Date of Award

5-1-2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Vision Science

Committee Chair

Jacqueline Waggoner

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to answer the question: What vision therapy techniques can be successfully implemented into a sixth grade classroom to reinforce and or foster better reading skills? In order to better understand my objective, I approached my research by answering the following sub-questions: 1. What is vision therapy and what background is there within the schools? 2. How are visual deficits found or measured currently in the schools? 3. What is the role of the educator within vision therapy? 4. What visual skills are optometrists improving with different V.T. techniques? 5. How do brain based learning cycles and activities relate to visual hygiene in the classroom? This qualitative research study took place during the 2002-2003 school year. From December, 2003 to June, 2003, 17 sixth grade students were lead through activities surrounding a school-centered vision therapy model. From September, 2002 to June, 2003, a total of 17 students were led through activities surrounding a school centered vision therapy model. There were 15 Caucasian students, 1 student from the Philippines, and 1 Asian-American student that made up our classroom community. Activities ranged from hand-eye coordination activities and saccadic fixations to incorporating and maintaining proper visual hygiene throughout the entire day, including keeping a brainbased classroom environment, and 90 minute learning locks of instruction. The participants, 11 boys and 6 girls, were at varying achievement levels with varied visual skills. Most were athletes, played in the school band and did other extra curricular activities that they were very successful in. Standardized testing puts the majority of the class at or above their grade level for reading at the beginning of the 61 h grade year. By the end of the year, fourteen out of twenty students were at or above the 50th National percentile in their over all reading scores. When broken down into categories thirteen out of twenty, were at/above the 50th National percentile in reading vocabulary and fifteen out of twenty were at or above this range for reading comprehension. The results show moderate improvement in only a short time. Further research would need to be conducted to see if this holds true for a larger population. Given my own experience with both the school related model and the clinical model I have to say that best results are still in the one on one setting where efforts can be modeled and monitored continually.

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