Does Your Child Have an Undiagnosed Vision Problem?

by Lizzy Parker

Few would guess that Alex has, age nine, has a visual dysfunction. He is the best reader in his fourth grade classroom and loves to borrow books from the library.
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Yesterday afternoon, when Alex came back home from school, after throwing his knapsack at the entrance of the house, taking a quick snack and a cup of cold orange juice, he waved bye bye to me and went straight to the public library to sit in his little “haven”. After sinking to the floor, leaning against a bookcase, and facing the blank wall, he buries his nose in the books and nothing in this world can move him from there for at least one hour.

He loves it at the library because it’s quiet, he doesn’t need to squint or get headaches. Also, they have full-spectrum light bulbs in the ceiling, in contrast to the flickering fluorescent lights in the classrooms and all the noise in the background at school. Here, in his quiet corner, there is no sunlight glimmering through the blinds, nor does she have other side bothersome noises.

In the classroom, on the other hand, it’s so very hard for him:

There is a truck going down the street, birds singing on the tree below, the teacher of the class next door is screaming at one of the kids really loud. With all those distractions he looses focus on what the teacher is saying.

Then, of course, the sunlight goes in a specific angle that makes it really hard for him to see the board. The fluorescent lights are a continual strain on his eyes. Sometimes he wishes that someone would just shut them off.

I love Alex. He’s a great kid. I wish that someone would force the teachers to take a course in which they have to sit in the students’ places for a month and ‘feel their difficulties’ so that they could better understand them. Perhaps then they would be more pleasant to Alex.

Vision and hearing are two very important senses, but let’s just expand on the vision angle for this article:

The visual system a complex sensory system that enables us to identify sights, anticipate what is coming at us, and prepare an appropriate response. Through vision we track movements so we can protect ourselves. We use sight to guide and direct our actions so we can interact with our environment, socialize with others, and learn new information.

The stimulus that triggers vision is light or a change in light. For example, when we go to the eye doctor, he checks our eyes is by directing a light at them and making it go on and off or stronger and weaker as needed.

Vision allows us to process information in time and space and to do so very quickly. “A picture is worth a thousand words” is a very cute saying, but it is a gross understatement. Words can never capture what vision can. Also, language is sequential. One word follows the other until you hear the complete statement. Vision is instantaneous. You see everything with one glance.

We are born with sight. We develop vision. As we grow we learn to make sense of what we see through experience, which is the basis of all learning. We learn to integrate vision with our other senses to provide us a complex picture of our environment. This is called sensory integration.

The ability to smell freshly baked onion rolls and know what they look and taste like, is the happy result of sensory integration.

Our well integrated senses give us so many happy childhood memories. These are memories that I will cherish forever. These are memories that I want Alex to have.


    Anthony Kane, MD

      P S Please leave a comment because I would really like to get your reaction to this.

        If you would like to have a quick step-by-step plan on how to end your child’s difficult behavior forever and your child is between the ages of 2 and 11:

          Please go to:

          How to Improve Your Child’s Behavior

          Our children are growing up in a different world than we did. They have cell phone, ipads, computer games, etc. We didn’t have these things growing up.

          But even with older children and teens we must make sure that we set limits. We need to monitor the amount of time spent with gadgets, the types of computer games they play, the shows they watch, and the sites they visit.

          There are external controls that can limit what our children see, Yet, it is better if you child learns to monitor himself.

          Your child must respect and follow the limits you set
          Computers need to be in public places
          Cellphones are turned in at night to the parents

          As your child demonstrates he’s responsible to follow the rules, you can give more independence.

          Please share this article.

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          part 1

          Things to Look For

          These are few things that could tell you if your child suffers from touch sensitivity:

          • Your child has strong reactions to sensations that other people tend to ignore.
          • Your child is easily distracted by things that touch him and bother him.
          • Your child tries to avoid being touched.
          • He insists that all the labels and tags from his clothing be cut off.
          • He insists on wearing certain fabrics while having an aversion to others.
          • He quarrels with you while you are doing regular things such as clipping his nails, washing his hair, etc.
          • He avoids certain foods because of the way they ‘feel’.
          • He likes sensations that he views to be calming, and these could include firm pressure or rocking.

          The mouth, the tongue, the palms, and the soles, are amongst the most sensitive regions in people who suffer from this condition in children and adults alike.

          Common Coexisting Disorders:

          This condition is indeed problematic. While touch sensitivity can occur on its own, it is often a part of a more complex set of problems that a child a facing. Children who suffer from touch sensitivity can also have any of the following disorders:

          • Bed wetting
          • Problems with motor coordination
          • Difficulties with motor planning
          • Difficulties in ‘hand eye’ coordination
          • Allergies
          • Delays in speech & language
          • Bad eating habits
          • Recurrent ear infections
          • Emotional insecurity
          • High anxiety levels
          • Sleep disorders
          • Digestive problems

          Also, there are a number of other disorders wherein touch sensitivity is also a component.

          These include:

          • ADHD
          • Bipolar Disorder
          • Autism
          • Down Syndrome
          • Asperger’s Syndrome
          • Dyslexia
          • Selective Mutism
          • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
          • Learning Disabilities
          • Pervasive Developmental Delay
          • Fragile X
          • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

          The Cause of Touch Sensitivity:

          As with most disorders that are linked to our complex neurological systems, not much is known about why adults and children suffer from various sensory integration disorders. When, in the field of medicine, the cause of something remains unknown, the cause is termed to be idiopathic. This is simply an ancient way of saying ‘we don’t really know’.

          We, as scientists, get very uncomfortable when we do not know the reason behind something. This has resulted in a number of theories surrounding what are the different things that can cause our sensory processing to work haphazardly.

          At least 5 different hypotheses about this topic are already in place, the most recent of which suggests that an abnormality in the cerebellum (the part of the brain that works in modulating motor sensory activity) can cause this condition. While some of these theories might hold some ground, recent developments have only gone on to show that this field still remains idiopathic.

          What Next?
          This condition is a result of a sensory motor integration deficit. The goal in treating this condition is to try and fix the disorder by giving the sufferer a way to develop his sensory integration. The therapy’s goal should be to bring about a normalcy in motor planning and sensory integration by improving how the nervous system works in registering and interpreting information relating to touch.

          Touch sensitivity treatment is mostly carried out by trained occupational therapists. If you think that your child might suffer from this condition, it is important that you get the diagnosis done by someone who is trained and qualified in identifying problems relating to sensory integration.

          Consulting your pediatrician first is suggested and you can then get referred to a Pediatric Occupational Therapist for the diagnosis as well as the treatment. He would then take over the treatment plan for your child and would also tell you about things that you can do to help your child at home.

          Remember that while touch sensitivity is only one amongst the many sensory motor integration deficits that can affect children, it can also occur along with conditions such as Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, etc.

          While statistics are unclear, sensory integration disorders do seem to be quite common. While this condition can appear to be quite handicapping, you should know that it can often be treated.

          If you think that your child might suffer from this condition, it is important that he is taken for a complete evaluation that is conducted by a trained motor planning and sensory integration therapist.

          Please share this article.

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            Anthony Kane, MD
              P S Please leave a comment because I would really like to get your reaction to this.

                If you would like to have a quick step-by-step plan on how to end your child's difficult behavior forever and your child is between the ages of 2 and 11:

                  Please go to:

                  How to Improve Your Child's Behavior

                  The current trend in parenting is to encourage freedom and exploration unhampered by negative feedback. With that in mind things like yelling or spanking are politically incorrect.

                  In this new article the author relates her experiences growing up under a mother who was a yeller. While the author doesn’t go so far as to praise yelling, she points out that looking back at the results, yelling has had its benefits.

                  You can read this somewhat contrarian article at:

                  Yelling at Kids

                  Please share this article.

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                  About 30% of children with ADHD also have some form of reading disorder, such as dyslexia. Recently, a study was done to examine whether or not ADHD treatment helped these children with their reading problems. The study was funded by the pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly and Company and was done using their flagship product, Strattera.

                  In this 16 week study compared two groups of ADHD children. The first group consisted of 20 children with ADHD who had no diagnosed reading disorder. The second group consisted of 36 ADHD children who also had a diagnosed reading disability.

                  After taking Strattera for 16 weeks, both groups of patients showed almost 50% improvement in their ADHD symptoms like inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Additionally, children who had a reading disorder jumped two years in reading skills from their level before the study.

                  Interestingly, the children without reading disabilities also improved their reading skills by almost a year and a half. Both groups improved both in reading ability and in reading comprehension.

                  In addition, both groups made gains in spelling ability. The ADHD group jumped almost nine months and the group who had a reading disorder along with ADHD jumped almost 10 months.

                  This study is significant for a number of reasons. First of all, up to 30% of ADHD children also have reading disabilities. While there is no real evidence that having a reading disorder makes a child’s ADHD symptoms any worse, it definitely has a negative impact of school performance. The study also shows that even if your child does not have a known reading disability, treating his ADHD may still improve his reading ability significantly.

                  The results of the study were not all good, however. A number of children had side effects from taking the medication, though none of them serious. Yet Strattera is known to cause some serious side effects, including abnormal mood fluctuations and even suicidal thoughts.

                  Defiant Child Disrespectful Child

                  The results of this study suggest that a child’s ADHD interferes with the child’s normal ability to read.

                  I say this because even children with no known reading disability were able to make significant gains in reading level just by receiving treatment for their ADHD. If this is true then it should not matter how you treat the ADHD, as long as you do something to treat it.

                  With that in mind, significant improvements in reading ability should occur when you use other treatments for ADHD, such as Ritalin, other stimulants, or even natural ADHD treatments. Since no one has yet to investigate the use of other treatments for treating ADHD and reading disorders, no one can say for sure whether or not this speculation is true.

                  All that we really know so far about the connection of ADHD and reading disorders is that in one small study, ADHD children both with and without reading disabilities were able to make significant gains in their reading level when their ADHD was treated. This study points out that it is extremely important to treat ADHD and that such treatment should help school performance.

                  Please share this article.

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                  When are Tantrums Abnormal?


                    Anthony Kane, MD
                      P S Please leave a comment because I would really like to get your reaction to this.

                        If you would like to have a quick step-by-step plan on how to end your child's difficult behavior forever and your child is between the ages of 2 and 11:

                          Please go to:

                          How to Improve Your Child's Behavior