Monday, October 17, 2011

Catch '22'

Where the eyes go so goes attention.  For students who have difficulty  “paying attention” in class, eye tracking could be the culprit.  If a students eye muscles are not fully developed to track and focus on the teacher, shift from far vision tasks (white board) to near vision tasks (desk top work space) or track the steps of lengthy division problems the student will have difficulty staying focused for any length of time. 
Students with poor tracking skills are not aware that they cannot track they just shift attention to where their eyes go.  This may give the impression that the student does not care about his/her work when in fact they may.  The more negative the response toward this perceived behavior the more likely the student will be to develop low self-esteem, begin to act out, and not care. Here lies the "Catch"

A teacher in a local elementary school recently conveyed that she has a young 5’s student who was having an extremely difficult time following (tracking) from left to right.  The teacher shared that this student’s eyes would randomly ‘dart’ up into the air and back to the page multiple times and that he was never able to hold his gaze on anything. 
The teacher had some training in a program called Bal-A-Vis-X and began doing some modified tracking exercises with the child. Bal-A-Vis-X is a movement based brain integration, auditory / visual teaming program that uses sand bags and balls to help the eye muscles develop and strengthen, allowing the student to attend more readily to instructions and focus attention.
The student is now better able to track from left to right with fewer slips as well as hold his gaze on objects for a longer period of time. The teacher credits her training in Bal-A-Vis-X for noticing that the attention problem the child was having was related primarily to eye tracking.  She also commented that the modified tracking exercises have been very beneficial and the child is beginning to experience success and develope more confidence in his learning abilities.