What if you were given a toolbox but never shown how to use any of the tools except the hammer?
When you are asked to assemble an item requiring a screw, how are you going to attempt that task? Well you most likely will pound on the screw with your hammer like you would with a nail. You will use the tool(s) you know how to use and try to complete the task at hand with the tool(s) you have. Well won't that work? Sure, you could manage to get that screw into the piece of wood but at what cost? The threads on the screw would be damaged.
If you were asked to cut a piece of wood two feet long and all you knew was how to use a hammer, could you do it? Well, I guess you could, in a way. You could use the hammer as a measuring device and estimate that the hammer is 12 inches long so two hammers would be the probable length you need to cut the wood. You could then use the hammer to break the wood at or near that location. You could use the other side of the hammer to try to smooth out the broken areas of the wood. Ta Da! You have accomplished the required task!
Sound silly? Of course it does. But that is the same kind of theory that is happening to our kids who are struggling with reading or learning. They have not yet learned or developed the necessary skill for accurately pointing and moving their eyes from one place to the next. They are being asked to do more tasks that require increasing complex visual skills. The child wants to please their parent / teacher and will attempt to do what is asked of them. With much effort, they pound that screw into the wood with the hammer damaging the threads. So what happens? They begin to learn to read but as the reading task complexity increases, they struggle. They try and try (pound the screw with the hammer) but it "isn't coming". They aren't keeping up with the other kids in the class that have a screwdriver and have learned to use the screwdriver. So the child is given other tools to help compensate for this. They may be given a saw or a measuring tape or a needle nose plier but still are being asked to do a task that requires a screwdriver to be most successful. Soon they are moved to a class for the "screwdriverless" and then are given activities that don't require a screwdriver or when it comes to a part that requires a screwdriver, then the instructor will come and bring his own screwdriver and do it for the child. Wouldn't it be better to help the child learn to use the appropriate tool?
When it comes to visual development dysfunctions, that, in essence, is what vision therapy will do. Vision Therapy is to provide the necessary and meaningful experiences for the individual to learn how to ___________ (fill in the blank).
Some of the most common accommodations for a child with a learning difficulty that may have a visual development dysfunction are:
Now I'm often asked, what's wrong with doing those things?
The answer is nothing is wrong with the schools recommending that the child do these accommodations. These accommodations are designed to try to help the teachers gauge how much information the child is absorbing/learning. But notice something that is common in all those accommodations?
Avoid the visual system. But avoiding the visual system doesn't correct the problem. It just makes the problem look less obvious.
Another similar analogy would be: A person is not able to run for long periods of time because within the first 50 metres, they feel out of breath and their sides hurt. So in order to help, this person will be allowed to participate in the 100 meter run while using an electronic scooter. This way, he can feel the accomplishment of completing a 100 meter run and he doesn't get pain/discomfort/fatigue like he would have had he ran the race with his own two feet.