Learning problems

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Corry

The saga begins in Kindergarten, when a bright, strong minded little girl goes off to school. Having been through a Pre-K program, she was not nervous or afraid. Coloring was fun; reading was not. Writing words off the chalkboard became such an unbearable task that she would not do assignments that required more than 15 words. When the Kindergarten teacher sent home “The Note” stating that this child was lazy, unmotivated and didn’t pay attention we were beside ourselves as parents as to what she was thinking and why she refused to try any harder.

As the years went by we attended teacher conference after teacher conference. The all said the same thing – Smart kid who just doesn’t apply herself…easily distracted…not our problem.

By fourth grade she was identified through a vision screening at school, as nearsighted, and we were directed to visit an optometrist. The Dr. said she was in fact farsighted and needed reading glasses. The prescription was given, glasses were made, and never worn. Problems continued to the year.

Alas, I have a sister who is an optometrist who had just completed training in vision therapy. When visiting the sister, she tested Corry’s eyes and did some “extra” tests to see if her suspicions were correct that Corry had more trouble than just being far-sighted.

To close the story quickly – All the years from K-5 Corry was not developing the visual skills that she needed to meet the demands and rigors of a student, athlete, and musician. By not being able to focus or change her focus from near to far and back her school performance was impacted. By being told she was lazy and unmotivated, she became unmotivated and her self-esteem dropped until she didn’t care to try any more.

Vision Therapy has enabled her to “see” at school, in the gym (she is a competitive gymnast) and while playing Violin (look at music, fingers and conductor). VY has improved her ability to concentrate, balance, and believe that she is the best that she can be.

As a PTA president, I intend to get better vision screening into our public schools to help parents identify similar situations with their children and offer them referrals so that they can save their children and themselves the ordeal that we have endured.

Written by Corry's mother

Claire

Claire is completing 9 months of vision therapy. It has given her a whole new chance at life, a whole new chance of learning so much closer to her full potential. Claire was 10 and starting fifth grade when she started the program. She was still reading aloud to me and then only what was absolutely assigned. I will never forget a night about 6 weeks into her therapy. She was reading aloud to me and without realizing, she just got into it. She stopped counting how many pages were left in the chapter and just read, engaged, not looking up, not being distracted by anything. Her voice even sounded strange as she, I think, without realizing it, tried to read with expression. Gradually, without exactly realizing when, it stopped taking all evening to complete homework and we started having a life beyond getting homework done. She also started talking about what she had learned in school. Before, her short term memory was enough of a problem that information never got home or got related to anything we may have talked about.

Some days later, we were walking in from the car and I was carrying, as usual, most of the grocery bags. She asked why! I said because I didn’t feel like arguing about what was fair and how many each should carry. She said, let me get some of those. And she did. It was as if she simply saw everything around her differently, saw herself as a part of it. She lost the constant ‘combativeness’ which was so exhausting. Now she is, for the most part, nicely cooperative, where we can do housework or whatever together without arguing.

Then there’s coordination. She wasn’t clumsy before, but she did manage to bump into something or in some way hurt herself every time things got stressful or rushed or she got too tired. So this was, basically, evenings, heading toward bedtime, and mornings, trying to get out of the house. It was a distressing pattern. It stopped. It just stopped happening! In addition, she had her best year of ice skating ever, as she gained peripheral vision and with that, more confidence in her jumps.

Before the VT, Claire had a real problem with paranoia. She always thought someone was behind her or off to the side watching her. This, too, has disappeared, I think, as she had defined her peripheral vision. She has also become more outgoing and has lost her fear of new situations.

There is much more, but this is enough to show how it has changed both of our lives - enriched it, opened it up, normalized it, filled it with more opportunity. Claire had at one time been diagnosed as ADD. I looked at her in the car a while back and realized she wasn’t, we had just had to find out what was causing the symptoms.

We thank Dr. Harris and our friends Lynn, Miss Liz, Elizabeth and Thelma.

You’ve given us much.

Claire's mother, 7/31/97

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