Building Blocks: Vision Therapy for Young Children
Optometric Extension Program Foundation (OEPF) https://www.oepf.org/calendar/building-blocks-vision-therapy-young-children-2021-08-22
This is a 12-hour course spread over two subsequent Sundays 8-22 and 8-29
Course begins at 8 am Pacific, 9 am Mountain, 10 am Central, 11 am Eastern
with Dr. Jennifer Simonson
Learn about age-appropriate vision therapy procedures for preschool-aged patients from 3-6 years old. Discover procedures to build tracking, focusing, and binocular skills. Train on visually-guided gross motor coordination, fine motor skills, and visual information processing appropriate to the patient’s age and development. This course will cover optometric vision therapy for amblyopia and strabismus to decrease suppression and improve eye alignment and sensory fusion. Learn how to modify therapy techniques for young children and how to successfully sequence vision training.
Jennifer S. Simonson, OD, FCOVD is the clinical director of the Boulder Valley Vision Therapy Center in Boulder, CO. She achieved Fellowship in the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) in 2006. Dr. Simonson was the recipient of the 2007 Colorado Young Optometrist of the Year Award. She is currently serving as the vice-chair of the International Examination and Certification Board (IECB) and is the Speaker Chair of the Colorado Vision Training Conference. Her primary interests in practice include pediatric vision care, vision therapy, sports therapy, and vision rehabilitation. Dr. Simonson is the author of several picture books for children about vision therapy.
OEPF Staff Contact Ms. Line Vreven
Event Type Over the Internet or Online
Children are often not aware that they are experiencing vision challenges since they don’t have a point of reference for optimal functional vision. This makes regular comprehensive eye exams important for children as they approach and advance through classroom learning.
Misdiagnosis of visual challenges is also common, and these visual issues can look similar to the following ADHD symptoms:
- Reading issues
- Poor attention span in school
- Frequent mistakes
- Difficulty doing and completing schoolwork
The best way to determine if these academic challenges are due to visual issues is to see an optometrist who will assess how well the child’s eyes work together. Additionally, some individuals who have ADHD also have vision issues that can compound the ADHD symptoms when not addressed. This makes seeing an eye doctor important to fully understand if vision therapy can assist in alleviating some of the symptoms.
Symptoms that may indicate a need for vision therapy:
- Skips words or lines when reading
- Rubs eyes when reading or doing near work
- Closes one eye with reading or near work
- Holds reading material close to face or tilts head or paper
- Sits close to the TV
- Headaches from reading or homework
- Good word reader, but poor reading comprehension
- Poor handwriting
- Blurred vision when transitioning from far to near vision
- Homework takes a long time or is highly frustrating
- Short attention span for schoolwork or reading
Colorado’s doctors of optometry recommend a comprehensive eye exam if a child is experiencing one or more of these symptoms. Early identification and intervention are key in preventing impact on school performance and student confidence. Vision therapy can also help avoid or improve outcomes of surgical intervention. If you think your child may need vision therapy, call us today!
Here are some helpful resources to learn more about vision development:
- The infantSEE program is a national public health service where a doctor of optometry (OD) performs a no-cost vision assessment of babies between ages of 6-12 months of age. The infantSEE program has great information for parents on their website: infantsee.org
- The American Optometric Association (AOA) has guidelines for testing and treatment of our little pediatric patients. Do you know the first eye examination should take place between ages 6-12 months and the second at age 3? The AOA Parents Center is packed with information. To learn about vision from birth to age 24 months, visit AOA Infant Vision.
- To learn more about preschool vision development, visit AOA Preschool Vision
- Dr. Lynn Hellerstein, a personal friend and colleague blogged about her granddaughter Edina’s Visual development at each age and stage. This great series includes videos, milestones, and observations. Learn more here: https://www.lynnhellerstein.com/category/vision-development-through-edinas-eyes/
- All about Vision is a helpful website for families to learn more about children’s vision: https://www.allaboutvision.com/parents/infants.htm
I also highly recommend the following book for parents:
Active Baby, Healthy Brain: 135 Fun Exercises and Activities to Maximize Your Child’s Brain Development from Birth Through Age 5 by Margaret Sassé
What does a baby see?
Symptoms of refractive errors vary per individual and may include: – headache – fatigue – eye strain – squinting – blurred or distorted images, up close and/or in the distance
My colleague Sarah Lane, OD, FCOVD has some great videos on helping your child’s sensory (sight, touch, balance, pressure, hearing) and motor (movement of the body) systems development here:
- Dr. Jen Simonson, April 2020
Building Blocks for Vision Development
Join us Sunday February 24, 2019 at Western University College of Optometry
At this year’s practicum, Dr. Simonson will share some of her most coveted pearls and strategies for young patients with special needs/developmentally delayed and physical handicaps. She will review normal versus delayed visual development from general motor concepts to development of visual perception and motor output for reproduction. You will gain insight into a systematic approach to vision therapy procedures for these young cases.
Thank you for your interest in the 2018 Eastern States Congress of Optometry courses taught by Dr. Jen Simonson
2018 Eastern States Optometric Congress
Baby Steps to Vision
October 27-28, 2018
White Plains, New York
- Wach’s Analysis of Cognitive Structures testing kit:
- Gesell Copy Forms:
- Copy Form Test:
- NSUCO Oculomotor Test Summary:
- Standing Angels Testing:
VISION THERAPY RESOURCES:
- Brand of bubbles that you can catch and stack: “Grab-a-bubble”
- Attribute Blocks:
- Parquetry Blocks: Parquetry Blocks
- Emergent red/green glasses and therapy activities: https://emergentvt.com/collections/a-le-carte
- Red/Green Toybox http://www.redgreentoybox.com/
- Craft Store items:
Please contact Dr. Jen Simonson with any other suggestions and resources to add to this list.
Course #227 “Classroom Accommodations for Students with Visual Issues”
2016 Colorado Council International Reading Association meeting in Denver, CO.
Thursday, Feb. 4th – 2:45-4:45
Course Slides:CCIRA 2016 course 227
Course Notes: 227 Course Handout CCIRA 2016
Thank you so much for your questions and participation in this course! I really enjoy helping teachers better understand the issues their students are facing and how to help them succeed in the classroom.
– Dr. Jen Simonson
WATCH THIS VIDEO: Vision at School: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyWYlbhEKxA
Reading Windows: Http: //readingwindow.org/home/chapter-5-making-reading-windows/
Vertical lines for math problems: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/printable-lined-paper
Vision in the Classroom: http://oepf.org/product/B118
Educator’s Guide: http://oepf.org/product/B201
Where to refer?
1. The College of Optometrists in Vision Development: http://locate.covd.org/
2. Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association: https://nora.cc/
3. Optometrists Network
- Leong D, Master C, Messner L, Pang Y, Smith C, Starling A. The effect of saccadic training on early reading fluency. Clin Pediat 2014;pages 1-7 (May 1, 2014, doi:10.1177/0009922814532520 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24790022
- COVD summary of research in vision and learning http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.covd.org/resource/resmgr/Research/10a_SummaryofResearchonVisio.pdf
- Association between reading speed, cycloplegic refractive error, and oculomotor function in reading disabled children versus controls. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=quaid%2C+vision%2C+learning
Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
Winter Colorado COVD Study Group
Date: March 15, 2015
Location: Mountain Vista EyeCare, 7761 Shaffer Parkway, #200, Littleton, CO 80127
Topic: Visual Perception and Cognitive Development (Section 2 – Study Guide)
12:30 – Registration
1:00 – 1:50 – Seminar #1 – Vision Development through Edina’s Eyes
2:00 – 2:50 – Seminar #2 – Vision Therapy activities for Preschoolers Part I
2:50 – 3:10 – Coffee Break
3:10 – 4:00 – Seminar #3 – Vision Therapy activities for Preschoolers Part II
4:10 – 5:00 Seminar #4 – Classroom Accommodations
Jen Simonson, OD, FCOVD
||Lynn Hellerstein, OD, FCOVD, FAAO|
Vision Therapy Activities for Preschoolers
Boulder Valley Vision Therapy Staff: Gail Henry, COVT, Amy Zeiger, COVT and Becca Haydon
Additional Resources for Classroom Accommodations:
Additional Resources for Vision Therapy Activities for Preschoolers
9. Dr. Jen’s Vision Therapy Pinterest Board