Scott was told amblyopia (lazy eye) would deteriorate his vision. …
Father hears about how much vision therapy helped from another child at the park. ‘I couldn’t play catch before’.
There are few ways better to kick off a weekend then to feel like all the hard work put in during the week pays off in ways that truly better people’s lives. That’s exactly what happened this morning when I was told the story of a local Vancouver Island dad calling to book his son in for an appointment.
Like me, he was initially skeptical that vision problems could cause trouble with hand-eye coordination, reading, writing, or symptoms identical to attention deficit disorder (ADD and ADHD). My curiosity was peaked when I met an adult who had struggled with reading for years, and with vision therapy had successfully discovered that ‘he wasn’t stupid’ (his own words). After spending thousands of hours learning more, I discovered my own family had been impacted, and now I’m on a mission to ensure that nobody has to go through the same unnecessary struggles. More in the TEDx Talk here.
For this dad, he called in to book his son an appointment because of what he heard at the park. While playing catch with his son and some other children, one of the children started talking about how a year ago he couldn’t have done this. He then went on to say that his eyes had trouble working together, but that he had done vision therapy every week for quite a few months, and now his eyes worked great. School was better, and so were sports. This was enough to really peak the dad’s curiosity, so he wanted to see for himself. From the mouth of babes….
I want to add quick side-note about dyslexia, learning disabilities, reading disabilities and ADD or ADHD. Problems with how the eyes track, work together, or how vision is processed can cause symptoms that are identical to all of the above. This doesn’t mean that the problem is always visual, or entirely visual, although quite often visual function is a major component. Being tested for just seeing clearly and eye health totally overlooks the visual function. The wonderful part about testing tracking and other visual function, is that it either is a problem, or it isn’t. It’s easy to rule it in or out. If it is a problem, then we know that treating it will provide improvements.
It’s similar to if a child was at school without any pencils, paper, notebooks or similar. No tools. Their inability could be due to the lack of tools, or it may be multifactorial. Regardless, with the right tools they will be doing much better. Plus, once they have the tools they will benefit much more from any extra help or tutoring.
This story also highlights one of the most important parts of the process and the exam. For a child to understand that their reading/learning ability has nothing to do with how smart they are or their worth. It’s so critical to always take the time to explain to them that the reason they are having trouble is because their eyes are playing tricks on them. Just like if we tied mom’s shoes together and asked her to run across the room. She would struggle not because she was a bad runner, but because her legs weren’t doing what she wanted them to.
Seeing that this message got through to the young kiddo at the park warms my heart, and makes every long day worthwhile. I can’t go back in time to help my family members, but I can do my very best to reach every person who will listen.