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Children with Dyslexia show 87% “cure rate” of letter reversals with Vision Therapy

Industry: Education

Studies have shown that more than 87 percent of children with significant reversals can be "cured" within a few weeks according to Dr. Philip Nicholson in Olney, MD.

Maryland (PRUnderground) February 11th, 2014

The problem “minding your p’s and q’s” goes back centuries. And the percentage of young children displaying this problem keeps increasing.

Studies have shown that more than 87 percent of children with significant reversals can be “cured” within 10 weeks. Dr. Philip Nicholson, an Optometrist in Olney, MD states that many children with reversal problems have been labeled as dyslexic. “I cringe every time I hear that word. It’s one thing to label a symptom or condition, but it should be a crime to label a child. That label will be carried for a lifetime, even though the condition has been eliminated.”

According to Dr. Nicholson, many children suspected of being dyslexic are not. True dyslexia means being unable to read despite the ability to see and recognize letters. This is rarely seen. But today the term is loosely used to describe any child having difficulties reading.

Confusing “b” and “d” or “was” and saw” are often symptoms associated with reading difficulties. However, until letters and numbers and introduced to children, it’s normal.

When a child learns the name of the object we call “chair”, the name remains the same regardless of the direction in which it is facing. This is called shape constancy. But with the introduction of letters and numbers the child finds that the orientation of an object is vital to the name and meaning even though the shape is identical. A “b” becomes a “d” when turned and a “6” becomes a “9”.

Most children quickly learn to differentiate orientation. But some don’t as easily. And the reason is due to more basic underlying disorders and factors.

For years there have been disagreements about the cause. Some claim the child sees backwards. Some propose it results from failure of the brain’s dominant hemisphere to suppress the non-dominant side. Others suggest it is related to the relationship between which hand a child uses and reading and writing directions, hyperactivity, or just the inability to see the difference. However, studies have shown none to be an adequate explanation.

Current research indicates the major causes are: poor visual memory (the ability to recall a visual image), poor visualization (the ability to create a mental image), poor visual-motor integrations (the ability of the visual and muscular system to reinforce each other) and poor visual association (the ability to link what you see with something you saw, heard, or felt, in the past).

For example, if you’re asked to look up, you look up. But if asked to look to the right, you’re likely to first think about the hand you use for writing.

Looking right requires more thinking because it’s not as automatic (subconscious). Subconscious responses require linkage (associations), which require good recall. And things that are very unusual or different are recalled much easier than things that are similar.

The links are strong with up and down. We can link up with a head or the sky and down with a foot or gravity. But because both sides of our body are so identical, we have a hard time distinguishing our right and left. The links aren’t as strong.
Improve the association, integration, and recall skills, and you’ll eliminate the reversals.

“Parents are often told the child will outgrow it. And this is true,” comments Dr. Nicholson. “Continued exposure to letters and numbers will reduce reversals, but if the underlying causes are left untreated, learning will still be slow and school performance will suffer.”

Dr. Nicholson states “My program is designed to correct the deficient underlying skills”.

Educational systems tend to handle learning disorders by seeking the easiest way to teach a child – often not correcting a disorder, but finding a way around it.

“My program’s aim is to identify and treat the core disorder. So much of what we learn depends on proper visual processing skills”, states Dr. Nicholson. “Regular eye exams only check for the need for glasses and this is not a problem that glasses alone can help”.
Contact Dr. Nicholson, Optometrist, at the Visual Learning Center in Olney MD at 301-570-4611 or by email  Or visit his web page

About Visual Learning Center

Since 1997, Dr. Philip Nicholson and the Visual Learning Center have provided evaluations and treatment programs for learning related visual processing problems. Poor memory, trouble focusing and letter reversals can be signs of a visual processing problem. There is more to good vision than just \”20-20\”.

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