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WHEREAS, significant numbers of minorities have had little or no access to vision care; and
WHEREAS, there exists a prevalence of learning related vision problems in disproportionate numbers in our schools; and
WHEREAS, vision therapy is a component of the healthcare services provided by the profession of Developmental Optometry to treat learning related visual problems involving their binocular vision including, but not limited to: the need to increase the ability to focus on task, reading comprehension, eye teaming and eye focusing, and are often mistakenly misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder; and
WHEREAS, the children who are often misdiagnosed have been placed in special education classes in record numbers, as well as the fact that the rate of school drop outs along with poor academic performance is reaching epidemic proportions; and
WHEREAS, learning related visual problems can influence negatively poor social-emotional relationships, and family function, placing stress and self- esteem on the child, family, and a possible component leading to dropping out and juvenile delinquency; and
WHEREAS, a resolution was presented at the NAACP 100th Centennial National Convention in July 2009, voted on, and passed in favor of vision therapy for juvenile delinquents and newly released prisoners to prevent recidivism; and
WHEREAS, the United States Congress passed an amendment on April 19, 2009, to the Children's Healthcare bill, entitled Vision Care for Kids Act of 2009, which would provide a grant to low income status children to receive early vision care, screening and therapy, a timely diagnosis, intervention, and, when necessary, referrals for consultation and/or treatment by another health care provider or education professional. Additionally, state insurance laws will fully apply to each of the 50 state health insurance exchanges through which millions of Americans will purchase coverage when the bill takes effect; and
WHEREAS, the final version of the healthcare reform bill H.R. 3200: America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, passed by the 111th Congress 2009- 2010, then signed into law by President Barack H. Obama in 2010 includes several provisions that are expected to expand access to vision care, including the specific designation of vision care for children as an essential health benefit, with current vision care plans able to partner with major health plans for children's eye care.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP will encourage full implementation of the act, appropriate evaluation methods and management strategies be provided and utilized by our medical community, insurance industry and educate families and school communities to reduce the risk of vision problems interference with the learning process, and to inform the public about the importance of developmental vision screenings, and vision hygiene for successful learning, through the use of all media outlets in order to educate the community by holding workshops; town hall meetings; and meeting with State and National Legislators and the State Governors to give immediate attention to this matter and take aggressive action.