I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to compose this email. I realize that the longer I take to express myself, the more children get left behind. I just need to get it down on “paper”.
As background, my daughter, Chelsea, struggled in school. Even in Grade 5, teachers said that “she was a tough nut to crack”. She was described as an “emerging reader”. I didn’t understand how a child could be so smart, and be unable to succeed in school. None of her siblings struggled like this. Why was Chelsea different?
From Grade 1, each year started with the hope that “THIS WAS THE YEAR!” Every year, I talked to the teachers, we modified her expectations, and I gave feedback. I spent hours and hours each night trying to get her through her modified homework. All the effort was in vain.
Chels never made the list for OT time or a Psych-Ed evaluation, though I talked to her teachers and the school admin every year. She wasn’t the MOST disruptive kid – no one had her on the radar. If I hadn’t been asking questions, she would have been forgotten. She was, quietly, not succeeding at school.
From our side of things, she was awful! I dreaded picking her up from school because it was another hour of her “fighting” everyone. If I didn’t pick her up, her little sister bore the brunt of her temper on the school bus. In the 30 minutes I drove, she threatened to kill us all…and most particularly…set me on fire. She was well past her ability to cope by the time the school day was done.
And then we started at least 2 hours of homework.
Her grade 2 teacher expressed it best when she said, “I wish I could zip open her skull and see what was going on”. I couldn’t have agreed more!
No one in elementary school could help. Her teachers couldn’t help. LA couldn’t help. Doctors couldn’t help. No one could help us. We were drowning, and there were no life jackets. I was spending my nights combing the internet looking for something; anything, that might help.
I found a blog about Vision Therapy….in my continued research about how I could help my child, I found something that said, “That Is My Kid!!” A little more research and I found out that there was a new Behavioural Optometrist in Victoria. Initial visits were covered by MSP….therapy cost extra. But it offered hope. Where no one else could give me anything other than….”maybe next year”, VisionTherapy (VT) gave us some concrete evidence that Chelsea could learn to read…and become a good student.
Through VT, Chelsea is a new person. It’s not about being a better student…although she now reads at grade leveI. I don’t know how to explain the change….we fight about normal 13 year old things. None of her sisters feel threatened any more. I like picking her up from school. Her teachers think she is a good student, and a nice person. I like to be around my daughter, she is truly a pleasure! We aren’t worried about being burned to death!
All of this happened because I “fell into” a blog about Vision Therapy. I spent 6 + years looking for help….asking for help….begging for help. Finally, I found some answers.
I have attached a TEDx Victoria talk about Vision Therapy, and want you to know that the example reader was my daughter….she was “riding the broken bike”. There are other TEDx talks that discuss vision issues, and particularly, convergence Insufficiency. I encourage you to view them all. I’ve watched each one and recognized Chelsea in all of them. You will recognize some past students too!
I have shared this story with Chelsea’s teachers, doctors, and other parents. Word seems to be getting out….”if in doubt…check the vision system”. I now have them coming back to me with “thank-yous” and a general disbelief that Vision Therapy “exists”. Uniformly, people have been shocked that this isn’t general knowledge.
I want the school system to be aware of the issues surrounding vision, and save some families the heartache of what we spent 6 years fighting. Chelsea’s learning issues were easily identified- but not within the school or medical system. We struggled for 6 years with something that could have been identified when she was in kindergarten, with a very simple evaluation.
Please watch the video, and learn about a very important aspect of “learning”.
If you have any questions after viewing the video….please contact me!
Dr. Cam saved Chelsea. He saved our family. Chels is a confident, happy teen. Did I mention happy? Did I express how she succeeds at school?? Vision Therapy made it possible.
It’s not a question of, whether, our school system can afford it…but whether we can afford not to. Chelsea is the proof.