Poor vision and schoolwork
The eyes are a valuable part of our body.
The ability to visualise makes it possible for babies and young children to learn by exploring new things around them.
They are attracted to colours, shapes, reflections and weirdness of the things they see.
Curiosity is then awakened, and the child is likely to move towards the object to explore.
The more opportunities children have to explore, the better their brain develops, and the greater the likelihood of increasing their cognition.
It is estimated that there are 26 to 42 million children with visual disabilities in the world.
These constitute 28.5 per cent of the total population of all children with disabilities in the world.
This implies that nearly three out of every 10 children (with some sort of disability) will have a visual problem.
This is the reason why eye health among children is key.
A child’s academic performance and overall development both depend on good vision.
Vision is actually said to be the master of all senses and learning behaviour.
Academic progress is directly associated with eyesight, since vision impacts a child’s ability to read, write, understand and participate in class.
A poor vision makes it difficult to see the board, read textbooks, or interpret written work.
It can further impact class understanding of what is taught, as children struggle to stay updated with their classmates.
This is because most of the time, the brain is trying hard to relate to a concept, a discussion or a point made before moving on, as the eyes battle to relay information served.
Critical cognitive abilities, such as, visual processing, spatial awareness, and hand-eye coordination are important for the activities of reading, writing, problem-solving, sports participation and other physical activities.
These are facilitated by optimal eyesight.
A child with poor vision often struggles to complete tasks and assignments and ends up feeling demotivated.
Most children who are demotivated are unable to explain their struggles.
Problems with eyesight could be one such cause.
The poor academic and overall performance of such demotivated children tends to weigh on them psychologically, thereby compounding the issue further.
There may be a loss of self-esteem and confidence due to the feeling of not measuring up.
Such children may not actively get involved in any class discussion due to their limited comprehension of the subject matter.
Feelings of being left behind may gradually keep them from participating.
These signs of decreased participation may lead to separation from peers and friends, leading to despair and social disengagement.
This is how some children develop a fear of speaking up or actively participating in group activities in school.
As their predicament persists, they begin to underestimate their own potential sadly.
This kind of self-doubt can hinder their overall personal development.
Children who hitherto were doing well academically need to have their eyes checked as part of efforts to support them.
Parents and teachers should not be hasty in giving excuses for such an observation.
A child who is having difficulty concentrating or understanding what is being taught in school may also be having some kind of visual problem.
Text may appear foggy or distorted, which results in wrong interpretation and consequently wrong responses to questions.
Visual cues and illustrations in mathematics can also be visualised and misunderstood wrongly, affecting problem-solving ability.
School teachers must have a thorough awareness of the learning environment and should be looking out for symptoms of visual difficulties.
Such children and their parents must be given all the necessary support through assistive technologies and modification of the learning environment to meet the specific needs of the child, and not be looked upon as a bother.
The writer is a Child Development Expert/ Fellow at Zero-to-three Academy, USA.