Behavior Vision Therapy? Do your Homework!

Vision

Here’s an excerpt from the Abstract:

Learning disabilities are complex problems that require complex solutions. Early recognition and referral to qualified educational professionals for evidence based evaluations and treatments seem necessary to achieve the best possible outcome. Most experts believe that dyslexia is a language based disorder. Vision problems can interfere with the process of learning; however, vision problems are not the cause of primary dyslexia or learning disabilities. Scientific evidence does not support the efficacy of eye exercises, behavioral vision therapy, or special tinted filters or lenses for improving the long-term educational performance in these complex pediatric neurocognitive conditions. Diagnostic and treatment approaches that lack scientific evidence of efficacy, including eye exercises, behavioral vision therapy, or special tinted filters or lenses, are not endorsed and should not be recommended.

Download Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and Vision here.

This speaks to the importance and necessity of providing parents with information about what treatments and interventions are supported by research.  There is quite a bit of misinformation out there and it may seem overwhelming for parents to try to tease apart what is good for their kids.  As clinicians , It is our job to help parents by stressing the importance of only using treatments that have been found to be effective through research.  Many of these so-called treatments that have been found to not be effective are very costly, it is a disservice to allow parents to spend valuable resources (time, money, energy) on such treatments.

3 replies
  1. Greg Stasi
    Greg Stasi says:

    Dr. Hull,
    This is a great blog. So many times the families we work with have tried several therapies and interventions that seem great in the essense that they promise quick fixes and immediate changes with their child’s behavior. However, many of these fad interventions and diets lack the scientific research to justifiy their usage. As clinicians we have to be able to justify any potential intervention or accommodation based upon what research has demonstrated to be effective and not just on the “salesmanship” of the company or individual providing the individual.

    Greg

    Reply
  2. Greg Stasi
    Greg Stasi says:

    I by no means am discounting Vision Therapy as a whole. There is good research to show that it is a valid treatment for convergence insufficiency. I am not an optometrist, nor an occupational therapist. What I am discounting it for is the treatment of learning disabilities; specifically Dyslexia.

    Dyslexia is a term that is thrown around way too often. What it is: “Dyslexia is a specific type of learning disability involving a severe impairment in reading ability which affects and disrupts a person’s language development.” Taken from Dyslexia: Research and Resource Guide (Spafford and Grosser, 1996). True “Dyslexia” is a phonological and language based disorder. It is not writing reversals or difficulty with visualspatial orientation.

    Do kids with visualspatial issues and convergence issues have difficulty reading? Absolutely…however, it is not a predominant reading disorder. The reading deficits would be considered secondary to the visual processing concerns. Would these kids benefit from some form of visual therapy? Yes.

    But….keep in mind that 95% of children with “reading deficits” demonstrate weakness with their phonological and language processing. These kids would not benefit from vision therapy but rather some specific reading/phonological based program such as Lindamood-Bell or Orton Gillingham.

    Thus, in summary. Am I “against” vision therapy? No, when used appropriately. When practitioners make blanket statements that the vision therapy can improve a child’s Dyslexia and ADHD symptoms, then I do have an issue with the therapy. Just the same way as if a psychologist is using psychoanalytic/talk-therapy to treat an individual with an anxiety disorder or depression, I would have an issue. Research has demonstrated repeatedly that Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is the most efficacious and valid treatment of choice for mood disorders. We need to stick with medically sound/researched based interventions.

    Reply

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  1. […] Teri Hull wrote a blog article a few weeks ago describing the limitations of Developmental Vision Therapy as an intervention.  […]

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