475+ PARENTS CAN'T BE WRONG
read just a few of the hundreds of Vision Therapy Success Stories now published at www.visiontherapystories.org. This web site offers over 475 enthusiastic testimonials written by patients, parents, and teachers. People of all kinds describe their success with Vision Therapy and ADD-ADHD, Blurry Vision, Brain Injuries, convergence Insufficiency, Dyslexia, Eye Strain, Headaches, NLD, Reading Difficulties, Vision-Related Learning Disabilities, and much more.
CHOOSING AN EYE DOCTOR
By Patricia S.Lemer, M.Ed., NCC
reprinted from New Developments newsletter Vol.3, No.4
A parent recently asked why I recommended that her child be examined by an optometrist rather than an ophthalmologist. The answer comes from my understanding of these two eye care professions and my personal experience. Both types of eye doctors examine and prescribe glasses, diagnose and treat eye disease, and can even evaluate how well a person uses the eyes together. However, each profession is unique. Ophthalmologists are trained to do surgery. I credit one with saving the eyesight of my daughter, who at age five, sustained an eye injury. Optometrists are schooled in the behavioral (or functional) aspects of vision. They are more apt to use lenses, prisms, and vision therapy to enhance and improve function. These interventions often improve childrens academic and other abilities.
Eyesight vs. Vision
Eyesight and vision are not synonymous. Eyesight is the sharpness of the image seen by the eye. Vision is the ability to focus on and comprehend that which is seen. Research has shown that most children with special needs do not have eyesight problems, while many have visual dysfunction. If a child has motor delays, vestibular difficulties, or health problems, vision is often compromised. The American Optometric Association recommends that children have vision examinations by six months. A good eye doctor can test many aspects of function at this young age and quickly effect changes with intervention. Most school vision screenings check only eyesight - only at twenty feet, not at reading distance. They rarely tell us whether a child has a clear image at nearpoint or how the eyes work together. The only information they provide is whether a child can see the blackboard. Many vision problems thus go undetected when parents have false security and brag, My kid's eyes are 20/20!
Vision is Learned
Vision, like reading, mathematics, and language, is learned. Giving meaning to what is seen begins at birth. In the developmental hierarchy, infants move without purpose, while their eyes learn how to work as a team, to sustain focus. Toddlers use movement to drive vision, such as shaking a rattle for its sound before looking at it. Finally, children can visualize without movement. Thus, for children to be successful in school, vision must purposefully direct their actions. Drs. Toler have video tapes available to help develop your childís visual system, call the office for more details.
Vision Must Become the Primary Sense
We hear a lot about individual learning styles. My child is a kinesthetic learner, a mother told me. She meant that her child is still using touch and movement to get information about the world. This learning style is more primitive than getting information visually. Well-functioning individuals store all types of sensory images and can visualize and retrieve them upon demand. They no longer need to touch and move to experience their world. Vision directs their thinking, organization listening and actions.
Vision Lays the Foundation for Language & Relationships
Vision plays a major role in language and social emotional development. Children with language delays, attention deficits, pervasive developmental disorders and autism all have inefficient visual systems. If a toddler is not speaking of relating to others, a vision evaluation is essential. A developmental optometrist can prescribe therapeutic and pleasurable activities to be done at home, during floor time, occupational and language therapy, or at day care. Combining the visual system with touch, movement, audition and social experiences benefits all areas.
CHECKLIST OF VISION PROBLEMS (print this out)
_______ homework takes hours and hours, when it shouldn't
_______ slow reading speed for age
_______ loses place, skips words, skips lines
_______ your child seems disappointed by their performance in reading and writing
_______ rereads for meaning
_______ head turns as reads across the page
_______ short attention span in reading or copying
_______ have you or anybody noticed one eye turning in or out
_______ your child complains of headaches after school or after reading
_______ your child complains of blurred vision at distance or when reading
_______ your child complains of eyes hurting or feeling tired after school or reading
_______ very verbal, good conversationalist, well developed spoken vocabulary
_______ listening comprehension superior to reading comprehension
_______ confuses left and right directions
_______ writes crookedly, poorly spaced, difficulty staying on ruled lines
_______ knows the material but test scores do not reflect his/her potential
If your child has two or more of these symptoms you need to contact our office immediately for an appointment.
TEACHERS CENTER (print this out)
Examples of students that can benefit from vision therapy
_______ the child diagnosed with visual processing and / or perceptual problems
_______ the child that does not answer
_______ one that keeps on guessing, hoping to hit the right answer
_______ the one who watches your face to see if he got the right answer
_______ the one who always to copy the first example and then can do the rest if they are all the same
_______ when the math problems require a variety of formula he is not sure which one should be used
_______ the one who says that he cannot do it over and over until you stop asking
_______ starts to cry so you stop asking
_______ the one who gives you the answers he thinks you want to hear
_______ the adamant one, once he gives you an answer will not change it
_______ the one who keeps asking questions until the right answer is revealed
_______ the memororizer who has trouble applying what he has memorized
_______ the devious child who tries not to commit himself so as not to be wrong
_______ the fast performer who starts and finishes well, but there are errors in the middle
_______ the child who resorts to always saying I don't know
A President of the United States daughter benefits from vision therapy.
Luci Johnson Nugent the younger daughter of President Johnson was a bright child but was an underachiever in school. She had a major vision problem that went undetected for years, although her father had the means to have her health problems diagnosed and treated. At 16 she was on the way of dropping our or school. You can't face the frustration of not being able to succeed indefinitely without wanting to run from the scene of your failures. After seeing an special optometrist it was determined that she had poor eye coordination, although her acuity was 20/20. Glasses alone did not solve the problem. To alleviate the problem, a program of activities and exercises (vision therapy) was recommended.
Leading Pediatrician speaks on vision and learning disabilities.
By Lendon H. Smith, M.D.
.... Developmental optometry, and its special method called perceptual sensory training, is for young and old alike. If you have tried all the nutritional changes that you can think of and the teacher says that your child just cannot get it, it would be smart to consult with a developmental optometrist. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, strabismus, amblyopia, and poor accommodation can often be figured our by the parents...but how the child processes what is coming into the retina and on the back to the brain for organization may have to be left to the optometrist, preferably one who does developmental optometry including perceptual sensory training.
Dr. Richard Hopping, O.D. president of the Southern California College of Optometry Fullerton, California, and a national spokesman for the Better Vision Institute (BVI) gives us this bit of startling news: In school screening detects only 20% to 30% vision problems. - The Facts, November 1991, OEP pamphlet