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August is National Children's Vision and Learning Month



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Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals 2008 NFC West Champions' wide receiver, has joined The College of Optometrists in Vision Development in its annual campaign for National Children's Vision and Learning Month. The campaign educates parents on the steps they can take to ensure their children aren't struggling with reading and learning because of undiagnosed vision problems. Fitzgerald says one of the keys to his success was having vision therapy as a child. At a young age, he had a vision problem that made it difficult to pay attention in school. His grandfather, a developmental optometrist, diagnosed the vision problem and the appropriate treatment. According to a report from the New Jersey Commission on Business Efficiency of the Public School, "undiagnosed and untreated vision-related learning problems are significant contributors to early reading difficulties and ultimately to special education classification."

COVD says it is estimated that more than 60 percent of problem learners have undiagnosed vision problems contributing to their difficulties. The five most common signs a vision problem may be interfering with your child's ability to read and learn are that he:

1. skips lines, rereads lines; 2. has poor reading comprehension; 3. takes much longer doing homework than he should take; 4. reverses the letters b and d when reading; 5. has a short attention span with reading and school work.

Any one of these symptoms may signal a possible vision problem and warrants a visit with an optometrist. Not all eye doctors test for learning-related vision problems, so parents should ask two important questions of the potential care-giver: "Do you test for learning-related vision problems?" and "Do you provide an in-office vision therapy program when indicated, or will you refer me to someone who does?" If the answer is "no" to either, visit www.covd.org to find a developmental optometrist near you.

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