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Reading Disabilities & Eye Tracking

Posted by Krystal Hundt on Wed, May 15, 2013 @ 12:05 PM

Why does my child struggle to read?This month our focus is on reading and the critical role that eye tracking plays. Today I would like to bring your attention to the different ways your eyes track and work together as a team. Eye tracking affects just about every area of our lives, from reading to driving, to sports and more.

Whenever I think of eye tracking I can remember trying to help my brother learn to read. He was in grade two. He was and is the absolute cutest little brother... okay so now he happens to be over six feet tall and rather handsome and would likely have a little problem with me referring to him as cute. ;) But back then he had blonde hair with a fierce cow lick on the front of his head that stood straight up and glasses that were constantly sliding down his nose. He actually used to look a lot like the boy in the movie, Jerry Maguire. He had a heart of gold and desired so much to please. He would do anything I told him to including waking up our dad from a nap. Trust me, that was scary. 

I can remember my frustration, feeling like I was unable to help him learn to read. I wanted so desperately to be able to rush in and be the person that helped him find academic success. I can feel the stress in my body willing him to know the words he would pause on, or the words he seemed to only read partway. As painful as it is for me to remember my feelings of absolute helplessness, I can't even begin to imagine the pain my brother must have been going through. 

Fast forward to today, when I can see the areas that were weak and needed development. The tell-tale signs were there all along, but no one in his life recognised them. When we talk about eye tracking, there are two specific areas that we are referring to. Fusion is the ability to track objects coming towards you and Pursuit is the ability to track objects moving left and right. Fusion is the skill that you would use to focus on a specific word or point, and Pursuit is necessary to be able to follow the print along a page. 

Symptoms that eye tracking may be weak include:

  • Missing small words when reading
  • Missing the endings of words
  • Guessing at the ends of small words
  • Losing ones place while reading
  • Difficulty copying
  • Difficulty catching or hitting a ball

There are so many days where I just wish I could go through a time warp and bring the tools that Breakthroughs has back to my brother. I think of all the stress that could have been avoided and the effect on my brother's self-esteem. Now I have the opportunity to help children every day with reading, eye tracking and so much more.

We can help your child too. We can help you. Close to 20% of our clients are adults because eye tracking, or any learning challenges for that matter, aren’t problems that just disappear. Reading does not have to be something feared and avoided. If reading is a struggle for you or your child, contact us today.

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Topics: Reading, classroom strategies, reading disability, free download

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