Sunday, September 13, 2009
Here we go again. A new Joint statement from pediatricians and eye doctors who admit they can't diagnose any learning disabilities want to make a blanket statement that learning disabilities and vision aren't related. Here is the PDF file link.
After reading the statement , my thought is that that they are throwing out the baby with the bath water. It is easy to understand their position and why they felt the statement was needed. It would also be easy to correct their statement with the addition of a few facts. Fact # 1 , there are a minority of dyslexics , properly called visual dyslexics , whose reading problems are caused by visual problems .
Fact #2 , the minority of visual dyslexics is about 10% of the dyslexic population or about 1-1.5% of the general population.
I designed and sell See Right Dyslexia Glasses which act as a universal visual dyslexia filter to remove the visual problems associated with visual dyslexia. I make no claims that the glasses help learning disabilities in general. They do not help dyslexics in general. The small minority of dyslexics with visual dyslexia that can describe visual problems that make reading difficult will have the visual problems removed with the See Right Dyslexia Glasses.
Visual dyslexics are known to have a higher rate of poor depth perception than the general population. Eye doctors that would like to see evidence of the affect of See Right Dyslexia Glasses might consider the fact that they will correct poor depth perception instantly and the poor depth perception will return when the glasses are removed. I mention that because I do not believe that eye doctors have anyway of correcting poor depth perception of visual dyslexics.
The idea presented in the statement that missing letters and moving words leading to reading problems are the result of anything other than visual problems is FALSE. It is really a stretch to say that it is a proven fact. I would suggest that the failure to being able to identify dyslexic individuals is partly because of a poor understanding that some dyslexic problems are visual.
Products that associate learning disabilities in general with visual interventions are likely to fail the majority of people with learning disabilities and at best help a small minority. The Irlen method has had some real success but does a poor job of identification of who will be helped leading to many failures. I have yet found any indication that vision therapy is an effective therapy for learning disabilities. I would describe vision therapy as bait and switch. People want educational help and vision therapy promises to help all with learning disabilities. The eye training provided has never been shown to help anyone.
Reading the joint statement about dyslexia and vision by every type of doctor that can NOT diagnose dyslexia was interesting. In many ways I do agree with their results for the mentioned vision therapies and how they have not been proven as beneficial for learning disabilities and so shouldn't recommended.
I believe that their basic agenda is a result of feeling that promoters of the mentioned vision therapies in the statement do not take a professional approach to the business of selling their products. It is actually hard to argue with the position that the mentioned promoters are not acting professionally.
All doctors are expected to act in a professional and ethical manner.Whether or not those promoters are being ethical depends on if they are knowingly over promoting the products or just incompetent or unaware.One requirement of being a professional doctor is to prescribe treatment to those that need treatment and to not prescribe treatment to those that do not need to be treated. The majority of years of education a doctors receives are slanted towards being able to diagnose who is to be treated for what and how.
I suspect that the joint statement was prepared because The Irlen Method and Vision Therapy are seen as overselling their respective products as being the necessary treatment for learning disabilities. Their sin is at least that learning disabilities is too broad a subject ( or condition) to only have a single treatment and to suggest either as a general treatment.
The joint statement basically says that Vision Therapy has never shown any educational benefit and that Irlen tinted lenses studies have shown mixed results at best. It implies that you can conclude results from flawed studies. By any reasonable standard you can't conclude results from flawed studies.
There is no reason that visual problems should be related to learning disabilities in general. If there is a visual aspect to some learning disabilities it would be a subset of reading problems or dyslexia. This has never been tested in a proper manner and so has not been shown to exist. It is no surprise that something that has never been shown to exist does not have a recommended treatment.
Visual dyslexia is not likely to be proven any time soon by a scientific study.
Dyslexia testing is prohibitively expensive and best case today is what is called dyslexia risk identification followed by some intervention for kindergarten children.This is often called dyslexia testing but has low standards.
By its very nature a generalized dyslexia testing program is going to test all children in an area. The people to give the tests and record results must have some generalized skills with testing and children ( think money ) and testing all the children will take time ( think money). Identification of children at risk ( the bottom half) and intervention ( more money). After intervention you find that 70% have come up to standard and that 30% didn't. They are the children most likely to be dyslexic and can now be tested for dyslexia.
It is also very likely that because of the assumptions on language abilities tested to determine dyslexia risks that visual dyslexics will not be included in the final group as their language skills are often very good.
To conclude , I suggest that See Right Dyslexia Glasses that claim to remove described visual problems , have a money back guarantee , and are easily evaluated in a matter of minutes to at most hours indicate that at least some people with learning disabilities have visual problems where removal of those problems leads to faster more accurate reading with better comprehension.
More information about See Right Dyslexia Glasses and visual dyslexia can be found at The Visual Dyslexia Solution web site