Most children have no idea how they are supposed to see. When they have double vision, when words jump around the page in a book, or when they lose their place so easily that reading and tracking visual stimuli is nearly impossible, kids assume that’s normal. They can go through life being affected by these visual limitations without anyone knowing. At EYEcenter we are very proud of our vision therapy program. It has succeeded in helping countless patients, young and old, live a more complete life by addressing the vision problems that glasses or contacts can’t help. Dylan is one of those patients, and this is his story, told by his mother.
“I have worked for EYEcenter Optometric for 6.5 years. One of my job descriptions is Vision Therapy Coordinator. I’ve talked to hundreds of concerned parents who have heard about us and wanted to know more. Their children had usually been told they had 20/20 vision, but they tremendously struggled with reading. These phone calls have lasted as long as an hour! Being a mom myself I always wanted to help in any way that I could.
Fast forward 6 years and my son was in first grade. Dylan really began struggling as he couldn’t keep up with the demands. His teacher even went as far as to thinking that he could have ADD. She also didn’t understand why reading was such a struggle for him. She informed me that a boy who had just moved to this country (English was his second language) was at the same reading level as Dylan. Dylan had the inability to stay on task (especially when it came to reading), and when he would read he would miss the simplest words (a, the, and, at etc.). We as a family worked so hard trying to help Dylan read better, but to no avail. Countless hours of frustration and wondering what I was doing wrong as a parent.
I spoke to one of our vision therapists, Judy Robbins, about what was going on. I didn’t know if this was a behavioral problem or if it could be more. She insisted on me bringing him in for a Vision Therapy assessment, so I scheduled a two-hour appointment for him. I decided to do the convergence insufficiency questionnaire we give to our patients. Two of the main questions that still jump out at me as he answered them was “Do you ever have double vision when reading?” and “Do the words on the page ever move around, float or appear to be swimming?” Dylan told me that it happened almost all the time!! I couldn’t believe it and was shocked! No wonder he was struggling so much! I didn’t know the questions to ask and he certainly did not know what he was seeing wasn’t normal.
At Dylan’s assessment, he was diagnosed with multiple visual processing issues. Dr. Fuerst explained to me in depth and with clarity what was going on with Dylan’s visual system. Dr. Fuerst made me feel at ease and let me know that Dylan was trying so hard to read, but his visual system wasn’t allowing it to be easy for him. Vision is so much more than 20/20!
We went through a Vision Therapy program that was specific to Dylan’s needs. It lasted about 4 months. We just had our final visit with Dr. Fuerst. Dylan’s measurements have drastically improved! Vision Therapy is hard work, but it’s hard work that definitely pays off. Through the entire process, both vision therapists comforted and encouraged us along the way. Reading should be natural, and for Dylan, it wasn’t.
Now after Vision Therapy, reading has become so much more natural for Dylan! It’s so nice to see Dylan’s confidence build. The new school year has just started, but I’m excited for Dylan! Dylan told me that when they are silent reading his teacher sneaks around trying to scare the kids and get them off task. She hasn’t been able to get Dylan off task! This is so amazing as I know less than four months ago Dylan would have never been able to accomplish staying on task while reading!! Thank you, Dr. Fuerst, Shirlene, and Judy. It is such a pleasure to work for a company with heart!”