Workshop 17

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Reading Difficulties and the Pediatric Ophthalmologist

Melinda Rainey, MD; Deborah M. Alcorn, MD; Linn M. Mangano, MD; Laura J. Heinmiller, MD; Sheryl M. Handler, MD
AAPOS Learning Disability Committee, A. Melinda Rainey, MD Chair


Purpose/Relevance: Difficulties in learning to read occur in up to 40% of children. Many of these children will have dyslexia which represents 80% of all learning disabilities. Many people wrongly believe that reading difficulties are due to ‘visual problems.’ It is important for Pediatric Ophthalmologists to be conversant in the signs and symptoms of dyslexia, its underlying etiology, evidence based treatments as well as controversial treatments and to provide parents clarity and guidance to appropriate resources.

Target Audience: Pediatric Ophthalmologists and Orthoptists

Current Practice: Pediatric Ophthalmologists have very little training about dyslexia in residency or even fellowship. However, we are often ask to examine children with reading problems but may lack the knowledge to be able to properly counsel families.

Best Practice: Pediatric Ophthalmologists will be able to evaluate children with reading difficulties, ensure a normal eye exam, recognize the salient features of suspected dyslexia and provide information on local resources.

Expected Outcomes: The participant will gain understanding of the etiology of dyslexia, controversial and unproven therapies, evidence-based proven therapies and be able to provide families with factual information and how to find appropriate therapeutic resources.

Format: Workshop as a didactic lecture with question and answer forum

Summary: This course will provide a summary of the latest information on how we read, eye functions necessary to read, etiology of dyslexia and evidence-based remedial treatments. It will further examine controversial therapies such as Vision Therapy, Behavioral Optometry practices and Colored lenses/filters. We will further provide information on what to tell parents to assist our patients in finding the correct diagnosis, treatment and educational modifications.

References: Handler SM, Fierson WM, Section on Ophthalmology; Council on Children with Disabilities; American Academy of Ophthalmology; American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus; American Association of Certified Orthoptists|Pediatrics. 2011 Mar, 127(3) e818-56.
Handler SM, Fierson WM. Reading Difficulties and the Pediatric Ophthalmologist. JAAPOS. 2017, in press.

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