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Vision therapy questions...


thundersweet
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I think I may need to take my ds (7) to have his vision checked. We have been having issues with reading. I found a doctor on the covd.org website right near me. I would like to ask those of you that have done this what your experiences have been. Have any of you actually been told your dc did NOT need therapy? Dh thinks just walking into the place, they will automatically recommend therapy.

 

Ds is still sounding out every letter, sometimes forgets sounds, can't seem to really blend words together, rubs his eyes during reading, mistakes b,d,p frequently, ect. Too be fair, I have not been real consistent with him. He's all boy so I gave him some slack....maybe too much! So, I don't know if it's just his lack of consistent instruction or a real problem. We took a break over the summer but have been working daily over the last couple months. He has made some progress, he is a little quicker with sounding out words and not many sound mistakes.

 

Can anyone describe for me what happens during the initial testing? Do I need to get a traditional eye exam prior to this appt? I would also like to hear about your success.

 

So far we have been using the phongrams from SWR, then using readers to practice putting sounds together. He reads a book like this daily but again, sounds out just about every word. This is how I taught dd to read and she just took off. I just switched him to Phonics Pathways and that is going well. I can see now how much trouble he is having blending and this program seems really good to teach that skill.

 

Thanks,

Sandy

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My dd is about 9 weeks into her vision therapy. I was worried about the same issues your husband has, but found the Dr. we saw to be very honest about things. He also does routine eye exams and doesn't push therapy to those that don't need it. He also made it clear that if he felt we needed therapy and then after starting it we as parents didn't think it was helping we could stop at anytime without penalty and any sessions we'd paid in advance for would be refunded. He also does an evaluation after every 8 weeks or so of therapy to re-evaluate progress and make adjustments to the therapy activities and time frame.

 

You don't need to have a typical eye exam first that's actually part of the vision therapy screening. For us the Dr. did an initial exam which included the traditional exam as well as some vision therapy screening tests. He did feel dd could use therapy (which we were hoping for because at the age of 9 she still wasn't reading fluently and had all the issues your son has and a few others) We then came back for another exam/screening which helped the Dr. determine what types of therapy dd would need. When we started my mom was hesitant because many of the things we do for therapy don't seem to have anything to do with reading, but that's because my dd has binocular dysfunction (which means her eyes don't work together as a team, she can be looking at a book and one eye will go one direction while the other goes a completely different one) so many of our early therapy tasks are working on that.

 

Going for the testing was the best thing we ever did. Many kept telling us "she'll get it, she's just not ready to read well" or "She's artsy, so her brain just works different" or "you've been to inconsistent, pick one things and stick with it and things will be better in no time" Well none of that helped. My dd has made great strides with her reading since starting therapy. She's still not reading chapter books although she could, but it's still to much of a challenge for her to focus on that many words on a page, but she is reading picture books which often have harder, more challenging words, because the author assumes a parent will be reading it to a child. She's now sounding out words like "behavior" without to much trouble, before therapy she'd just shut down when asked to read, now she looks forward to it because she has tools to help her work through the challenges she has.

 

Our Dr. is also very pro-homeschool because most of the vision therapy work is done via homework, and we homeschoolers tend to not slack on that because we just fit it into our school day where as PS kids have to try to fit it in after a long day of school and homework from PS.

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There was an old thread on the SN board that asked this question: Has a COVD ever NOT recommended vision therapy for your child?

 

The results of the evaluation should include specific names for problems, if there are any (e.g., convergence insufficiency, tracking, focusing, etc.), and progress should be measurable.

 

Just FYI, not all developmental optometrists are equal. On the covd website, look for a FCOVD if there is one. Ask around for recommendations, particularly if you happen to have a regular optometrist or specialists in other fields (OT, neuropsych, etc.); they will often have opinions about who to use locally for VT.

 

Also, do visit the SN board, as there are a number of threads about VT.

 

FWIW, five of my kids have had their regular eye checkups at the office of our developmental optometrist. One is currently doing VT. At the two developmental optometrist offices we've been to, the regular eye checkup is a separate appointment from the developmental vision evaluation.

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Vision therapy was a trendy thing when I was a kid and my parents definitely hopped on the bandwagon and had both me and my dyslexic brother enrolled. I kind of liked it, actually... rooms of weird activities and games to do. *But* my brother was still dyslexic and I was still not dyslexic after two years of it.

 

I think vision therapy is harmless and benign, but I haven't read any study that shows it actually works. And I have read a few that suggest it is quackery. There's a list at the bottom here: http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/eyequack.html that shows the studies that do not show any evidence of it being effective. I'd love to see some solid research that shows otherwise, because I think vision therapy is a cool idea and I *wished* it worked.

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Vision therapy was a trendy thing when I was a kid and my parents definitely hopped on the bandwagon and had both me and my dyslexic brother enrolled. I kind of liked it, actually... rooms of weird activities and games to do. *But* my brother was still dyslexic and I was still not dyslexic after two years of it.

 

I think vision therapy is harmless and benign, but I haven't read any study that shows it actually works. And I have read a few that suggest it is quackery. There's a list at the bottom here: http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/eyequack.html that shows the studies that do not show any evidence of it being effective. I'd love to see some solid research that shows otherwise, because I think vision therapy is a cool idea and I *wished* it worked.

 

From the article:

 

There is a proven segment of vision therapy known as orthoptics which can help with symptoms of visual strain or fatigue in individuals with mild eye coordination or focus problems (including conversion insufficienty), double vision, or even strabismus ("crossed" or turned eyes) and amblyopia ("lazy eye") [6-9]. Many optometrists, ophthalmologists, and Certified Orthoptists offer orthoptic diagnostic and treatment services.

 

This is why it is necessary to have a diagnosis of an actual vision problem before doing vision therapy. Despite the article's vague characterization of covd optometrists otherwise, this IS what they do.

 

Even though there is no scientific evidence that vision therapy can improve academic performance, the public relations activities of these two organizations have persuaded many teachers and counselors to refer children with dyslexia to a behavioral or developmental optometrist.

 

If a developmental optometrist recommends VT solely to improve academic performance without a specific vision diagnosis, run. Vision therapy does NOT treat dyslexia. However, it's also important to note that it's not unusual for a person to have vision problems coexist with, or be misdiagnosed as, dyslexia.

 

There does appear to be a lack of consistency amongst developmental optometrists. In addition, in our experience, the scope of one developmental optometrist's practice may differ widely from another's. For example, our new one has an OT on staff (i.e., deals with much more than "just" vision, extending into other sensori-motor issues) and also works on vision processing after the more traditional VT stuff is done. In contrast, our old developmental optometrist worked only on the most narrow aspects (convergence and tracking, but not vision processing). These sorts of differences are important to be aware of, just so that you know what you're getting. Caveat emptor.

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My 8yo ds had 20 weeks of VT last spring. He still struggles with reading. Don't get me wrong, he has improved some since last spring, but not dramatically enough for me to say the VT worked. Now the vision therapist did say my ds's testing showed he is probably dyslexic, so I suppose that could be why VT alone didn't improve his reading much.

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Great information. Thank you ladies! So can other learning disabilities show up during the vision testing? Chloe mentioned testing showed her ds was most likely dyslexic. Can they rule out dyslexia during the exam?

 

Sandy

 

Optometrists are not qualified to diagnose dyslexia. While it's possible there could be indications of LDs such as dyslexia during testing, that would suggest doing additional testing with other professionals. Typically, dyslexia would be diagnosed by a neuropsych or similar. If you suspect dyslexia, it may make sense to both rule out vision problems and schedule an evaluation with a neuropsych.

 

There are lots of threads about dyslexia on the SN board. Also, it's worth noting that you don't need a diagnosis to use curricila designed for dyslexics.

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The OP's son sounds exactly like mine last year. They tested him for VT- which was quite a process. He wore glasses/goggles that followed his eye movements when he read certain things and it showed that they did not work together at all. We've been at this since the beginning of September and his reading has jumped 1 1/2 levels w/o much phonics work (I figured if he couldn't track, forcing phonics down his throat was asking for a child to hate reading, so we took a short break). I NEVER thought he'd read. I'm not a dr and I don't know if VT is for real or a quack type thing, but I do know that it worked and is working for my son.

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I was so skeptical at first and kept putting off the initial evaluation which ended up costing over $500.00!! But, my son qualified, and I'm already seeing an improvement. It is $$$$, but I believe it will be a "life-changer" for him. I think it truly does work. My dr. has a 92% success rate and has been doing it for 25 years.

 

My son (8) was not catching on to reading. He rubbed his eyes a lot and could be overheard saying, "I just need a new brain!!" One of the symptoms of the eye problems is covering one eye while reading. After I read about this symptom, I watched him read a more difficult passage to me and sure enough, he propped his left elbow on the table and leaned on his left hand covering his left eye while he read. I couldn't believe it!! The extensive testing they did showed that his eyes only "worked together" 17% of the time! -No wonder he was having problems!

 

You always worry whether or not something like this is a scam, but at my dr. office, they evaluate the kids often, and a lot of them end up not needing the full "30 weeks" that are recommended. Also, at my dr.'s office, there are hundreds of written testimonies by parents and kids about how VT literally changed their lives! From the symptoms you've described, I think there is a very good chance your dc needs it. If nothing else, going to the evaluation will at least let you rule out eye problems as an obstacle to reading. If you don't get the eval, you will probably always wonder how much it would have possibly helped him with reading.

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I realized I didn't answer your question about what the exam is like. It is a very extensive evaluation lasting over an hour. Lots of different types of tests to determine exactly what the problem is. You'll get a detailed report explaining everything. My dr. even showed me part of the problem. He held an object far away for son to look at, then gradually brought it closer to his face. As he did this, I saw ds's iris/pupil flutter up and down bc they couldn't focus in on something as quickly as they should. I suggest bringing your dh with you to the eval. One interesting side note, they gave us some questions to answer at home (as parents) that asked about the symptoms. When I read the symptoms to dh, he said he experienced more than 80% of the same issues when he was younger. Apparently, this runs in families.

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I was so skeptical at first and kept putting off the initial evaluation which ended up costing over $500.00!! But, my son qualified, and I'm already seeing an improvement. It is $$$$, but I believe it will be a "life-changer" for him. I think it truly does work. My dr. has a 92% success rate and has been doing it for 25 years.

 

My son (8) was not catching on to reading. He rubbed his eyes a lot and could be overheard saying, "I just need a new brain!!" One of the symptoms of the eye problems is covering one eye while reading. After I read about this symptom, I watched him read a more difficult passage to me and sure enough, he propped his left elbow on the table and leaned on his left hand covering his left eye while he read. I couldn't believe it!! The extensive testing they did showed that his eyes only "worked together" 17% of the time! -No wonder he was having problems!

 

You always worry whether or not something like this is a scam, but at my dr. office, they evaluate the kids often, and a lot of them end up not needing the full "30 weeks" that are recommended. Also, at my dr.'s office, there are hundreds of written testimonies by parents and kids about how VT literally changed their lives! From the symptoms you've described, I think there is a very good chance your dc needs it. If nothing else, going to the evaluation will at least let you rule out eye problems as an obstacle to reading. If you don't get the eval, you will probably always wonder how much it would have possibly helped him with reading.

 

I will call them in the morning to schedule an appt. I definitely want to rule this out as it has been nagging at me for some time now.

 

Thanks,

Sandy

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Wow, I'm away from the board for a couple hours and miss all the fun! :)

 

Yes, VT was a radical game-changer for us. Like the others, dd had specific diagnoses with eye teaming, convergence, focusing, tracking, etc. No voodoo, and it's not for dyslexia. It's for eye problems. She's still dyslexic (or at least what I assume is dyslexia), so we're getting the neuropsych eval. No, an eye doctor should NOT diagnose or exclude dyslexia. You go to the neuropsych for that.

 

The literature I've read is that a large chunk of kids with LDs will turn out to have vision problems as well. So it's not that the VT cures the LD. It's that both were going on and you don't even have a chance to deal with the one till you deal with the other. After a couple months of VT, things starting clicking for my dd that I had tried for *6 years* to teach her. So it's not one or the other; some kids have BOTH.

 

Yes, they should do a full regular exam to exclude the need for glasses, dilate the eyes to look for problems, screen. If you've already had that done elsewhere, they can accept the results of that and move on to the developmental eval portion. That for us was 2 1/2 hours, $250. They took the whole history, tested visual perception, had a thing called a Visagraph with googles to track eye movements, tools to test various aspects of eye teaming, convergence, focusing, depth perception. By the end they had demonstrated everything and I felt very comfortable moving forward with the therapy. Therapy was two sessions a week (we did them the same day with breaks between) and homework. The more you work, the more you get out of it.

 

It was HARD WORK, but the changes were life-altering. I don't even have time to go into it, but you can read my prior posts. We didn't realize she had no true depth perception. She stopped bonking into things. She can catch a ball. She stopped a lot of silly masking behaviors that were there to cover how unpleasant it is to live with fuzzy eyes and not have the world work right. And of course the school work changed. And she can do puzzles and enjoys things that are visual. Everyone's symptoms are different, so don't read anything into your dc not having a profile like mine.

 

I took my ds3 this week to the same practice, as we had seen some things that made us wonder if he needed some VT. They checked him out (yes, they have ways to check a 3 yo!) and cleared him. He'll need glasses someday, but for right now no VT. So no they don't foist it on everyone. In fact, I would say if you don't need it they *couldn't* foist it on you. I've done the VT exercises for dd, and I was fine with almost all them and flew through things that she took weeks and weeks to nail. The only ones I had problem with were things I knew going into it were problems for me. So if you don't have problems, they can't make it look like you have problems. It would just be glaringly obvious.

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We were originally referred to a VT specialist who made it obvious she wanted our child to have VT no matter what.

 

Our second Optometrist who specialized in VT, who had an established practice and had been practicing since 1977, obviously wanted what was best for my child. After 2 months of the perfect RX, we were told that my daughter was NOT in need of VT! You have to understand, we went into this session wondering how long VT was going to be and how expensive...instead, we left with a solution that didn't involve anything but an RX.

 

My advice is to do your research, and go with your gut.

 

P.S. My daughter was diagnosed with Amblyopia and significant hyperopia.

 

Best wishes to your child.

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We were originally referred to a VT specialist who made it obvious she wanted our child to have VT no matter what.

 

Our second Optometrist who specialized in VT, who had an established practice and had been practicing since 1977, obviously wanted what was best for my child. After 2 months of the perfect RX, we were told that my daughter was NOT in need of VT! You have to understand, we went into this session wondering how long VT was going to be and how expensive...instead, we left with a solution that didn't involve anything but an RX.

 

My advice is to do your research, and go with your gut.

 

P.S. My daughter was diagnosed with Amblyopia and significant hyperopia.

 

Best wishes to your child.

 

 

When you say RX, are you saying you left with glasses?

 

Thanks,

Sandy

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The Sponge has mild ambylopia, and there are studies showing VT's effectiveness for that. She had glasses, could read words in isolation through 4th grade level, but could not read a tiny two-sentence paragraph in an easy reader. She would only read large print. She reversed letters and numbers constantly. She banged into walls. She freaked out if you even asked her to read. She had an initial exam testing her vision, depth perception, tracking, etc. She showed enough problems in that exam with her convergence (using both eyes together) that they gave her the long exam--an hour testing many different areas of visual discrimination, tracking, processing, coordination, etc. She was diagnosed with convergence insufficiency plus serious tracking problems and milk depth perception issues. (She also had one area where she scored in the 99th percentile for kids a year older, and fairly high in a few other areas, so the tests weren't rigged to fail.) She's been in VT for a couple of months and is reading a Magic Tree House this week. She loves the fact that she can read chapter books now and announces it to everyone, lol. She began reading noticeably better the first week of VT. She has also stopped banging into the edges of things.

 

I brought The Drama in to the same place for a regular eye exam, and not only did they not find any issues that needed VT, but the doc said she was ahead of developmental schedule on some tracking skills. They are also working with us re: The Sponge's sessions and our serious lack of funds. They want her to get the VT she needs even if they aren't making money.

Edited by LittleIzumi
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Thank you. OhElizabeth. My husband is a Fellow of the COVD and I am trained in vision therapy. VT is for the remediation of specific visual issues. Period. Sometimes these changes result in improved academic performance. Often, these changes result in greater comfort, coordination, etc. A visual assessment should assess each of these visual skills:

Tracking

Fixation

Near Visual Acuity

Distance Visual Acuity

Accommodation

Binocularity

Depth Perception

Peripheral Vision

Maintaining Visual Attention

Gross and Fine Visual Motor Integration

Visual Perception

Visual Memory

Visualization

 

Often, these skills are trained with load added to increase function. Often this load takes the form of academic content, but the purpose is always visual.

 

I have also been a VT patient. I have still got rather severe convergence, binocularity, and other issues, and I never had any learning difficulties. VT increased my comfort, endurance, and general quality of life.

 

Get an assessment and ask for the results in terms of visual function and then decide to what degree you feel the issues presented are impacting your child's learning.

 

Best Wishes.

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http://visionhelp.wordpress.com/

 

I checked in at this excellent VT blog and found these boards referenced! See what a leading optometrist in the COVD is saying about us!

 

My goodness, I don't know what to say (considering I was one of the ones quoted), except that I wouldn't have thought he could just go harvesting so much of our board and putting it on his site. But whatever. Thanks for sharing!

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I just wanted to jump in and agree with everyone who said it's the best money they ever spent. However, please pay attention to cost. The first VT we went to wanted $7,000 and a one year commitment! I got a second opinion. I found a better therapist and only paid $1,400 for 27 weeks of therapy.

 

It is truly a life-changer for those kids that need it.

 

Holly

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I just wanted to jump in and agree with everyone who said it's the best money they ever spent. However, please pay attention to cost. The first VT we went to wanted $7,000 and a one year commitment! I got a second opinion. I found a better therapist and only paid $1,400 for 27 weeks of therapy.

 

It is truly a life-changer for those kids that need it.

 

Holly

 

Wow, that's amazing. And what's terrible is that there are different ways to spin it. Maybe the doctor legitimately thought his clients (I say clients, not patients, with that much money changing hands, mercy) did better and showed better adherence and compliance when they paid that much upfront? But from a patient perspective, that's HORRENDOUS. That gives you no chance to realize the doc or therapist is ineffective, disorganized, a bad personality fit, or even just that your dc has anxiety, ODD, or sensory integration problems such that it's not going to work till you get other therapies first. So that's SO good that you avoided such a mess, mercy. And that 2nd price, wow what a bargain!

 

So are you done? Did you end up doing a neuro or ed psych eval after that? I don't know that I've noticed your posts before, so I was interested in your story. :)

 

Wapiti-Yes, that cracked me up how much he quoted me. I think my head got a little big. :lol:

 

Thundersweet--Keep us posted on what you do and how it goes. Like you, I taught my dd to read with SWR with very good results BUT THE CHILD COULD NOT SOUND OUT WORDS. And yes, she did turn out to have vision problems requiring VT. But even now, having done VT, there are still oddities that remain with comprehension, how she deals with vocabulary (especially foreign), issues with writing, etc., so we're doing the neuropsych eval. I'm not meaning to scare you, but it's not a pat answer or just one thing most likely. What happens is the dc is so gifted (the first E) that he can cover over the LD (the 2nd E) with his strengths. At some point he can't hide it anymore, and you get these odd mixes. Since your story, as I reread it, is so similar to the way dd presented at that age, I mention it. Do the vision, but if you have any flags after that (attention, comprehension, oddities with how they handle other language tasks, whatever), go ahead and get more evals.

Edited by OhElizabeth
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My 7yo is about 2 months into VT. It has made a WORLD of difference to her, as if a door that was locked has just opened up to her!

 

Prior to therapy, she was sounding out words in isolation, but was very inconsistent. A line of print was impossible and even beginner readers were just too much for her. She struggled with reversals with both reading and writing. She was so eager, but everything was a struggle.

 

She was diagnosed with several very specific problems related to tracking, eye teaming, and convergence... though I don't know all the medical terms. ;) She was way, way below her age in everything.

 

Now, after just 2 months (2 sessions each week), she is READING, really reading. And not just CVC words and beginning books either. She can sit down with long paragraphs and words like swimming, eating, eagles, etc. Her writing is beautiful, with proper spacing between letters and words. She very rarely reverses anything now and she immediately self-corrects her occasional reversals. I never would have imagined this kind of change would be possible.

 

Best of all, my sweet girl recently told me, "Mom! I didn't know reading could be this fun!" :)

 

We paid $3200 up front for 32 sessions and it's been worth every penny! She still gets tired after a while and some days are just worse than others for that. She can't tiny print yet. She has about 10 sessions left. I think we will continue to see progress.

 

I am a huge believer in VT! I am sure that everyone has a different experience, but ours has been nothing but positive so far.

 

Melissa :)

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Optometrists are not qualified to diagnose dyslexia. While it's possible there could be indications of LDs such as dyslexia during testing, that would suggest doing additional testing with other professionals. Typically, dyslexia would be diagnosed by a neuropsych or similar.

 

Yes. His doctor said he was most likely dyslexic, but he would need further testing by a neuropsychologist to be accurately diagnosed. We opted not to have him tested. The vision therapy helped little, if at all. And from my experience trying to teach him to read, my gut tells me he is dyslexic. I'm not a doctor or reading specialist or anything, but I have taught all four of my dc to read. There is a definitely a difference. Many of the signs are there.

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Thank you so much to everyone! I did schedule an appt with a fellow on Dec 7th. I can't wait. I just need to put this to rest. Dh thinks it's mostly because I have let him be and not pushed. He thinks I haven't worked with him enough. Maybe, but it makes me feel better knowing for sure. The one thing I keep thinking about is the rubbing of his eyes with his fists when he reads. He says he can see fine. He can't tell me why he does this. But what does he know right?

 

I do have a question. How does one go about getting a neuropsych eval? I am in Roswell, Ga if anyone may have a recommendation. I don't think he is dyslexic based on what I have read. It does sound like he may have a vision problem. At least I hope that's all I'm dealing with here.

 

Thanks again,

Sandy

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The testing is about 2 hours long--very thorough and not like a regular eye exam.

 

I agree with what others have said about getting specific diagnoses etc... One thing I'll add--I've heard that not every office checks primitive reflexes or works on integrating them. In my son's case, this was a crucial piece--he did not make more than minimal progress until we had passed these roadblocks, and it was hard work, sometimes emotional work, and it took a long time--about 9 months in my son's case. I'm sure for some this would go faster, and some kids may not need to work on reflexes. My son's VT felt that it was so important that his doctor said it wasn't worth doing VT at all w/o working on them. I had read similiar imput on here and on another board I'm on, and it's something I specifically looked for in an office.

 

HTH some, and I hope your son can get the help he needs. With the issues you mentioned, I'd almost be surprised if he didn't have some kind of vision processing issue.

 

Merry

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I agree with what others have said about getting specific diagnoses etc... One thing I'll add--I've heard that not every office checks primitive reflexes or works on integrating them. In my son's case, this was a crucial piece--he did not make more than minimal progress until we had passed these roadblocks, and it was hard work, sometimes emotional work, and it took a long time--about 9 months in my son's case. I'm sure for some this would go faster, and some kids may not need to work on reflexes.

Merry

 

I want to add onto what MerryAtHope regarding integrating reflexes (and I'm thinking I mentioned it as well on another thread elsewhere), which is this: my son coincidentally began VT at the same time he started Physical Therapy. We initiated PT for toe walking (no longer sensory related as his muscles have weakened and can no longer pull toes up to walk on heals). However, PT found he retained many reflexes. She spoke to me about what this looks like in older children and they exhibit all these symptoms my son has and this includes the vision issues. She has actually been in contact w/ not only the therapist but also the Doctor to discuss how she can reinforce on HER end what they do here.

 

 

My son's issues have turned out to be extensive and much more complicated to treat than originally suggested (by both PT and VT). Treatment has been extended for both practices. But, he is dramatically improving and we feel the time, money, exhaustion of homework is absolutely worth it.

 

I've been really pleased at how wonderfully these two specialties are working together even though one would 'think' they're not related at all.

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Sandy, he can't tell you what's wrong, because he doesn't know any differently. My dd was older (10) when I got her checked. On the way there I asked her if there were anything I ought to know about her vision. She asked me if I'd like to know how she "fuzzes" things. What?? Yup, she thought it was NORMAL to have to pick what she was looking at and make it focus and to have things be fuzzy when you don't. I mean stinkin' for REAL, how is the child to know differently and how are we as parents supposed to know THAT is going on?

 

So if he's rubbing, get him checked. I'm glad you can get in soon. Hopefully they take good care of you. Report back when you find out. We love hearing about kids helped by getting the right evals. :)

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I didn't read all the threads, but I will tell you our experience. He had given her a regular eye exam at K. She was fine, but I noticed some signs: reversing letters, being able to spell the word but not read it in a sentence, having to point to where she was in her violin music or she couldn't read it. She just wasn't reading like my boys, so December of her 1st grade year I asked him about it since my middle one had a little bit of vision therapy with tracking issues. If I remember correctly, the test took 2 to 3 hours. I wasn't in there with her. I know that they did an IQ test as well. He said one of the things he looked for was a discrepency between the IQ and then the test results. If the IQ is close to where they are performing, then they can't really help them. I know they also put electrodes on her head at one point that actually tracked on a computer screen where her eyes were looking.

 

For her, the she did not track right to left. Also, she couldn't track anything for very long at all. Her eye muscles were very weak. Their IQ test only went up to 7th grade or something and she aced it. The tester said she had never had any child do that well on it. But on other parts of the tests her skills were pre-K. There was a HUGE discrepency.

 

 

It made a HUGE difference. One thing he told me is that a lot of people do not finish the program. Their kids cry, get frustrated and stop. I was aggressive. She was saying she hated reading before we started this. She would cry. She would never read. She hated books. ( Unless I read them to her!) Therapy was hard. It made her brain hurt. She cried. I ignored her. We did it anyway. Every day. After a year and a half we finished.

 

This child zooms through books now. She tells everyone her favorite thing is to read.

 

Same doctor different patient. Friends of ours actually did it before us. Their daughter hit the 3rd grade and just failed the TAKS test..badly. She couldn't read at all!!!! They also did the therapy. She really encouraged my daughter and me when I did it. Oh yes, you are doing that part?? She cried and cried during that part, but it got better. She is currently in 7th grade and just qualified for the Duke Tip program with her reading scores!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so excited for her.

 

So to me, it is helpful in some situations.

Edited by choirfarm
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OhElizabeth,

 

He is done! He is still a slower than average reader, but the VT believes he just needs practice - all mechanical issues are handled. T.'s problems were very straight forward once we found the right therapists and had an appropriate eval.

 

T.'s story is not unusual. He was a late (9) and struggling reader. I discounted eye issues because he is an excellent athlete and very coordinated. The $7,000 doctor happened to have a booth at our homeschool convention, so I stopped and chatted with him. Thus began our adventure. His main problem was binocular - his eyes did not work together and the difference was significant. He had other issues, like restricted field of vision, but VT solved those as well.

 

I believe the difference between the two therapists stems from their respective business models. The Dr. asking $7,000, is striving to make a significant profit from the therapy side of his practice. He regularly counsels families to take out a second mortgage to pay his fee! Our therapists makes some profit, but obviously not much. They offer the therapy because they believe in it. Their profit comes from other avenues - glasses, contacts, etc.

 

Anyway, I got a bit long-winded there, but if anyone has more questions, feel free to contact me.

Holly

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My mom has dyslexia (not formally diagnosed, so she may have other issues that just show up in a similar way). I have 4 kids. For 2 of them, it was VERY clear VERY early that they had vision issues.

- Consistently coloring out of the lines by equal amount all the way around. (So it looked almost like a really thick border around the black line.)

- Tripping everytime they came to a change in flooring, like where carpet meets hardwood.

- Mastering stairs was a nightmare as they constantly misjudged where the edge of the step was.

I could name 15 more things if I wasn't hurrying!

 

As the issues they have are genetic (looks JUST like some of my mom's problems), we went ahead & had the other 2 tested just to check.

 

After working with Elise for maybe 45 minutes, he told me that he would go ahead and finish his testing, but that she was doing better than average on every single measure, so she would definitely not be needing VT.

 

Meredith scored below average in the same areas that the two in VT were struggling with, though not nearly as low as they did. The doctor was on the line as to whether she needed therapy or not. He ended up recommending that she participate in all the VT homework with the other two, and that she be retested in 6 months.

 

All 4 of these kids have been seen by a highly-respected opthamologist every 6 months for several years. (I knew something was wrong with the 2, and might as well get all 4 checked if you are going.) The opthamologist patched one, and put the two in glasses, and basically said that was all she could do. We found that they were able to focus for short periods of time to get through her eyetest, but that wasn't a reflection of what they actually see most of the time. They can't hold that focus.

 

Of the two in VT, one has made amazing progress. He went from falling down the stairs several times a day to now maybe once a week. (It was such a problem that I have bean bags that live at the bottom of my stairs even though he wasn't supposed to go up and down without holding my hand b/c he did it all the time anyway!) He has also gone from non-reading at all to reading everything with very very little instruction. (I did tons of instruction before starting VT, and then was told to put it on hold, so I guess what I did previously is "taking".)

 

My daughter has also started reading, though not as proficiently as my son. I can see definite improvements in her (coloring & handwriting). But the differences aren't nearly as obvious as they are in my son.

 

The third child who may or may not be getting VT is not reading at all. The fourth child who has great vision & has had a lot less reading instruction & is 17 months younger is reading CVC words plus a few more. Much better than child #3.

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Vision therapy was a trendy thing when I was a kid and my parents definitely hopped on the bandwagon and had both me and my dyslexic brother enrolled. I kind of liked it, actually... rooms of weird activities and games to do. *But* my brother was still dyslexic and I was still not dyslexic after two years of it.

 

I think vision therapy is harmless and benign, but I haven't read any study that shows it actually works. And I have read a few that suggest it is quackery. There's a list at the bottom here: http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/eyequack.html that shows the studies that do not show any evidence of it being effective. I'd love to see some solid research that shows otherwise, because I think vision therapy is a cool idea and I *wished* it worked.

 

There is no reason for a typical child to do VT, and I can't see that it would do much. I have seen huge differences though in my kids, but their conditions are included in the list that has proven.

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Vision therapy does NOT treat dyslexia. However, it's also important to note that it's not unusual for a person to have vision problems coexist with, or be misdiagnosed as, dyslexia.

 

I have to imagine that is what happened with my mom, given that she is called dyslexic, but has the exact same issues that my kids do, and their therapy seems to be helping them. Makes me think my kids would eventually be called dyslexic if we didn't do this therapy.

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My son 9 started vision therapy when he was 8. He finally was able to tell us that he couldn't see out of one eye. That clued us in. With both eyes open he could see great. So we took him to a normal eye Dr. and she couldn't really give us a prescription for him cause his vision was so bad, almost blind in one eye, but perfect in the other. That's why we had hadn't really noticed before. He did have a reading delay and everything your son has been doing. Hadn't really thought that his reading delay was a cause to his eyesight. After going to the vision therapy for the first screening we were made away of how bad his vision was. WOW! But after only 1 month of wearing a good prescription his eye sight already improved greatly and we were able to already change his prescription. It has only gotten better since then. Even taking a year off cause of moving and having a baby his eye sight didn't get worse again but even got better. After we started back up again recently we go about 1 time a month, and his eye sight continues to get better each time. We have even hit huge milestones in the therapy which are huge praises. A lot of patch time though but after his eyes were working together more and he got glasses that's when his reading really took off and now he can't put down books. We even have had all the children tested by the vision therapy Dr.'s cause it is hereditary. They can see into the eye and give you exact prescriptions and eye health so much better then just normal eye dr.'s. Our 16 month old had one recently and they were amazing with her. They could tell me everything about the health of her eye.

So I would say it is definitely worth everything you've got to take him.

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