trouble learning new material
- Is a poor speller
- Has poor recall of visually presented material
- Has trouble with tasks that require more than one step
- Has trouble with math concepts
- Has trouble with sight vocabulary
Faulty Visual Motor Integration
The inability to process and reproduce visual images by writing or drawing
- Has sloppy writing and drawing skills
- Can’t space letters or stay on lines
- Has poor copying skills
- Erases excessively
- Can respond orally but not in writing
- Seems to know material but does poorly on tests
A full evaluation by a professional who has the expertise to test for both visual efficiency and visual processing disorders is the only way to detect some vision problems. When one of these hidden problems does exist, treatment involving eyeglasses, vision therapy, or both can correct it. Glasses are generally effective for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. They can also correct some types of focusing and eye teaming disorders. In fact, 85% to 90% of people with vision problems are treated with glasses. However, the other 10% to 15% require vision therapy. This therapeutic approach involves a series of treatments that includes using special instruments and activities under close supervision.The education and clinical training of optometrists stresses both eye health and eye function. This makes them uniquely qualified to detect and treat vision problems that interfere with school performance.To find an optometrist qualified to treat learning-related vision problems, visit the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) at www.covd.org. COVD can provide a list of its fellows in any area of the United States.It is important to understand that optometrists don’t specifically treat reading or learning problems. But along with extra help or tutoring from parents and teachers, an optometrist can correct the vision problems that may be blocking the possibility of learning.
Nebraska Visual Integration Center is a Vision Therapy office in Omaha, Nebraska that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of visual efficiency (visual skills) and visual processing issues that impact school and learning. If you think you or your child may have a hidden visual issue impacting learning, please contact our office at (402) 502-0043 or email at [email protected] We enjoy seeing lives change by taking care of visual issues that block learning and we would love to help you.
WHAT IS A BRAIN INJURY?
An Acquired Brain Injury is an insult to the brain. It can result from trauma to the head, stroke, or neurological dysfunction. This may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness and may result in impairment in cognitive abilities, sensory processing and/or physical function. Impairments may be mild or severe; most are amenable to rehabilitation. A concussion is medically defined as a mild form of brain injury, but often times the symptoms and issues are not so mild. A concussion will typically not be detected by standard brain scans, but that does not mean there was no damage or disruption to brain functioning.
CONCUSSION AND VISION
HIDDEN VISUAL PROBLEMS
Visual problems resulting from concussion and more severe brain injury are often overlooked during initial treatment of the injury. Frequently these problems are hidden and neglected, lengthening rehabilitation and impairing full recovery. Vision is one of the most important sources of sensory information, consisting of a sophisticated complex of subsystems involving the flow and processing of information to the brain. Because there is a close relationship between vision and the brain, a concussion will often disrupt the visual process, interfering with the acquisition and processing of information, and resulting is a brain-based vision problem. These problems go beyond normal eyesight and impact many life skills.
Symptoms indicating a neurological vision problem following concussion are:
Tired, achy eye
Headaches with visual tasks
Loss of visual field/peripheral vision
Difficulty with balance, vertigo, car sickness
Sensitivity to light, photophobia
Reading difficulties; words appear to move
Attention and concentration difficulty
Difficulty with memory
Good visual skills are necessary for efficient information processing. When there is a deficiency in processing visual information, one may “try harder,” thus straining without even knowing it as the effort is subconscious. If the visual system is inefficient, every task can seem difficult, using more energy than required.
Visual skills affected by Concussion and Brain Injury include:
Tracking: the ability of the eye to move smoothly across a printed page or while following a moving object.
Fixation: quickly and accurately locating and inspecting a series of stationary objects, such as words while reading.
Focus change: looking quickly from far too near and back without blur or delay.
Depth perception: judging distance of objects – how far or near they are relative to self.
Peripheral vision: monitoring and interpreting what is happening in the surrounding field of vision.
Binocularity: using both eyes together as a team – smoothly, equally and accurately- allowing for appropriate distance spatial estimates and depth.
Sustained attention: keeping focused on a particular activity while interference, such as noise, may be present.
Visualization: accurately picturing images in the “mind’s eye,” and storing them for future recall in cognitive processing.
Near vision acuity: clearly seeing, inspecting, identifying and understanding objects viewed within arm’s length.
Distance acuity: clearly seeing, inspecting, identifying and understanding objects viewed at a distance.
Visual perception: gathering appropriate information from what is seen allowing for accurate understanding and meaning
OPTOMETRY AND CONCUSSION REHABILITATION
Few in the health care professions, including head trauma rehabilitation centers, are adequately aware of visual problems resulting from Concussion and Acquired Brain Injury and the visual-perception consequences. Unfortunately, this creates a gap in rehabilitative services, resulting in incomplete treatment and frustration for the patient, as well as the family and treatment team. The vision care professional can play an incredibly important role in the rehabilitation effort. Through vision rehabilitation therapy, an optometrist specifically trained to work with concussion and brain injury patients can help improve the acquisition and processing of information between the eyes and the brain. Vision therapy can be very practical and effective. After examination and consultation, the optometrist determines how a person processes information after an injury and where that person’s strengths and weaknesses lie. The optometrist then prescribes a treatment regimen of vision therapy incorporating lenses, prisms, and specific activities designed to improve control of a person’s visual system and increase visual efficiency. This in turn can help support many other activities in daily living and allow for optimal rehabilitation.
WHAT IS NEURO-OPTOMETRY
Neuro-optometry is based on the core principle that vision is a learned process and can be rehabilitated at any age following concussion or brain injury. Eye doctors working with concussion and brain injury patients have advanced education in the use of lenses, prisms, and vision therapy to enhance a patient’s visual capabilities, reduce visual stress, prevent and rehabilitate vision problems. As a member of the rehabilitative team, neuro-optometrists have extensive experience treating the vision problems stemming from concussion and brain injury.
Nebraska Visual Integration Center is a specialty vision care office in Omaha that provides vision therapy / rehabilitation to patients following concussion and brain injury. Our eye doctors have extensive training in providing the best rehabilitative vision therapy to patients of all ages. Dr. Gates serves as the Director of Vision Rehabilitation at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals and is a rehabilitative optometric consultant to various other brain injury rehabilitation centers in the Omaha and Lincoln area.
If you or a loved one has suffered a Concussion or Brain Injury and may have undiagnosed neurological vision problems, please contact our office at (402) 502-0043 or email [email protected] so we can provide the necessary information to begin the steps to vision rehabilitation recovery.