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The Goodwin Acuity Test, an innovative technique for screening children

17 May 1998


Although Snellen charts are routinely used in school screenings, an easier, more complete screening tool that anyone can administer is needed for younger children. We tested the Goodwin Acuity Test (GAT), which involves a matching exercise on an educational robot (Playskool Alphie®) that gives feedback with sounds and lights. At a school screening of twenty-five first graders, monocular visual acuities assessed with the 4 meter and 40 centimeter Lighthouse Visual Acuity Test (modified Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) with Sloan letters), and the GAT far (4m) and near (33 em) logMAR charts. Comparisons between the two chart types were made in the areas of acuities obtained, time of administration, and relative enjoyment determined by a verbal questionnaire. Distance visual acuity between the ETDRS (0.183 logMAR=20/30) and GAT (0.188 logMAR=20/30) acuity charts, did not differ significantly (p > 0.05) with ANOVA repeated measures. Near visual acuity with the GAT (0.98 logMAR=20/25) is comparable to the ETDRS (0.167 logMAR= 20/30+1) and the children (80%) enjoyed the GAT more; however it took 2 times longer to administer. The GAT can not be used quickly because the robot takes too much time playing music between selections. Therefore, the GAT is not a quick mass screening method, but the acuity cards created for the GAT would be a valuable addition for pediatric evaluations. The GAT can still be used with the Alphie® to help young children feel more comfortable, and it's music and buttons can be disregarded for a quicker screening test. The GAT would be helpful for preliterate children, non-English speaking children, and special needs children or adults who need extra time to perform the test.


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