TAMPA (FOX 13) -More than 25 percent of children struggle with reading. A new, innovative approach is helping solve this troubling problem. How this simple test is changing lives is “What’s Right with Tampa Bay.”
Nine-year-old Savannah Stevens felt like reading was confusing. Words in a book were hard for her to distinguish.
“She was slow reading. She had a very difficult time tracking words from lines to the next line to the next line,” said Savannah’s mom Catherine Stevens.
Catherine took Savannah to get an eye test, and her sight was fine — which was good and bad news at the same time.
“It was a little bit frustrating. We were kind of at a dead end, thinking maybe it was attention, issues with attention,” Catherine said.
She then went to Dr. Jeanne Howes, a school psychologist who helps kids with learning disabilities.
“Many times they are misdiagnosed and placed in special ed classes, when in fact they don’t need special ed,” Howes said.
What they do need, according to Dr. Edward Huggett, is a special set of glasses to help with a problem called binocular vision.
It’s a muscle imbalance in the eye that makes it hard to focus on words.
“It does affect their self-esteem so that a child thinks that they are dumb, that they are non-intelligent, that there is something wrong with them,” Huggett said..
Some experts are now calling on schools to offer students more extensive eye exams.
“They’re not fixing what the real problem is, and that is a vision-related learning problem. And it can only be fixed through an eye exam and glasses,” Howes said.
Now that she has her special glasses, Savannah is much happier.
“I’m not skipping lines anymore or stuff like that,” she says.
Doctor Huggett believes one in four kids have binocular vision. Earlier this year, he participated in a pilot program to help kids with reading vision problems.
For more information: http://www.clearsolutionsforreading.com