When I first met Helena she was referred to me after her mother told her routine optometrist that Helena would close one eye when reading. Helena was doing well in school, although she did not enjoy writing, and a previous teacher had told her she had dysgraphia. One time she reportedly wrote an entire page of work in a mirrored fashion. Her tests often took her longer to complete, and she often lost her spot when copying from the board.
Helena worked very hard to achieve her academics, and was often incredibly stressed out. She would read to achieve at school, but hated reading otherwise. An avid musician, she loved to play the harp, but struggled with sight reading music and would often memorize her music instead.
What we Found
We discovered that Helena had trouble with how her eyes worked together, how accurately they tracked, and visual processing deficits. The the technical terms for these issues are: ocular motor dysfunction, divergence insufficiency, convergence insufficiency, visual processing deficits.
THE SOLUTION AND PROGRAM WE CAME UP WITH
Helena immediately began vision therapy at McCrodan Vision Development, and we saw her for 50 minutes per week. Helena was also responsible for the home component of her therapy that amounted to close to 20 minutes 5 times weekly.
Observations over the next 9 MONTHS:
- While we saw the visual skills improving in clinic week to week, it took almost 8 months before Helena’s family saw the carry over to her academics and life.
- There were times during therapy where her skills were challenged as they were developed.
- By 7.5 months the girl who announced she hated reading would enter the clinic with a book in hand.
- By 8 months she was invited to take part in reading competitions.
- Her family and friends all noted the positive changes in her demeanor.
- At the end of therapy, Helena, a girl who had been told she had dysgraphia, wrote a thank-you note in some of the most beautiful cursive I have ever seen.
Helena’s eyes now work efficiently and accurately. All of the previous diagnoses are no longer applicable. Her visual system now has the skills it needs to operate efficiently, and Helena continues to accelerate in her visual development. Vision therapy has given Helena all the visual skills she needs, and it will continue to improve as she now applies those skills to the rest of her life. Helena’s musical abilities have soared, and her family has reported that her social circle has expanded as she is under less stress.