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Does Vision Therapy Work?

Does Vision Therapy Work?
A Mother's Perspective

Does Vision Therapy Work?  This question has been debated for some time.

The following excerpt is a mother's story of her child's learning difficulties and why she and her husband chose vision therapy to help their child.

April states, in her post, "Why Vision Therapy?"...

"...it was during the second week of grade two when – following a discussion with her teacher who expressed concern about our daughter’s difficulty with copying from the board – that I decided to follow my instincts and get to the bottom of what was happening. Six and seven year olds shouldn’t have to work as hard as my daughter was to get through school. At the rate she was going, she’d burn out by fourth grade! She was already beginning to shut down in class, the signs were there: incomplete class work, poor attention span and she no longer participated in class discussions?! She needed more help than my husband and I knew how to give her.


COVD

The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) has a wealth of information specific to visual development. One of their articles entitled “Reading, Writing & Vision” very clearly outlines the connection between vision and reading. Specifically they state:

'When we read, we need to:

      • aim two eyes at the same point simultaneously and accurately,
      • focus both eyes to make the reading material clear,
      • continue or sustain clear focus, and
      • move two eyes continually as a coordinated team across the line of print.

When we move our eyes to the next line of print, we continue with the process'.

My daughter’s eyes aren’t able to do that for longer than a brief period. No wonder she was struggling while reading!

The article goes on to describe the connection between visual development and reading comprehension,

'In order to gain comprehension throughout the reading process, we are constantly taking in the visual information and decoding it from the written word into a mental image. Memory and visualization are also used to constantly relate the information to what is already known and to help make sense of what is being read.'

Another area of struggle for our daughter included writing. Other than perhaps not being able to see the line she was writing on very clearly, I wasn’t sure of the exact connection between her vision and writing until I read the following in “Reading, Writing & Vision”:

'Writing is similar, but almost works in the reverse order to reading. We start with an image in our mind and code it into words. At the same time, we control the movement of the pencil while continually working to keep the written material making sense. Throughout all this, we focus our eyes and move them together just as in the reading process.

Complicated visual procedures are involved in both reading and writing. A problem with any or all of the visual parts of the processes described above can present difficulties in some way with reading and/or writing.'

Another article I read, 'Learning Related Visual Problems Overview' also by the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, rang true with me. Especially when I read the following:

'As vision and learning are intimately connected, a vision problem can be easily mistaken for a learning problem. Youngsters with visual problems can be misdiagnosed as having Learning Disabilities, ADHD, or Dyslexia. There are various reasons for this misdiagnosis. For example, children who have learning-related visual problems cannot sustain their close work at school. They may be misdiagnosed as ADHD because children with ADHD also can’t sustain attention on their work. Same behaviors, different diagnosis.'

'Same behaviours, different diagnosis.' I have used that line when trying to describe our daughter’s situation to others including her teachers when they mentioned her seemingly short attention span for in-class assignments and independent work.

And finally, I came across an article on the COVD’s “Research & White Paper” page entitled, “The Latest Research on Convergence Insufficiency” outlining the findings of a 2008 research study known as the Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial (CITT) by Dr. Mitchell Scheiman, FOCVD:

'The CITT found that approximately 75 percent of those who received in-office therapy by a trained therapist plus at-home treatment reported fewer and less severe symptoms related to reading and other near work after the office-based vision therapy.'

In answer to the question of why we chose Vision Therapy, our answer is because it works, and if there’s an effective treatment that could help our daughter pursue her love of learning more easily, and helps her feel less frustrated at school, then my husband and I feel that we owe it to her to try. And at 12 weeks into a 40-week program, we’re already seeing subtle signs of its effectiveness."

Does vision therapy work?  April's Answer...

April's answer to "Does vision therapy work?" is YES!

As she stated in this post, she and her husband chose vision therapy because it works.  Visit April's blog and follow along with her daughter's vision therapy program.

Does vision therapy work?  Here's how to learn more...

Click here to read more about vision therapy.

You may also enjoy reading our vision therapy success stories to answer the question yourself:  Does vision therapy work?

 

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.

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