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Anxiety in Children

I recently read a post on a Facebook site for Occupational Therapy for Children where the author wrote that the number one referral received for occupational therapy intervention for children is for anxiety.

The post went on to state that anxiety can significantly impact performance with daily activities at home, school, and leisure activities. Occupational Therapists use a variety of approaches in helping children manage their anxiety such as exercises to work on retained primitive reflexes, investigate any sensory concerns that could be contributing to the issues, help children learn how to breathe correctly, and use a variety of games and activities to relax the neurological system and improve confidence!

Right away I thought of visual stress and its impact on anxiety, sensory issues and the neurological system. 

Visual Stress happens when the visual images become too much for the visual cortex to handle, the brain becomes hyperexcited and visual sensory processing becomes negatively affected. This can lead to sensory overload, effecting other sensory areas such as hearing, and if left unchecked, can lead to anxiety, especially when in (or having to go to) visually stimulating environments with lots of lights, patterns and visual movement.

Fortunately, we now know that therapeutic accommodation with colour using precision tinted lenses, coloured lights, screen tinting software and other colour filter tools act to relax the neurological system and normalize visual sensory processing by removing the effect of the visual triggers.  If the visual stimuli are not filtered or altered with colour, then the hyperexcitement may cascade from the visual system into other areas of the brain affecting other sensory functioning.   

With reduced sensitivity to the triggers from lights, pattern, visual movement and sounds, the neurological system is calmed and the child can relax and feel more comfortable in their environment. You will find that the are now more willing to go places where they knew they would otherwise, without their filters, be overstimulated.

For more information, please refer to our section on related conditions.

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