Many children diagnosed with ADHD actually have visual-processing issues, says White Plains developmental optometrist Dr. Paul Bernstein, of the Bernstein Center for
If you’re worried that your child’s struggles at school may indicate an attention-deficit problem, don’t jump to conclusions just yet, says Dr. Paul Bernstein, a
developmental optometrist in White Plains.
Many children diagnosed with ADHD actually have a visual impediment to learning, he says. “Most eye doctors — or those who are not developmental vision care specialists — check eyesight, but they don’t check the mechanics that go into that eyesight, and they
certainly don’t check the cognitive visual processing piece,” says Bernstein, founder of the Bernstein Center for Visual Performance.
Convergence insufficiency — a problem that requires extra concentration for the eyes to work in sync — is known to cause learning difficulties in children. Eye focusing and
tracking issues can also lead to struggles in school.
Kids and teens with visual processing problems often remember what they hear in the classroom, but not what they read, says Bernstein. Children who are not “visual
processors” can also be disorganized and may have trouble with certain team sports, he says
At his office, Bernstein does a test that runs about two hours, looking for key visual skills that are required to process information. “The deficiencies in these areas are
testable, diagnosable and treatable,” he says. If he finds a child would benefit from vision therapy — a type of physical therapy for the eyes and brain — sessions
can last from three to six months.
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