Vision Therapy Discussion in the Interim

Saint Paul, MINN – State Senator Alice Johnson participated in the Minnesota Senate Education Committee school site visit on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. At Centennial High School the discussion focused on vision therapy, among other issues.

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One of Sen. Alice Johnson’s education priorities for the 2015 session is to expand the vision therapy program statewide.

Centennial High School was one of the schools that were chosen to participate in the pilot program and will give their students comprehensive eye exams to screen for issues such as convergence insufficiency. Those that test positive will receive therapy. Visual factors such as convergence insufficiency (CI) disorders are contributing factors of reading failures when evaluating beginning readers. Because CI causes difficulty with early reading, children with CI are often diagnosed as learning disabled.

According to Dana Flanders, a Special Education teacher at Centennial High School, the program has identified there is a strong relationship between vision health and learning. Up to 60 percent of special education students have vision problems and are often misdiagnosed with ADD or special education. The vision therapy program will identify these students and train them to have better educational outcomes.

“I am hopeful these pilot programs will help find out how many kids are really experiencing serious vision problems that keep them from learning and I will use that information to expand this vital pilot program to more schools,” Sen. Johnson said.

PHOTO CUTLINE: One of Sen. Alice Johnson’s education priorities for the 2015 session is to expand the vision therapy program statewide.

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Senate DFL