Articles, tips and teaching ideas, and links to other useful sites for Dyslexia teaching, assessment and resources.
Behavioural Optomotery

From: David Grant

There is a growing body of evidence that language and visual deficits co-exist. I have drawn upon assessment data I have the past year in the hope that this might help add a bit of colour to the picture.

I have been using the latest version of the WAIS [Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale - Third Edition] for the past year. This version is a substantial improvement on the old version and allows four important abilities to be measured.


Two of these are language-based abilities:

  • Verbal Comprehension

  • Working memory


Working Memory is an assessment of what used to be called auditory short-term memory. It is measured using three tests: Arithmetic, Digit Span and Number-Letter Sequencing.

The other two factors are measures of visual processing and reasoning abilities. These are called Perceptual Organization and Processing Speed. Processing Speed refers to the speed of processing visual information and is assessed using two tests: Symbol Search and Digit-Symbol Coding.

I have reviewed my data [based solely on students] and it is clear than in about 80% of cases a double deficit is observed: the Working Memory score is much lower than the score for Verbal Comprehension; the score of Processing Information [this is visual information] is much lower than the score for Perceptual Organization.

As an example of this typical profile I have provided below average scores for one group of students with dyslexia. These are given in percentiles. Percentiles refers to rankings within the population, so the higher the figure the higher the ability.

Verbal Comprehension: 60
Working Memory: 28

Perceptual Organization: 68
Processing Speed: 42





From: Paul Harris

is carrying out a three year double blind research project in Baltimore which is investigating the efficacy of vision therapy. The following figures have come from this yet to be completed project:

89% of dyslexics have a visual difficulty
79% have an auditory difficulty
69% have both.

Some of the children in the unit have been assessed by Behavourial Optometrists and are now at the stage where reviews are being carried out. Visual skills are improving and glasses prescriptions are being reduced in several cases. I have seen improvements in these children's literacy skills....

Is behavioural optometry more relevant for children and overlays thereby more relevant for students, i.e. adults?


This is not limited to children - I know it is used widely with adults  in sports, for example.  It may be that adults are less willing to spend the time doing visual exercises, and prefer overlays for that reason - this is just a guess, but I know that when I was offered.

Its not only because of the "time"... some of "us" who went through it as adults really suffered horribly. Yes, patches were only a small portion of this therapy and, personally, the nausea, impaired spacial abilities and all the other associated problems were so bad that it simply wasn't worth it. To make matters worse, there are no guarantees as to the final results, no "time line" for improvement and no speculation as to how much effort will be needed to maintain the results, once attained. It just didn't sound like a good investment to me. 

I thought perhaps my experience with it was unusual but discovered that it was not. In fact, it was quite typical for an adult. There is a "window of opportunity" for adults around the time they have to wear reading glasses. But, frankly, I'd just rather continue adapting as I can!