Mr. Shapiro is not a licensed optometrist or opthalmologist. He does not diagnose or treat the presence of abnormal conditions of the eye and its appendages, or the accommodative and refractive conditions of the eye: or prescribe visual training and/ or the use of scientific instruments to train the visual system. He is not licensed in the state of Colorado to do so. You should consult with and follow the instructions of an optometrist or opthalmologist when using visual training procedures.
DEVELOPMENTAL THERAPY-A RATIONALE
A great number of elementary and secondary students who have alert minds and are INTELLIGENT have major problems with reading and academic achievement. There are students who have average to above average intelligence, but who according to the U.S. Department of Education, "exhibit a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language."
While the primary approach available today for helping students is EDUCATIONAL in nature, the DEVELOPMENTAL approach offers dramatic answers for students struggling with learning and reading difficulties. Whereas most existing programs are geared towards helping the child COPEwith his or her lowered academic levels of achievement, the developmental approach aims at OVERCOMING the deficiencies!
There are of course many factors that influence learning and intelligence, but research has shown four major skill areas that must be part of a student's development in order for effective reading and school achievement to occur. They are:
Coordination skills (Motor and body coordination, essential to overall body awareness, communication between left and right hemispheres of the brain, sensory-motor integration)
Perceptual skills (Directionality, depth perception, awareness of shape, symbols, spatial judgments form likenesses, differences in letters, numbers and words, essential to math, handwriting, and spelling.)
Auditory processing skills (The ability to process what is heard, essential to following directions and sequencing.
Visual processing skills (The ability to process what is seen, the strengthening of the brain's ability to process visual information, essential to attention span, comprehension, getting a 'visual or mental picture', smooth, reading, and identifying words)
This fourth area; VISION PROCESSING, plays the most significant and vital role in reading and achievement. There is a high correlation between learning and reading difficulties and the effectiveness of the vision processing system. The ability to 'use the two eyes together as a team' comfortably and efficiently, in order to process visual information back to the brain has a direct bearing on reading and learning. Research has shown that 80-85% of learning, reading, comprehension, and spelling is based on how effectively the VISION PROCESSING SYSTEM is working! Dr. Getman, a famous developmentalist stated that "The total development and achievement of a student depends upon the degree of supervision that vision processing exercises over activities that bring about neural integration within all information processing systems."
In order for reading achievement to occur, the two eyes must work together as a 'team'. They must 'reach', or fixate to a specific point and focus on the word. Then that information must be 'grasped' and stored in the brain. The final step is for the eyes to be able to 'release' and process the information with split-second timing. The strength of this on-going function of: "reach", "grasp", and "release" is what determines how effectively a student can concentrate and pay attention, read for various lengths of time, comprehend what he reads, spell, write, and many, many other academic skills.
Another known doctor, Dr. Harmon stated that: "anybreakdown in this system results in loss of concentration, poor comprehension, and avoidance of reading." Most students having difficulties in reading and learning exhibit this inability of the brain to process visual information. In addition, this visual processing system must be integrated with the other three essential skills areas: auditory processing, perceptual and motor-coordination skills. Vision processing is the 'sum-total guiding forcebehind all movement, action, and most importantly, reading and learning achievement.'
Research is now showing that not only can these vision processing difficulties be located and measured, they can be corrected through intensive developmental exercises!
It is of course essential that any child have a routine eye exam by a qualified eye-care professional to test and correct any possible eye abnormalities that might be affecting his or her sight. Once that is accomplished, steps can then be taken to improve and enhance the visual processing, auditory processing, perceptual, and coordination skill areas that affect reading and learning. In other words, the brain can be trained to receive and utilize information more effectively. It is similar to improving in sports or musical ability. Practice in specific, guided exercises 'trains the brain' to become more efficient in that skill. Learning and reading are no different!
The goals and benefits of developmental therapy are many. According to noted doctor and leader in this field, A.M. Skeffington, "The main goal of developmental integration is to arrange conditions so that an individual can develop and reach his fullest potential". With this in mind, it is our goal at The Learning Connection to provide a program for local families as well as out-of-town families whereby a student can acquire these essential, vital skills to insure effective reading and learning achievement. The end result is LIFE-CHANGING: A student who can learn and achieve and gain the confidence to succeed not only in school, but all of life!