Convergence Insufficiency Story
My son was told for years that he had 20/20 vision yet he complained of headaches and avoided homework. Even so, he was able to get high marks on tests; he was in honors classes and succeeded with teachers who were "active" in teaching. He took SAT's in 7th grade and qualified for the Center for Talented Youth and was two years ahead in science.
He was obviously an auditory learner. In classes that relied on paperwork, he could never keep up. He was always accused of daydreaming. He got into trouble for blinking. The teacher thought he was rolling his eyes out of disrespect.
He is now 16, and with the push for higher standards, he was really frustrated and suffering severe headaches when doing his school work. He was unable to keep up with homework, but he would always pass his tests. He became unusually fatigued.
There was a 504 meeting at school for him. I took him out of the honors classes and put him in regular classes. This past summer he was diagnosed as having severe convergence insufficiency (I had never heard of this before, and I have been teaching for 20+ years) and began Vision Therapy. At the end of November, he had made enough improvement to utilize near-point vision lenses. The difference is like night and day.
How can I help to spread the word about the need for earlier screening in schools so other children won't have to go through what my son went through? I have already been talking to everyone I can about this. I have contacted the PTA at the schools where I teach and where I live. I have been using the checklist in my classroom to observe the children more closely. The teachers in the district where I live are still very skeptical about this disability.
Christine Waters, Teacher and Parent
Before Vision Therapy, my daughter knew that she was different but couldn't pinpoint a specific problem. She struggled with instructions and seemed to be tired out with sports and school activities. Now when I hear of someone's child having these general difficulties, the first thing I think of is muscle-convergence disorder. Jessica has never complained about going to Vision Therapy sessions.
My name is Katie. I was in Vision Therapy because my eyes didn't work together very well. This made it tough for me to read and also to concentrate. In the beginning I was afraid. ... Some of the exercises can be challenging, but a lot of them are also fun and easy. I think that it is important for you to do your eye exercises everyday. If I hadn't then I probably wouldn't have gotten as much out of it as I did. This Vision Therapy has made a huge impact on how I read and concentrate today.
Katie (age 12)
My wife and I noticed that our son was having difficulty reading, spelling, and concentrating in school. As he entered second grade, these problems began to spread to his self-confidence and self-esteem, he developed a mild tendency for misbehaving in class. By the time he entered third grade, his teachers informed us of a continuing decline in his self-esteem, fewer friends, and more regular acting out in class. Since we know David to be a very bright kid, we decided to look into possible physical causes for his behavior. An Occupational Therapy evaluation by the Board of Education proved that OT services were not necessary, but that did not improve his situation.
Then we heard what Vision Therapy was doing with children that had similar problems. We had nothing to lose and so we made an appointment.
David's learning disability was diagnosed as stemming from the inability of his eyes to focus or converge together [convergence insufficiency]. This learning disability [learning related vision problem], without us knowing it, was the root cause of his social decline and rowdy class behavior. We were assured that this is a common problem. While it could not be completely eliminated, it could, with rehabilitation, be greatly improved. And improved it has.
Over the next ten months of weekly visits, the eye, hand and even foot exercises that David practiced greatly improved his academic, physical and social abilities. Most important was his improvement in reading. His reading level went from a second/first grade level at the beginning of the year to a fourth grade level by the end of the year. Coupled with this was his improvement in reading comprehension, spelling, and an overall increase in his level of academic performance.
Physically, David gained a great deal in tasks that require hand-eye coordination, such as writing (especially script) and sports activities. He is not as clumsy as he used to be (rarely knocking over his glass, always when it's filled with water, an occurrence that was once quite usual). Overall, David has greater body awareness, spatial discrimination and left-right orientation. He now knows which is left and right, north and west etc., something that he did not know at the beginning of the year. David has also increased his visual memory abilities - being able to remember directions, numbers and letters more easily. He has finally mastered the multiplication table!
Finally and perhaps most importantly, David's increased scholastic and physical abilities have made tangible progress in his social behavior. David has displayed an increase in confidence and self-esteem, gaining him back the favor of sorely needed friends. More importantly for us, his teachers at the end of the school year informed us of his greatly improved class behavior.
We are greatly indebted to Vision Therapy. I only hope that others will have the chance to experience the joy and pleasure parents find in their child's newfound future.
Teachers and other people who work with children should be aware of convergence disorders [convergence insufficiency] and the possibility that they may be a cause of reading problems. It has helped [our child's] self-esteem to know that she isn't "stupid" and unable to read. Her frustration is much less and she now knows this is a problem we can fix.
Karen W., patient's parent
Before we started Vision Therapy, we noticed Justin would push on the side of his eyes while watching T.V. He also had a lot of trouble sticking to anything that required reading or writing. Since we are home-schoolers, we knew first-hand that every day of schooling was difficult.
We found Dr. X by doing a search on the web for vision problems and Justin was diagnosed as having trouble with his eyes working together as a team, and they tended to point outward instead of straight ahead [exophoria, convergence insufficiency]. As a result, he was seeing double and having blurred vision.
Vision Therapy has helped a lot, he has less trouble sitting still during school and can now complete tasks that are assigned in a shorter time. He no longer has double and blurred vision.
Justin has been successful at his school work, and as a result, he has a better attitude and more confidence. We really appreciate all that Dr. X and the supporting staff have contributed to Justin's success with Vision Therapy. They are great to work with!
Janet Daniels, Justin's parent,
Since Alisha started Vision Therapy, her whole attitude and personality have just blossomed. Most parents get upset because their children are fighting over video games. My heart almost burst when my little girl finally took interest in video games because her eyes were working together.
The high point for us was when Alisha's AWANA leader and Sunday School teacher came up to us and told us how much improvement they've seen in her. We really appreciate all the hard work Dr. X and his staff put into our little girl. They are truly gifted in helping people achieve all they can be. Thank you!
Tammy, Alisha's parent,
As a result of Vision Therapy, my son is more driven and focused with his school work. He is better able to work with speed and efficiency and unattended. He is more self-confident in his ability to achieve in school.
Maura F., patient's parent
Concentration, comprehension, self-esteem, work pace, and errors are no longer a problem for Sarah! We couldn't have been more pleased with the Vision Therapy services and the progress Sarah made.
Betsy T., Sarah's parent
As a result of Vision Therapy, my child has taken an interest in school. Alex enjoys school now, and likes going to school. Before the program, he did not. He has more confidence, and even if he does get an answer wrong, he is enthusiastically willing to get it correct. He is reading much better. He recognizes words more. He can sound out words he does not know. He has better eye coordination.
I recommend Vision Therapy. It can make a difference in your child's life.
Elaine Hamilton, Alex's parent
Vision Therapy was an answer to my prayers. Jourdan's reading has improved, and her processing and comprehension of the information she has read have been significantly enhanced. The Vision Therapy program has helped Jourdan considerably. Jourdan was a procrastinator about doing her homework. She would put things off until the last moment, and getting her to complete the assignment was a chore.
There was a time when reading was an unpleasant task, but now because of this wonderful program, she is eager to pick up a book to read and enjoy! Jourdan can now stay focused until her assignment is completed. She shows a new-found eagerness to learn, which will make a big difference in her high school years. A big thanks to Dr. X and staff.
Percy Palmer Jones, Jourdan's parent,
Before beginning Vision Therapy, Jonathan seemed out of focus in terms of being able to concentrate on assignments, research and reading for long periods.
Since we started VT, I've seen significant improvement in all areas. He even gets his home assignments done before I ask, and has more time to do other things he enjoys.
I recommend Vision Therapy to other parents. I know Jonathan agrees with me. Keep up the good job you are all doing.
Our son Erik received Vision Therapy treatment nearly two years ago during the summer between the 7th and 8th grades. During 8th grade, his school performance gradually improved. He went from receiving D's and even an F in math in the 7th grade to receiving a 2.5 average. He also no longer suffers from debilitating headaches.
This year as a high school freshman, he has continued to improve his performance. We recently received his 2nd semester report card. His grade point average was 3.29 and he made the Honor Roll.
Erik now rarely suffers from headaches and has a completely different outlook on academics. Without the improvement in his focusing and eye coordination, Erik would not be so successful in many of his courses, which are reading intensive. We attribute this drastic change to the Vision Therapy he received. Eric's academic courses include two foreign languages, Spanish this year and Latin beginning next year; Government; Communications and Speech; Computer skills and other business courses.
We hope that others will be encouraged to accept Vision Therapy treatment to overcome the vision problems that may be disabling them.
Terrie A. Pohjola, Erik's parent,
The Vision Therapy our son, Stephan, received for his vision problems came about through a long process of elimination of trying to find the cause for his stomachaches, headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Before his Vision Therapy started, Stephan had to be picked up at school because of these complaints. Our family doctor could not find anything wrong. We took him in to check his vision again, even though he had just gotten new lenses three months before. No changes were found, but the optometrist recommended Dr. X and Vision Therapy.
Since completing Vision Therapy with Dr. X, Stephan has not missed school or had to see the family doctor because of his former complaints. At the same time, his seeing has improved. He now completes his assignments in the same time frame as fellow students, instead of last or not at all, due to not feeling good.
Now, more than six months since his Vision Therapy program was completed, Stephan is still maintaining good grades and good coordination of his eyes. His vision tests are better than they were before the therapy.
I would highly recommend Vision Therapy to improve eye coordination for those who have any problems.
Clair Drevs, Stephan's parent
Last year you saw our tenth grade son, Tim, because of learning and concentration problems that he was having in school. It was difficult for us to be certain what his primary problems were versus secondary ones, so it was with some skepticism that we initiated a course of Vision Therapy with Dr. X. We had hopes that by addressing Tim's eye problems, we might resolve his short attention span, aversion to reading, passivity in learning, minimal academic effort, and poor learning strategies and study skills. It was a tall order. Tim had already been tutored in organizational skills and taught how to use his learning style to his advantage. Seven months later, we have dramatic changes to report. Tim's eyes work as a team now and the [prism] correction in his glasses for his convergence insufficiency has been eliminated. He can read for an hour without tiring. He can attend to homework for hours with sustained focus. He is purposeful in his study strategies and he is becoming more active in his learning. His grades have improved, and he now talks about school and has a new air of confidence and sense of who he is. We continue to see new changes in Tim that are positive, and can now anticipate a bright future for him.
During a routine eye exam, Dr. X diagnosed Amanda with "convergence insufficiency." He recommended Vision Therapy. We agreed that she should do the therapy no later than 3rd grade. Amanda is a good student but her homework became a struggle in 2nd grade. Her frustration levels (usually manifested at home) were very high. She was angry with her parents and wouldn't cooperate with the routine.
After only ten Vision Therapy sessions, Amanda is taking the initiative and completing homework with less trouble. In the last three weeks, both my husband and I have noticed that her attitude has improved. She now tells us she loves us and hugs us spontaneously. She seems happier.
Greg and Ruth Shepherd, Amanda's parents,
John seemed to tire easily from reading. He took a long time to do his class work when it was written work. After four months of Vision Therapy, he is completing his work quicker. Since therapy, John enjoys reading to himself and does recreational reading daily.
John and Jean Gize, John's parents
Before Vision Therapy, we noticed Michael's eyes worked independently of each other [poor binocular coordination]. Since Vision Therapy, he reads spontaneously and his coordination has improved.
Michael A. Mastre's parents
Michael was having difficulty reading, and the more he read, the worse he got. He also had problems comprehending simple questions after reading something. Shortly after beginning vision therapy, he was eager to pick up a book and try to read it. Now Michael's reading is consistently improving. His ability to keep his place while reading is better and his comprehension is greater.
Shelli Krunic, Michael's parent
In my senior year of high school, my English grades were very low. I hated reading because I didn't understand anything I read. I was concerned about college. I felt really insecure about English and my level of reading and comprehension.
I've been in Vision Therapy for about two months now, 2-3 times a week. I have seen dramatic changes in my reading. I read a 350 page book in less than a week! It would have taken me months to read that before.
Vision Therapy is great. I only wish I'd gotten it sooner.
Trisha Diiorio, young adult patient,
My older son, Eric, had a problem in many subjects, especially math and reading. He was involved in sports, but far from a star. A vision exam suggested his eyes did not work well together [binocular vision, eye teaming skills, convergence insufficiency] and we were referred to Dr. X, who recommended Vision Therapy. Since Vision Therapy, Eric has progressed to a recent ninety-one percentile test score; a dream for him and for us.
My second son, Joe, had a problem with reading comprehension. He knew every word, but scored very low on every comprehension test. I would read nightly with him and watch him omit every small word (a, or, the). I thought he was lazy, but he was also diagnosed with the problem where his eyes did not work together. Since Vision Therapy, the results in his reading comprehension have changed dramatically. Thank you!
Patrick P.Totten, Eric and Joe's parent,
Vision Therapy has been a wonderful program. I can not believe the difference academically! I am so glad that you are helping kids in our area! There seems to be a great need for this. I am so glad it is helping so many kids ability to use their eyes properly and get rid of a lot of frustration at school and home! Thank you again!
Jay C, young patient,
Before I had Vision Therapy, I couldn't focus or see things as well as I can now. When I read a book, I would skip sentences or I would lose sentences. Now, with Vision Therapy, I don't skip a sentence or a word at all.
Now I can focus better too. Without Vision Therapy, I wouldn't be able to focus as well as I can now. The one thing I have to say is I didn't do enough home therapy sessions. I slacked off a lot in that category. So do your home therapy sessions on the computer! But regardless, Vision Therapy helped me very much.
Dylan J, Patient,
Grades went up.
Reading level up from 1.3 to 2.5 in 8 weeks.
Title One teacher couldn't believe it, as well as private college tutor and teacher at public school!
Prism glasses and further therapy equal no more hard times in school.
Much more confident and self-assured of his own ability.
Lisa Banyenbruch, parent,
Previous to Vision Therapy, my son, Justin, was having serious difficulties at school. He was failing. He couldn't see the letters or words on the blackboard or up close. He had difficulty using his eyes together and focusing up close. He couldn't see what he needed to in order to copy homework or schoolwork in the classroom.
Before we came to Dr. X, my son had eye exams at school and with our family doctor. He had a full vision exam as a toddler and that eye doctor told us to wait and see whether he would get better.
Following Vision Therapy, Justin has improved from a child who hated school to one who is willing - even eager - to go to school. He now has the ability to use both of his eyes together. He is able to read without headaches. He no longer cries when asked to read or perform tasks up close. Previously he would fight with us when asked to do anything that required close vision. Thanks to Vision Therapy, Justin now enjoys putting puzzles together, playing ball, and even the computer is fun for him. He is happier and more self-assured.
K. Lipka, mother of Justin,
I am writing you professionally so that my words may encourage others and give them hope through Vision Therapy. My background is in the field of Special Education. I have three credentials in the field of learning handicaps and a Masters of Education specializing in learning handicaps. I have 20 years combined experience as a special class teacher and Resource Specialist from the Montebello Unified School District, graduate professor for "Assessment and Curriculum Development" classes at La Verne University, and presently, I am the Director and founder of the Unique Learning Program (a pilot "Special Needs" program) for Whittier Christian Schools. Yet, when it came to helping my son with his visual perceptual difficulties, my credentials were not enough.
It was in the 3rd grade, when I noticed my son's reading difficulties. Although he comprehended with ease, and kept a straight "A" report card at a private school, to read a page out loud became his greatest fear. My testing of him academically found him at grade level reading in word recognition and in the 10th grade in reading comprehension. His ability was at gifted levels, but a keen eye would see that his fluency in reading was not consistent with what his abilities dictated. When he read, he would have difficulty keeping his place, he would misread words, or guess words that would work in context. To keep his grades at superior levels, Garrett needed to work very hard. He read through a developed ability to read by context and learned to answer any questions by deductive reasoning.
By the 4th grade, Garrett's esteem began to waver, and he began to doubt his gifted ability because he read with limited fluency. I knew that his difficulty had to be one of visual perception, yet after being tested by two reputable optometrists, they did not see a visual perception problem. I began to visit the Fullerton School of Optometry and buy texts that taught students about visual perception. I had my doubts about the validity of Vision Therapy, and decided to study the field as I attempted to work with my son.
I was not surprised to find out that Garrett needed Vision Therapy. He was found to have convergence difficulties (convergence insufficiency), which made his eyes overwork and become tired when reading. It was interesting to see that when he read using both eyes "teaming together"; his fluency was significantly slower than when he read using one eye. He was placed in a 6-month program and, because I trusted no one else, I brought my son to Dr. X's Vision Therapy sessions.
Within 2 months times my son turned to me at church as we were singing. He said, "Mom, I think Vision Therapy is working! I can keep up in the hymnal!" I stood there, tears welling up in my eyes. His progress also was seen in his oral reading at school. His teacher had noticed the improvement and considered Garrett in the top third of the readers in class. For the first time in his life, I saw him choosing to read in his free time. Soon, Garrett was always reading, and he loved it! His interest was growing in many areas, and soon you would find him looking up many things on the Internet and finding information on things independent of assignments or suggestions.
After just 3 months, Garrett was re-tested, and was found to not need Vision Therapy any longer. He had trained his vision to correctly perceive. His desire to improve his reading gave him the nightly discipline. His commitment allowed him to sometimes do his therapy even beyond the recommended time. He was diligent and dedicated. And because Garrett had only an isolated visual perception weakness, and did not have any other learning disabilities, I am convinced that Vision Therapy allowed him the life-changing joy of reading with ease.
Professionally and personally, I am convinced that Vision Therapy is real! It is a vital necessity for anyone who has a perceptual weakness to the point that it affects his or her ability to find success at school or in work.
With a thrilled heart, full of gratitude and the utmost respect
Mrs. Joynce Inouye, M.A., Ed.
Director of the Unique Learning Program and Specialist of Learning Handicaps
Whittier Christian Schools, Whittier, CA 90604, Excellence in Education since 1947
At the beginning of my daughter Holly's first grade school year she complained of not being able to see the chalkboard. I knew she loved glasses and really wanted a pair, but, thought it wouldn't hurt to have her eyes checked. I took her to an Optometrist and was told she had better than 20/20 vision. I was happy and bought her a cute pair of sunglasses.
Throughout the rest of the year her reading was progressing a little slower than I had expected. We have always read alot and I was sure she was prepared to learn to read and she really saw herself as a reader. It just didn't seem like reading was clicking like I thought it would. Her teacher and I had some discussions about this too. I assured her that her vision had tested "better than 20/20."
She remained with the same teacher as a second grader in a multi-age class. We both noticed odd little things in her reading. She missed simple words that I knew she knew. She skipped words and added words. Her teacher had discussed her with the reading specialist who didn't feel that she had a "learning" problem.
Near the end of second grade I heard about an eye doctor who specialized in kids with reading problems and made an appointment right away. Dr. X diagnosed Holly with Convergence Insufficiency. He arranged for Holly to do vision therapy at home. She worked really hard at home during the summer. At times she literally looked sick after a session. But, just before school started she finished her therapy.
I could not believe the difference in my child! She just finished third grade and is proficient in all areas. She is so confident and is just doing great in school. I don't think she could have kept up this year if we hadn't discovered her vision problem and corrected it. I just wish I had known you could have "better than 20/20" vision and not be able to unscramble the words on a page. I just wonder how many kids struggle through school with a vision problem that could be corrected and no one even knows.
Mary Augustine, Holly's parent
I lead an active lifestyle as a mom chasing after a toddler and as an RN working part time. Some of my hobbies are reading and doing needle work; however, these became progressively harder for me to do as I felt my eyes straining to see clearly. I also would get headaches after reading and would see double. I had gone to several eye doctors over the past years and each on e would change my Rx [prescription] for my glasses which would help for awhile but then my eye problem would return. After Vision Therapy, I fee my vision has improved considerably. I can read comfortably, I no longer see double and my eyes don't tire like they used to when I'm reading or using the computer. I was skeptical at first, but now I am a whole hearted believer in Vision Therapy.
Anne (32 year old with Convergence Insufficiency)
When I first started going to Dr. X for Vision Therapy, my eyes were uncoordinated and I saw double sometimes. The exercises I did were fun. I didn't know it, but my eyes were getting better all the time. Going to Vision Therapy and doing the daily exercises is a big commitment, but is really worth it. I really like playing tennis and going to Vision Therapy has made it a lot easier to play. Thank you Dr. X for helping.
Tate (age 7)
Source: Convergence Insufficiency
Please note: In-office therapy under the direction of a behavioral optometrist using prisms, filters and lenses, as used with our patients, is far more effective than home-based therapy.