According to law in many states, if a child is classified as having a specific learning disability, the school is required to either provide the necessary therapy, or to pay for the parents to obtain the necessary help not provided by the school. This puts educators in an awkward position. Funds are limited, so schools try to minimize expenditures. Regarding perceptual impairment or visual processing disorders, educators are sometimes faced with two basic choices:
- make classroom accommodations to help the student compensate
- deny that the vision problem has anything to do with the child’s learning problems
Typically, schools adopt the latter approach - which leaves funding for services that are provided within the school system.
The school might choose to assign the child to a staff Occupational Therapist. OTs are highly skilled in helping children with developmental, gross motor, and fine motors activities, particularly handwriting. Conversely, Occupational Therapists are not trained or licensed to diagnose - nor are they trained or licensed to prescribe treatment. In addition, OTs cannot administer any type of therapy or procedure involving lenses, prisms or any devices which are used to treat binocular vision problems.
In order to provide vision therapy or specific types of vision rehabilitation, an OT must work under the direct supervision of an eye doctor - most often a Developmental Optometrist. School OTs do not work under the direct supervision of an eye doctor and therefore cannot diagnose or treat vision problems.