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NeuroTree Reveals How Hidden Visual Skills Can Affect Learning in Children

SINGAPORE – Media OutReach Newswire – 26 March 2024 – Recent research showcased in Frontiers in Education unveils a previously overlooked influence on reading development: the crucial role of eye movements. This study disrupts conventional models of reading proficiency, which have traditionally omitted considerations for eye tracking, accentuating the potential of eye movement patterns not only to signal a child’s reading prowess but also to forecast potential challenges in reading.

Performing eye tracking speed and accuracy at NeuroTree
Performing eye tracking speed and accuracy at NeuroTree

In a distinct investigation featured in Nature, the effectiveness of eye-tracking training took center stage, aiming to amplify learning and memory among primary school students contending with learning difficulties inclusive of autism and ADHD. The findings highlighted substantial improvements in memory retention and learning speed among the group that underwent supplementary eye-tracking training.

It is generally assumed that having healthy eyes equates to efficient eye-tracking skills. However, NeuroTree, a developmental practice, recognizes the intricate connection between vision and learning. Going beyond traditional eyesight tests, it provides detailed visual processing assessments ranging from 80 to 150 minutes. Unknown to most parents and teachers, weaknesses in visual processing skills, such as eye tracking, eye teaming, letter reversals, and visual perceptual skills, can cause a child to struggle with learning and exhibit signs of carelessness, affecting an early learner’s success or struggle in their educational pursuits

For tasks such as copying from the board, reading, and comprehension, a child needs to develop fast and accurate eye-tracking ability. Apart from this, they would also need to have strong eye teaming/eye convergence in order for their eyes to point at the same point for binocular vision to perform near visual tasks comfortably for prolonged periods.

Developmental optometrist at NeuroTree, Andy Teo, explains, “Visual motor skills like eye tracking and eye teaming are the unsung learning heroes. They are a part of our visual system that enables our eyes to move accurately from word to word in a book, scanning the board during a copying task, and have our eyes point together precisely at the same point during reading. When these visual motor skills are weak, it leads to skipping words or line errors during reading, causing poor comprehension or eyestrain and double vision if the eyes do not point at the same point. These could cause a child to appear ‘careless’ and seemingly have weak learning efficiency. Most of us have healthy eyes, but the performance of our visual skills can vary, akin to having healthy legs but different running speeds.”

Educational psychologist Eulisia Er emphasizes the psychological impact of undetected visual challenges on a child’s self-esteem and learning experience. “When a child consistently struggles to absorb information due to weak eye tracking, it can lead to difficulties in learning and reading, not necessarily indicative of reading disorders like Dyslexia. This cycle of frustration and perceived carelessness will impact a child’s confidence in learning. Addressing these skills is crucial for building confidence and fostering a positive learning environment.”

Having been a reading intervention teacher for 18 years, senior educational therapist Wei Teng notices the subtle signs of visual challenges in some of her former students. “Children with these difficulties may avoid reading tasks or exhibit frustration during assignments. It’s essential for educators to be aware of these signs and collaborate with parents to address the possible weak visual motor development.”

In summary, weak visual processing skills can cause a child to exhibit carelessness or poor motivation in learning. It takes a collaborative effort from professionals and parents to unveil these challenges, ensuring every child has the opportunity to thrive academically.

To find out more about NeuroTree, visit their website here.

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