Friday, April 3, 2009

Thoughts on Nearsightedness

This is pure speculation on my part. But I've often read that nearsightedness and intelligence/being good in school are correlated. I've also often heard people claim that reading too much causes nearsightedness.

What if it's the other way around? What if some people, like me, are born moderately or severely nearsighted? As an infant/toddler/young child, it might be years before the condition was diagnosed. Meanwhile, activities like throwing/catching balls and climbing trees, which involve gross-motor skills and major physical activity, would be challenging. But reading and fine-motor skills, done close up, would feel much more natural. So nearsighted kids would naturally pay more attention to manageable, nearby things like books and blocks; might become early readers; and might develop a tendency towards the "intellectual/internal" and away from the "adventurous/physical."

Like I said, pure speculation, but it does seem like it might make some sense. Of course, I can also imagine some co-evolution going on (intellectual ability as a compensatory trait to protect us hapless nearsighted organisms).


Susan said...

It's a good thing I wasn't nearsighted, then, or all you other desJardins would have been left in my intellectual dust...

Glad the Lasik went so well!!

Lucy said...

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dsimom said...

There's actually a lot of speculation about this in the twice exceptional (2e) community. @e is the idea that kids can be both gifted and learning disabled. It can be very hard to suss out because gifted kids often compensate for their disabilities by covering up or by over-developing the areas where they are strong. Learning disabilities can also include neurological delays that effect motor or sensory skills. For gifted kids, they will still do really well academically, so the developmental delay will be ignored. They will be labelled as just klutzy or lazy, when really, it might be something that occupational therapy can fix.

As parents, I think it's natural to push your kids towards their strengths. The question remains, should we push them towards their weaknesses as well to develop the most rounded kid we can, or do we just maximize the strengths.

Very interesting ideas.

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