Some parents and teachers may assume that if a child skips words or sentences when reading, they aren’t trying hard enough. It may seem like the child is distracted, rushing, or jumping over the small words as a sign of impatience. That may be the case, as learning to read is complex and full of challenges, but sometimes these behaviors point to something deeper.
Oculomotor dysfunction occurs in the absence of automatic, controlled, and coordinated eye movements. At Mountainview, we use vision therapy to help children and adults improve eye tracking and enjoy the many benefits that come from better coordination between the brain and the eyes!
Oculomotor dysfunction causes the eyes to move irregularly. Accurate coordination between the brain and the eyes create a coordinated path between eye “fixations” on a line of text, and decoding information from that text, while those who have oculomotor dysfunction often have trouble fixating their eyes at the right intervals and in the right places. This is one reason why children may skip over small words and phrases.
The good news is that most deficits in our brain’s ability to coordinate eye movements can be improved with vision therapy. Working with our patients according to their needs and interests, we use a variety of methods to promote better eye tracking and fixation. This frequently involves different games and visual challenges, using a variety of specialized tools, as well as guidance from our highly trained staff.
With practice and consistency, improved eye movements come gradually until the task becomes effortless and automatic for the patient. In the absence of other underlying difficulties, you may find that your child soon excels at reading!