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G. Sampson, T. Fricke, A. Metha, N.A. McBrien; Efficacy of Treatment for Visual Information Processing Dysfunction and Its Effect on Educational Performance . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(13):679.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: Up to 15 percent of all children in Australia experience problems with learning, although the causes of these learning difficulties are poorly understood. In particular, there is uncertainty regarding the importance of vision in early educational achievement. Evidence supports a correlation between visual information processing (VIP) skill development and early academic success. However, the efficacy of vision therapy (VT) programs designed to redress VIP skill dysfunction, and the effect that this has on subsequent educational progress, are unresolved issues. Methods: We conducted a longitudinal investigation into the efficacy of VT programs for improving both VIP and educational performance. A sample (n = 96) of sub–optimally achieving (lower third of the class academically) grades–one and two children were identified who concurrently exhibited VIP skill acquisition delay and normal auditory/verbal language development. An experimental group (E) underwent a VT program designed to be typical of intervention programs employed in paediatric optometric practice. A control group (C) received a placebo program that provided similar amounts of time and individual attention to the involved children. A diagnostic battery was administered to both groups before commencement, immediately following completion, and six months after completion of the programs. The study was randomised, masked, and controlled for IQ, grade and gender. Results: Sixty–nine children successfully completed the program requirements. Results for the entire group showed no significant between–group differences for all educational tests (p > 0.05 for reading, spelling and mathematics) and for 5 of the 6 VIP tests. Group E made greater post–intervention gains than Group C on a test of visual sequential memory (p < 0.05). However, a comparison with normative data values showed that both groups (experimental and control) made significantly greater post–intervention progress on most variables (educational and VIP), compared with that expected had no intervention occurred. Conclusions: Results for the entire group did not provide evidence supporting efficacy of the VT program under investigation. Findings suggested that a placebo effect was responsible for much of the demonstrated improvement in educational and VIP parameters following intervention. Further analysis of results will be useful to determine whether select sub–groups demonstrate similar outcomes.
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