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Why Doesn’t My Child Like To Read?

Why Doesn’t My Child Like To Read?

May 11, 2017   /    Vision and Learning   /    no comments

Why doesn’t my child like to read? A common question parents find themselves asking. For some kids, it isn’t that they just don’t like it, they actually hate it and they will avoid reading at any cost. But why the strong aversion? Here are five reasons why many children (and adults) dislike reading:

Reason #1- Reading is uncomfortable

If your child gets headaches or complains about their eyes hurting with reading or doing near-work, they may be having difficulty with their eye teaming system. Eye teaming (also called convergence) is the ability to coordinate both eyes together. Our eyes have to converge with each other accurately at near to maintain clear and single vision. If the eyes struggle to converge, or sustain that convergence, they will have to work harder to compensate. This will create tension in and around the eyes, forehead and temples. Only the most motivated readers will keep reading when things become uncomfortable. Other signs of convergence insufficiency include: double vision, words appear to move on the page, decreased comprehension (related to the increased effort) and a slow reading rate.

Symptoms like those just listed make it more difficult to attend to reading and near-point tasks, which may cause symptoms that mirror attention deficit disorder (ADHD) symptoms. In fact, in a recent study, children diagnosed as having ADHD were 3x more likely to have convergence insufficiency. These children saw a significant reduction in their ADHD symptoms when their convergence insufficiency was successfully treated with vision therapy.

Reason #2- Words are blurry or hard to look at

Kids do not understand that how they’re seeing is not quite how everyone else sees. A child may have 20/20 eyesight and pass a regular vision examination, but still have poorly developed eye focusing skills (also called accommodation). When our eyes look far away, the eye focusing muscles relax to see clearly at a distance. When we look at something closer, the eye muscles contract to move the lens in the eye to see clearly at near. As we age, this lens itself becomes less flexible, which is why most people begin to need reading glasses after age 40. For a child, this skill should be easy and automatic.

Eye focusing skills allow the visual system to maintain clear and comfortable vision at near. Other signs of poor eye focusing skills include: blurry vision at near, occasional blurred distance vision after prolonged near-work, eyestrain and headaches. Some children complain that the words are hard to look at, that there are colored spots around the words or that the print is distorted. Others will have difficulty maintaining attention on reading or just avoid reading altogether.

Reason #3- They lose their place on the page frequently

To read efficiently, our eyes have to be able to make very precise eye movements, independent of head and body movements. If eye movement skills are delayed or never fully develop, it can significantly affect reading fluency and comprehension.

Reason #4- They think they are a slow reader

It isn’t hard to understand why a child with poor eye teaming, focusing and/or tracking skills might take longer to complete reading assignments. Another reason for slow reading speed can be poor span of visual awareness. Span of visual awareness refers to the amount, and speed, with which visual information can be taken in and processed. Children who are stressed about reading will often have difficulties with this and the end result is a child that seems to never “sit still”. Getting the wiggles out through movement activities and/or deep breathing exercises before sitting down to read can help combat some of the internal stress which may be making the problems worse.

Reason #5- They can’t visualize what they’ve read

Reading is more than decoding words, it is about creating a picture in your head to help you understand the author’s thoughts. Visualization, or the ability to make pictures in your head, is a skill that is often developed when children use their imaginations or play make believe. Parents can foster this skill by reading aloud to their children and then asking them questions to see if they understand what was just read.  Visualization is important not only for good reading comprehension, but also influences a child’s spelling and writing skills.

If you or your child identify with any of these five common reasons people avoid reading, you’re not alone. One out of every 10 children have an undiagnosed vision problem that can interfere with learning. The good news is there is hope! These visual skills are all learned skills that can be developed with proper guidance at any age. Developmental Optometrists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of these common visual skill problems that can affect reading and learning. Treatment for vision-related learning problems may include therapeutic glasses designed to improve visual efficiency and/or optometric vision therapy. To learn more, check out our website, To find a Developmental Optometrist near you, visit the College of Optometrists for Vision Development website at

Valerie L. Frazer, OD, FCOVD

Click here to learn more about Dr. Valerie L. Frazer.


Amblyopia: Myths, Truths, Treatments

April 21, 2017   /    Uncategorized   /    no comments

Advances in Amblyopia Treatments

Watch Dr. Frazer’s webinar that explores the ins and outs of amblyopia, dispel common treatment myths and uncover innovative treatment options including Vivid Vision virtual reality!

According to recent studies, over 12 million people in the United States alone are diagnosed with amblyopia… that’s about 3.5% of the US population.

Standard treatment options generally include endless hours of patching or Atropine drops, which have many visual and emotional consequences and low prolonged success rates.

Good news! There are advanced treatment options that are evidence-based and can be effective at any age.

During this webinar, Dr. Frazer explains:

  • Why amblyopia develops.
  • Why patching alone is not always effective.
  • The importance of binocular vision in treatment.
  • New advances in amblyopia treatment including Vivid Vision.

Vision, Behavior and Attention

March 21, 2017   /    Vision and Learning , Webinar   /    no comments

Vision, Behavior and Attention Webinar

View Dr. Frazer’s webinar that explores common signs of vision-related attention problems and strategies to improve these skills.

The number of children and adults diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has increased significantly over the course of the last decade.

Did you know that many of the characteristics used to diagnose AD(H)D are also symptoms of vision related learning problems?

Some children and adults truly do suffer from ADD and ADHD, but certain vision and learning-related problems mirror the same symptoms and are misdiagnosed.

Symptoms for AD(H)D diagnosis that are also seen in learning-related visual problems:

  • Making careless mistakes in schoolwork
  • Not listening to what is being said
  • Difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • Losing and misplacing belongings
  • Fidgeting and squirming in seat
  • Interrupting or intruding on others

Visual Perception Webinar

January 9, 2017   /    Vision and Learning , Visual Processing , Webinar   /    no comments

Eliminate homework battles.

Visual Skills for Reading & Learning Part II: Visual Perception

Watch Dr. Frazer’s webinar to learn why visual perception and visual processing skills are important for reading fluency and the learning process.

80% of all learning is visual and 20% of children lack the visual skills necessary to succeed in school. These necessary visual skills go beyond 20/20 vision. Dr. Frazer will review the most common symptoms of learning-related vision problems and the best methods of treatment.

Visual perception and visual processing skills include:

  • Visual Directional Skills
  • Visual Analysis Skills
  • Visualization and Memory
  • Visual Integration Skills

This webinar is beneficial for everyone; parents, teachers and other professionals who work with kids.

Visual Processing Skills and Game Ideas

December 5, 2016   /    Visual Processing   /    no comments

What are visual processing skills?

Visual processing skills are what our brain uses to make sense of what we see in the world around us. When a child is behind in the development of visual processing skills learning can take longer, requiring more cognitive effort that slows down the learning process.

Math, reading and writing are some of the areas where visual processing skills play a key role in how a child learns, and without the skills to excel in these areas a child’s self-esteem can suffer as well. A child who has not developed good eye movement, eye teaming, and eye focusing skills will often have more difficulty with visual processing skills.

Examples of visual processing skills.

Visual processing skills are broken down into several different categories. Your child may have trouble with just one skill or a couple of related skills. Or they may need to work a little bit on all of their visual processing skills. Listed below we describe each category and show examples of each skill.

Visual discrimination

The ability to recognize the differences and similarities between objects and images based on shape and size, it is important to be able to distinguish between different letters and words in order to read and write. An important step in developing this skill is teaching your child to pay attention to detail.

Which design is exactly like the one on top?

Which design is exactly like the one on top?

Figure ground

The ability to find and pick out the important information in a visually busy background, such as picking out numbers in a word problem.

The top shape is hidden in which picture?

The top shape is hidden in which picture?

Form constancy

The ability to know that a shape is the same regardless of size or direction change, knowing a word is the same word written in a different font.

Match the design, it could be a different size or color.

Match the design, it could be a different size or color.

Visual closure

The ability to know what an image or object is when part of that image or object is missing. It is also the ability to quickly recognize differences in similar words to enable reading fluently.

If each design was completed and the lines were not moved, which one would look exactly like the design on the top?

If each design was completed and the lines were not moved, which one would look exactly like the design on the top?

Visual and sequential memory

The abilities to recall visual information over time and to accurately recall a sequence of shapes or objects in the correct order, these skills are important for spelling and writing.

Remember the order of the shapes after you look away.

Remember the order of the shapes after you look away.

Without looking above, which row is the correct order?

Without looking above, which row is the correct order?

Game ideas for each area.

Wondering how you can help your child develop the skills they need to excel in school in a fun and interactive way? Hands on games are a great way to work on these visual processing skills. Below you will find games that will help strengthen the areas of visual processing to match your child’s needs.  Most, if not all, of these games can be found on Amazon and will tell you the recommendations for age appropriateness. Depending on the child’s skill level they may need to start with a game that’s recommended age is below their age.

Does your child…

  • Mistake similar words i.e. where/when?
  • Struggle with differentiating between b, d, q, p?
  • Have difficulty reading music?
  • Have a hard time being aware of small changes in the world around them?

Games to strengthen Visual Discrimination:

  • Attribute Blocks
  • Spot the Difference
    Pixy Cubes and Spot it!

    Pixy Cubes and Spot it!

  • Memory Matching
  • Pixy Cubes
  • Dominos
  • Bingo with Picture Cards
  • Spot it!
  • Dog Dice
  • Blink
  • Qwirkle

Does your child…

  • Struggle to pick out the numbers in word problems?
  • Say, “Mom where is my…” only to find out what they are looking for is right out in the open?
  • Get easily distracted by things around them?
  • Have trouble with sorting and organizing their work or belongings?
  • Have difficulty copying from the board?

Games to strengthen Figure Ground:



  • Where’s Waldo
  • I Spy books or board games
  • Dot-to-dots
  • Snakes and Ladders
  • Jigsaw Puzzles
  • Connect 4
  • Qwirkle

Does your child…

  • Have a hard time with hidden pictures if the shape they are looking for has been turned a different way?
  • Know a word in one sentence but then not know that same word in another sentence?
  • Misread or guess at words because they don’t recognize it?

Games to strengthen Form Constancy:

  • Spot it!
  • Terzetto
  • Melissa & Doug: Pattern Blocks and Boards
  • Melissa & Doug: Bead Sequencing Set
  • Mental Blox 360

Does your child…

  • Leave sentences or thoughts unfinished when writing?
  • Have trouble finding things they are looking for if that object is partially covered?
  • Struggle with sight words?

Games to strengthen Visual Closure:

  • Finders Keepers!
  • Blokus
  • Bound Off
  • Zingo!
  • Wild Wonders Memory
  • Qwirkle

Does your child…

  • Have difficulty recognizing the same word a few sentences later?
  • Struggle to remember the main point of a story after reading?
  • Make the same mistake again and again, sometimes not realizing they are doing so?
  • Have difficulty remembering the alphabet in sequence?
  • Struggle with sequencing letters or numbers in word or math problems?
  • Have a hard time following multiple step directions?
  • Have difficulty copying from one place to another?

Games to strengthen Visual Memory & Visual Sequential Memory:

  • Q-Bitz
    Sequence for kids

    Sequence for kids

  • Make A Match Game In A Tin
  • Captain Clueless
  • Wild Wonders Memory
  • Memory Challenge: Marvel Comics
  • Melissa & Dough: Pattern Blocks and Boards
  • Sequence
  • Swish
  • Chess
  • Rush Hour

Visual Skills For Reading

November 22, 2016   /    Vision and Learning , Webinar   /    no comments

Webinar: Visual Skills For Reading

View Dr. Frazer’s webinar below to learn how visual skills such as tracking, focusing and eye teaming can interfere with reading fluency and the learning process.

Visual skills required for learning

20% of children lack visual skills required for reading and those necessary to succeed in school. These necessary visual skills go beyond 20/20 vision. Dr. Frazer will first review the most common symptoms of learning-related vision problems and then the best methods of treatment.

Learning-Related Vision Symptoms:

  • Losing place on the page
  • Words run together when reading
  • Reversals of letters or words
  • Easily distracted or fatigued
  • Takes “hours” to do homework
  • Low reading comprehension or fluency
  • Poor or unevenly spaced handwriting
  • Uses finger to keep place
  • Eye fatigue or strain

Visual skills are necessary to succeed in school.

This webinar is beneficial for everyone, parents, teachers and other professionals who work with kids.

Common Myths About Treating Amblyopia

November 8, 2016   /    Amblyopia   /    no comments

Amblyopia is a condition often called “lazy eye” where one eye has reduced visual acuity (i.e. can’t see 20/20), even with the appropriate glasses. Amblyopia occurs when the brain ignores or suppresses information from one eye. This condition affects 2 to 3 out of every 100 children; making it one of the most common causes of reduced vision in children. Below I will discuss 3 common myths about treating amblyopia.

Before we get into the common misconceptions about treatment for amblyopia, let’s first discuss how amblyopia develops. The two most common types of amblyopia are Refractive Ambylopia and Strabismic Amblyopia.

Refractive Amblyopia

Refractive Amblyopia is the most common type of Amblyopia. This occurs when there is a large difference in refractive error (a.k.a. the prescription needed to focus an image on the retina) between the two eyes. Refractive Amblyopia develops because the images in each eye are different or when one eye must work harder than the other to see. These differences between the picture created by the two eyes makes it difficult to merge the two images together into one.

Blurred Image (Amblyopic Eye) Normal Image (Non-amblyopic Eye)

If the brain is faced with one blurry picture and one, clear picture it will give preference to the clear picture and ignore information from the blurry one. Over time this suppression of information leads to reduced acuity. Usually the amblyopic eye will also have greater difficulty with other visual skills such as focusing, tracking, eye-hand coordination and higher levels of visual processing because of this. In cases of Refractive Amblyopia, wearing the appropriate prescription is an important aspect of treatment.

Strabismic Amblyopia

The second most common cause of amblyopia is strabismus. Strabismus is a misalignment of the eyes, usually esotropia (eye turn in) or exotropia (eye turn out). When the eyes have trouble coordinating with each other and are not pointing in the same place at the same time, the brain gets confused and cannot put the images together. Rather than seeing double, the brain will ignore information from one of the eyes. Usually it ignores information from the eye that is turned most often; eliminating the double vision.

Amblyopia affects one in every 40 children

Amblyopia affects one in every 40 children

Strabismic Eye

Now, let’s review the most common misconceptions about amblyopia treatments…

Myth #1= The most effective method of treating amblyopia is patching.

Many eye doctors use patching as their primary method of treating amblyopia. If you are the parent of an amblyopic child, you need to know that there are better ways to treat amblyopia then long hours of patching. In fact, a recent study from the National Eye Institute ( shows that two hours of patching is as effective as all day patching. A patch can be one effective tool when used properly; however, it is not the only tool. In my practice, patching is often done with other prescribed activities to equalize visual skills between the two eyes. A patch is usually worn while doing prescribed activities for lesser periods of time.

A newer approach to treating Refractive Amblyopia doesn’t involve a patch at all. One of the problems that occurs in Refractive Amblyopia is that because the prescription is different between the two eyes, the image sizes are also different. Even with the correct prescription, the brain has a hard time putting two different sized images together, and the eyes can still struggle to work together. The Shaw Lens is designed to reduce the image size differences that occur when one eye needs a stronger prescription than the other. We are proud to be one of the first clinics in the area to provide this new technology to our patients. Although more research needs to be done, our clinic is seeing improved visual acuity after one month of wearing the Shaw lenses. More information about the Shaw lens can be found on their website: .

Myth #2= Amblyopia can’t be treated after a certain age.

In the past, many in the medical community believed that amblyopia could not be treated after age eight. These assumptions were based on the false belief that the brain did not retain neuroplasticity (or the ability to make new connections) after this “critical” period of development. While early interventions and treatments are always the best, new studies by the National Institute of Health ( ) recommend that age should not be a determining factor when deciding to treat amblyopia. Future studies are looking at the effectiveness of treating adults with amblyopia. Many offices who specialize in vision therapy, including ours, successfully treat amblyopia well into adulthood. These adult patients are making improvements in both visual acuity and depth perception. It is never too late to treat a “lazy eye”.

Myth # 3= Once 20/20 vision is achieved, the amblyopic eye is “cured”.

This is a common mistake even well trained eye doctors will make. Remember that amblyopia is not exactly an “eye” problem, it is a brain problem caused when images from the two eyes cannot be merged effectively and efficiently. Even if the eye with amblyopia can see 20/20, it doesn’t mean that the amblyopic eye transmits or processes visual information as efficiently as the non-amblyopic eye, or that the brain can sync the information together. The brain could still be ignoring/suppressing information from the amblyopic eye when both eyes are open.

Depth perception at distance and near should be the goal of any amblyopia treatment plan. Quality depth perception occurs when the two eyes are working well together and the brain is then able to combine the information into one 3-D image. Patching alone is often not enough to teach the eyes how to work together. Vision therapy is often required to achieve quality depth perception and to ensure that the eyes will want to stay working together long term.

Please contact our office with any questions you may have at . Or to schedule an evaluation call us at 608-849-4040.

Dr. Valerie Frazer, FCOVD

Workshops On Wellness- Join us on June 8th

May 26, 2016   /    Uncategorized   /    Comments Off on Workshops On Wellness- Join us on June 8th

Promoting a Healthier Lifestyle in Waunakee
Sponsored by: Village Center of Waunakee and Waunakee Lions Club

“Seeing Success: How Identifying and Treating Undetected Vision Problems Can Improve Reading and Learning”                                                                                           Presented by Valerie Frazer, Developmental Optometrist

child-studying Presentation Overview:
Does your child struggle in school or avoid reading?

Is homework a battle or take twice as long as it should?

Does your child lose their place when they read, have poor comprehension or poor handwriting?

One in four children lack the visual skills necessary to succeed in school and children labeled as ADHD or Learning Disabled are 3x more likely to have one of these treatable visual dysfunctions that can interfere with learning. Most people think that 20/20 vision is enough. They don’t realize that there are 17 visual skills needed to succeed in reading, learning, sports and in life and seeing ‘20/20’ is just one of those visual skills. Dr. Frazer will discuss when a child should have their vision checked and symptoms of common visual dysfunctions that can interfere with learning or lead to poor behavior. She will also discuss simple ways to make things easier at school/home and current research on treatment options.

Join us for this FREE Event on Wednesday, June 8th, 2016 from 7:00-8:00 pm.

Located at the Waunakee Village Center

LionsClub Waunakee

Beyond 20/20 Vision FREE Webinar

April 21, 2016   /    Uncategorized   /    Comments Off on Beyond 20/20 Vision FREE Webinar

Join Dr. Frazer for this FREE webinar to learn how tracking, focusing and eye teaming can interfere with reading fluency and the learning process.


20% of children lack the visual skills necessary to succeed in school. These necessary visual skills go beyond just eyesight or 20/20 vision. 
Dr. Frazer will review the most common symptoms of learning-related vision problems and the best methods of treatment. 
Contact us today for more information!


April 7, 2016   /    Uncategorized   /    Comments Off on Concussion
Concussion, starring Will Smith, hit theaters in December. The drama which is based on real events, brings attention to the seriousness of concussions acquired by athletes in contact sports such as football.
Vision problems after a concussion are very common. Many professional sports are using simple visual testing on the sidelines to help determine if a player should return to the game.
“Research has shown that approximately 70% of young athletes who suffer a concussion have eye coordination, focusing, and eye movement problems. Yet most parents are left on their own to choose a health care professional who can help their child correct these problems,” shares Dr. Kara Heying, OD, FCOVD, President of College of Optometrists in Vision Development. Click here to read more…
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