I have been so conscious recently of how a relatively minor health issue can have huge consequences for a young child in the early years of their developmental progress. If you’ve been following the blog recently, you’ll have probably heard about my daughter’s glue ear and her hearing.
Good eye health and vision is equally as important for children, especially for going back to school season. Our daughter has just joined Year 1, and to all intents and purposes she’s settling in very well. She was so excited to get back to school, and has been full of beans everyday since. In fact, she finds Saturday and Sunday a complete let down, no matter what we have planned for her.
I’m not sure if it’s dawned on her yet, but she is going to have to work a little bit harder this school year. There will be more reading, writing and number work. There will be longer periods of looking at the white board and also an increased use of computers and technology. Her eyes are going to play an important part in her learning journey now and for the rest of her school years. Print size will get smaller, study time will increase and more and more homework will be making it’s way home. She might not like school so much then!
To give her the best chance of success during her school life, we have booked her in for her first official eye test. We realised last school year that she could become very frustrated with her reading practice. She struggled to stay focused on reading her books and her behaviour would deteriorate during reading sessions. It wasn’t much fun for any of us.
Reading books have started to appear in her school bag, and we are keen for her reading skills to develop this year. If she is experiencing any issues with her eyes of vision, these difficulties could really hinder her progress during the school year.
Children don’t always know they have an issue with their eyesight, because for them it’s just normal. There are a few signals that you can look out which may mean your child’s eyes may need testing. Here’s the types of behaviours a child may show if they can’t see very well or are experiencing issues with their vision.
- Regular tired eyes, rubbing the eyes or blinking excessively
- Difficulty concentrating or short attention span
- Start to complain of headaches
- Avoid reading or similar activities altogether
- The may cover one eye to see or tilt the head to one side
- Lose their place when reading
- Forget what they have read
- Hold books to close to their face
I really want our daughter to retain her enthusiasm for school and do well in class. Who doesn’t want that for their child at the end of the day. If she began to struggle with the more formal class work that is coming her way because we missed there was an issue with her eyesight, things could go down hill very quickly.
All of a sudden being at school can become very challenging for a child, because eyesight plays such an important role in helping us to learn. A child may not be able to express the challenges they are experiencing, especially when they are very young. Instead, they may start showing more challenging behaviour in class or at home. If no one realises that the problems stem from the difficulties they are experiencing with their vision, then they may be labelled with behaviour disorders or issues unnecessarily.
All of these issues could lead to the child not performing to their potential at school and maybe becoming isolated from their regular social circles. A relatively small issue like short sightedness can soon turn into a domino effect that creates further developmental and social issues for a child.
I don’t know for sure if the issues that my daughter experiences with reading are to do with her eyesight, but we’ve decided it’s something we need to look at. If she does need glasses now, it will definitely help her to progress at school to sort that out now.
Young children who experience issues like short sightedness, will probably continue to do so through their teenage years and into adulthood. Wearing glasses is pretty cool at the moment, but as she gets older she may want to consider contact lenses or even laser eye surgery.
Whichever route we go down later, we definitely know that regular eye tests will benefit both our daughters while they are at school. More and more children are experiencing issues with their vision because of the increased use of computers and technology and reduced amount of outside activity compared to previous generations. The general consensus is that a child should receive an eye test every two years. Have you had your child’s eyes tested yet?
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