Meet Judy Our Vision Therapist
I’m definitely an extrovert but hate being the center of attention. I possess a voice that doesn’t need a microphone.
I’m a lover of books. Among my favorites, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, The Invention of Hugo Cabret and the Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I have a passion for history; it can teach us so much, if we let it (my eyes were glued to the TV watching the recent D-Day coverage).
I adore the play, The Lion King, can eat a whole order of fried zucchini at Sunnyside, crave the Rainier sandwich at 33rd st. Bistro, addicted to iced mocha cloud macchiatos and early morning walks with my dogs.
A perfect evening in my world is a storm outside, a new mystery by Mary Higgins Clark or watching reruns of Downton Abbey.
I can argue passionately, and I don’t give in easily. I get frustrated when a goal isn’t being met and will go over, under,through and around o make it happen. I enjoy compromising when it gets us closer to our end goal.
I love organizing closets, rooms, drawers, anything!
I am most thankful when I’m extended grace and mercy. I mess up on a regular basis, and when I’m forgiven I’m renewed.
How did you decide to become a VT?
When my son was in Kindergarten, he started to struggle in school. He had trouble copying off the board, recognizing sight words and keeping numbers aligned. When reading, he skipped lines and left out little words. It’s as though they weren’t there. He HATED reading, but loved being read to. He was the classic bright student who didn’t do well in school.
The usual teacher comments were, “He needs to try harder” or “I know he can do it”. I had no idea what to do. Google didn’t exist. I couldn’t search for, “my child struggles with reading.”
I took him to a tutor, with no improvement. Homework continued to be a nightmare.
No one seemed to be trained in identifying visual processing issues. I took him to an eye doctor. He told me it couldn’t be his eyes; because, my son had 20/20 vision.
After several years of searching for answers,I heard about Dr. Randy Fuerst. I had him evaluated. He didn’t have one functional visual skill. It explained all the reading issues, the frustration and avoiding reading at any cost.
After completing my son’s vision therapy program, Dr. Fuerst asked me to come on board as a therapist.
I was directing a preschool at that time, but as soon as the term was over, I gladly accepted the position.
That was over 30 years ago. Our vision therapy clinic is an amazing place. Affirming, encouraging, hopeful and results oriented.
I have never had a bad day at work, for that I’m thankful.
Why do you like being a VT?
I’m so grateful and blessed that I get to work as a vision therapist. I’ve been working at EyeCenter for over 30 years. How could I not love working with the best teammates, adults and kids on the planet?
Rhetorical question. It is such a privilege. No two days are ever the same. You get to think on your feet; adapting therapy to the specific needs of the patients. I get to participate in helping the child emerge into all they were meant to be.
Bright but frustrated children becoming confident in their own abilities. Students who couldn’t work independently are now able to turn assignments in on time. The very best stories, told by our parents involve catching their child reading with a flashlight under the covers, after lights out.
Our vision therapy clinic is a bright spot in the universe. The hope is contagious.
How would you describe your work style?
I researched work styles and up popped images of clothes. While I loved looking at the great outfits, I was pretty sure I needed to head in a different direction. With a little effort, I came upon descriptions of four different work styles. Mine was pretty obvious.
I definitely fit the supportive, expressive and emotionally oriented group. These are my people. I also love organizing projects, rooms, closets, anything.
Nothing makes me feel better than having everything in their place, making lists and then checking things off. When I was in college, I would take lecture notes using outlining with all the Roman numerals, letters, numbers etc.
How do you encourage a child to keep working at VT when they are feeling frustrated/down?
Vision therapy is very repetitive. Our patients are developing visual skills that need to be on automatic pilot. Sometimes after a few months of doing therapy, some kiids will hit a wall.
Encouragement to continue comes in a few different ways.
I tell them this eye stuff isn’t about them; it’s about their eyes. The smart part of their brain is way ahead of their eyes. I encourage them to continue to get their eyes strong enough in order to keep up with their smart brain.
To the parents, I suggest setting up a reward system for doing the therapy without a lot of complaining.
Sending them encouraging notes and letting them know I’m so proud of their efforts can help get them to the end.
I let the patients know that the therapy will still work, even if they don’t like it. The brain that’s making the eyes work doesn’t care if they like the exercises or not.
Our vision therapy clinic has this amazing technology called Right Eye. With two cameras, one for each eye, Right Eye records eye movements.
I show the patient the first time their eyes did Right Eye, and then compare the first time with their current results. It’s amazing to watch them observe how much more accurately their eyes can track, move their eyes accurately from one target to another and fixate their eyes on an object.
All of our patients and parents are the best you’ll ever meet. . It’s such a privilege to know them.