Vision Therapy for ADD – ADHD
Due to her Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and a reading and vision disability, it was not an easy task to help my daughter. She needed patience from a doctor with a combination of “tough love” to get the tasks done and a special blend of gentleness and caring. Dr. X has been wonderful in knowing how instinctively to deal with my daughter at each Vision Therapy session. The progress has been slow but steady and each month a new discovery about my daughter’s eyes is made. She was unable to read a children’s book with big print, now she’s reading materials that the teachers thought were not possible before.
I’ve made many trips to the Vision Therapy program and all of them are worth it. I didn’t know so many problems could affect the eye.
from a Grateful Parent
At the end of the 4K school year, my 5 year old son could consistently recognize about 4 letters and 1 number. We completed a battery of psychological tests and were told he was ADHD. I didn’t buy it. I wasn’t looking for behavioral problems; I wanted him checked out because he didn’t know his alphabet. He has excellent verbal and vocabulary skills, so I felt the need to keep searching.
After visual exams with three different eye doctors, we determined he had trouble with binocular [two-eyed] vision, focusing, and eye movement and tracking. We started and completed 36 weeks of Vision Therapy.
Less than six months ago, my son knew only four letters. Now he knows the entire alphabet, all of the numbers, and is actually reading. His teacher says he’s ahead of schedule in kindergarten and is actually helping some of the other kids in his class that can’t sound out words. The increase in his confidence is amazing.
The 4K teachers advice was to let it ride and see how he does in 5K, she felt it was a developmental thing that would pass. The psychologist wanted us to consider Ritalin. Thank God we continued to search for an answer!
Debbie Perdzock, parent
Kaitlyn has had problems with handwriting. She tends to have difficulty with letter size, spacing, and writing on a straight line. She is a poor speller despite her advanced reading level. She tends to skip words when reading, although it doesn’t interfere with comprehension. She also has difficulty with transcribing words from one list to another, board to paper etc.
She has poor body awareness (appears clumsy) she’s unorganized and has difficulty staying on task.
At the age of two, Kaitlyn was evaluated by an ophthalmologist due to low visual acuity. An MRI was done to rule out any neuro-masses. At age 8, she was seen by an optometrist and fitted for glasses.
Kaitlyn was recommended for testing to rule out ADD. She was evaluated by three educational psychologists. It was recommended that she have a developmental eye exam due to an overall weakness in visual-spatial and visual-motor skills.
Since Vision Therapy, we have noticed a big difference in tennis (her timing has improved so much!) and softball. Kaitlyn is doing very well in school this year. Her handwriting has improved. She states she is able to copy from the board faster. She is able to read her music better, and she also says that her vision is clearer. What she likes best is that she learned to strategize and approach her school work and sports differently (using a broader view) [increased visual field and peripheral vision].
I wish we had detected this problem sooner then Kaitlyn would not have encountered so many problems. She would become very frustrated, especially with her spelling, writing, and drawing. Starting Vision Therapy in the summer prepared her for school in the fall. We have heard only positive reports from her teachers this year. I feel her self-esteem has improved so much and she seems less focused on small details and views things more globally, which allows her creativity to emerge. She has taken a different approach to solving problems – she says her therapist has taught her strategy to tackle a hard problem.
Iris, mother of Kaitlyn, age 9, 11/8/00
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I want to share my story because it all makes sense to me now. When my son started pre-school, his teacher suggested signs of ADD. Thinking she just couldn’t handle an active child, I let it go. When his kindergarten teacher had the same concerns (without knowing of his preschool problems) I had him evaluated and he was diagnosed as ADD.
Reluctantly, in the fourth grade, I started him on Ritalin. It made an enormous difference in his behavior and I thought this was the answer. About 8 months on the medication, he began to roll his eyes. Although I thought this might be a side effect of the Ritalin (tics and tourettes), I decided to rule out other possibilities. I made appointments with other professionals, including an optometrist. The optometrist found that my son had limited peripheral vision and monocular vision [suppressed vision in one eye, one-eyed vision]. It finally all made sense! His inability to concentrate, limited attention span, class clown personality, sloppy writing, poor coordination, inability to excel in sports, etc. were all effects of his inability to see properly.
He has done Vision Therapy and I can’t thank the optometrist enough. I urge other parents to check out other professional allies before turning to medication.
Valerie Blass, parent
Before Vision Therapy, 16 year old Don had very obvious nystagmus. He was a constant good sized angle exotrope (35 – 40 PD), even after strabismic surgery at the age of 7, and had bilateral amblyopia due to very high astigmatic errors, as well as the nystagmus. Don, who was already active in competitive go-cart racing, wanted to get his drivers license, so he and his mother chose to explore the option of Optometric Vision Therapy to dampen and control his nystagmus with the hope of improving his visual acuity.
At Don’s initial evaluation, a detailed family history revealed a strong inheritance pattern of congenital nystagmus accompanied by exotropia and high bilateral astigmatism. His medical history was positive for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for which he is currently taking Medadate daily.
Don’s treatment was based on a multimodal therapeutic approach, which included refractive correction, prismatic correction, optometric Vision Therapy, and experimental testing with soft contact lenses. Based on his initial examination, it was decided that Don’s prior lens and prism prescription would be used while conducting all Vision Therapy procedures. He began a program of Vision Therapy to address the nystagmus, exotropia, and overall binocular vision dysfunction. His goal was to achieve sufficient visual acuity to obtain a driver’s permit.
Don was provided 2 one-hour Vision Therapy sessions per week for four months. He also had home-training sessions four days a week for approximately 10 minutes a day, which provided reinforcement of the in-office Vision Therapy sessions. The therapy focused on improving ocular motility, fixation and alignment, as well as convergence ability and overall binocularity.
Ongoing evaluations were performed throughout the four months of Vision Therapy. These showed progressive decreases in nystagmus, improved control of the strabismic deviation, improved visual acuity, diminished diplopia, and markedly increased convergence ability. These improvements were also noted by Don and his family. At the end of Don’s Vision Therapy sessions, improvement was noted in most areas, and most importantly, his visual acuity of 20/40OU was now sufficient to allow him to attain his goal of obtaining a driver’s permit.
He is now 20/30, the exotropia is gone, and unless very nervous, the nystagmus is a thing of the past. According to the literature, this is supposedly impossible to achieve. Don now drives his own car, and has seen a huge increase in his self-esteem and confidence. This is a true success story!
This is a summary of a case study about 16 year old Don that appeared in the Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Vol. 14, 2003, No.6, p. 144-148.
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Before Vision Therapy, William was very frustrated when he did homework, especially reading. After five minutes, he would rub his eyes and throw the book down. He was told his vision was 20/20, no problems. That didn’t make sense. We feared he would hate school and reading. Also, his behavior was affected, making us wonder about ADD. Then we heard about Vision Therapy.
Twenty-eight sessions later (over a period of 8 to 9 months), William now loves to read. He doesn’t love homework, but he is able to do so much better. His attitude has changed dramatically.
Jenny Gregg, William’s parent, 11/8/01
NO MORE RITALIN! Recently, “Sarah” came into the office just to talk to Dr. X. She was so excited .she was no longer struggling with reading and schoolwork and couldn’t wait to thank him. She is no longer taking Ritalin and is doing well in school.
Prior to seeing Dr. X, Sarah struggled to do the work required of her in high school. She found reading burdensome, was unable to finish her homework in a reasonable amount of time, and was unable to keep up with all her assignments. She was feeling frustrated and discouraged. Sarah had been put on Ritalin in order to help her focus on her work, but she continued to struggle.
Dr. X prescribed some very special lenses to help her stay more focused when she was reading or doing anything up close. The special lenses kept her gaze and focus steady, the print in her books did not jump around, she was able to concentrate for longer periods of time and not get fatigued, headaches or nauseated. These lenses have made all the difference in the world for Sarah!
C. E. is an eleven year-old girl with a diagnosis of ADHD since first grade. She has experienced multiple symptoms including; holding reading materials too close, covering or closing one eye when attempting to write, tilting her head and losing her place when reading, reversing letters and words, reading slowly with poor comprehension, and displaying poor penmanship and overall fine motor coordination.
She had difficulty maintaining eye contact during social situations and often appeared “fidgety.” Most recently, C.E. was failing spelling, had trouble copying words from the chalkboard or text, and could not keep her place. She would often forget homework assignments and had difficulty organizing her desk at school.
After receiving Vision Therapy for just three months, her parents, teachers, and C.E. herself have all noticed a remarkable change in her overall behavior and functioning. She is now able to act appropriately in most social situations with improved duration and frequency of maintaining eye contact. She appears less “fidgety” in school and is able to sit quietly during a school lesson. Teachers are beginning to notice an improvement in her reading fluency and ability to decode words. C.E. continues to attend Vision Therapy once a week and continues to make steady progress.
Jerry had more energy and less concentration skills than most boys his age. We had been told by many teachers that he has ADHD. We did have him tested and found that NOT to be the case.
Staying on task in school and completing homework in a timely manner were still a chore. In our quest to find something to help Jerry, we had him screened for Vision Therapy. Sure enough, his problems with eye focusing, and right/left confusion were causing much of the inattention in school.
The ten weeks of Vision Therapy (we called it Vision Boot Camp) have been invaluable! Not only has Jerry’s attention span increased, we have had an exciting side effect! Jerry’s attitude towards life has improved greatly! He is now a happy, focused boy. Thank you!
Jennifer and Frank Rand, Jerry’s parents
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For many years, we struggled with our son. We felt that he was not performing up to his academic ability in school. Personality wise, he was obstinate and hard to reach. At one point, he was even on medication, because the doctors and teachers felt he had ADHD.
In October 2001, we decided to have his eyes examined. He has 20/20 vision, so he was not in need of glasses. But after Dr. X read the questionnaire that I filled out, he suggested further testing to determine if there was another kind of vision problem. We were skeptical, but went ahead with the testing. Much to our dismay and relief, a problem was detected.
Now the hard part lay ahead: getting our son to come to the twice-weekly visits for 17 weeks. Remember, I said he was obstinate and hard to reach. It was a struggle to say the least, but we persevered and he has now finished his Vision Therapy. Through these last 17 weeks, we have seen his hard shell exterior slowly melt away and a level of confidence that we had never seen before emerge. Our son has even started reading for pleasure, something he never did before.
Our son’s positive result from Vision Therapy brings to mind the TV commercial for MasterCard: “Having our son back as a confident, caring, reading individual … Priceless!” Would we recommend Vision Therapy to others? Absolutely!
Mr. and Mrs. Marshall, patient’s parents, 3/29/02
We have noted improvements in reading, Lye now reads on his own, is happier at school and enjoying it. Lyle’s teacher told me that my son needed to be on medication [Ritalin]. “It was the difference between success and failure.” Well, thank God that you were here to help my son so that he was not band-aided with meds. This program gave the proper treatment so that he will be successful in life. Thanks to all of you for a job well done!
Lyle B.’s parents, October 8, 2002
At the end of the 4K school year, my five-year-old son could consistently recognize about four letters and one number. We completed the battery of psychological tests and were told he had ADHD.
I didn’t buy it. I wasn’t looking for behavioral problems, I wanted him checked out because he didn’t know his alphabet. He has excellent verbal and vocabulary skills, and I felt the need to keep searching. After visual exams with three different doctors, we determined he had trouble with binocular vision, focus, eye movement and tracking.
The 4K teachers advice was to let it ride and see how he does in 5K, she felt it was a development thing. The psychologists wanted us to consider Ritalin.
Less than six months ago, he knew only four letters. Now, after 22 weeks of therapy, he knows the entire alphabet, all of the numbers and is actually reading. His teacher says he’s ahead of schedule in kindergarten and is actually helping some of the other kids in his class who can’t sound out words. The increase in his confidence is amazing.
Thank God we continued to search for an answer.
Debbie Perdzock, December 1999
I want to share my story because it all makes sense now. When my son started preschool, his teacher suggested signs of ADD. Thinking she just couldn’t handle an active child, I let it go. When his kindergarten teacher had the same concerns (without being informed of his preschool teacher’s comments), I had him evaluated and he was diagnosed ADD. Reluctantly, in the fourth grade I started him on Ritalin. It made an enormous difference in his behavior and I thought this was the answer.
After about 8 months on the medication, he began to roll his eyes. I was thinking that this was a side effect of the Ritalin (tics and tourettes), but needed to rule out other possibilities. I made an appointment with an optometrist and found that my son has limited peripheral vision and monocular vision.
It all made sense! His inability to concentrate, limited attention span, class clown personality, sloppy writing, poor coordination, inability to excel in sports, etc., were all effects of his inability to see properly. He has since started visual therapy. I urge other parents to check out other alternatives before turning to medication.
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Dear Dr. X,
As you know, my son graduated Vision Therapy last week. It has been an amazing process to see the changes in his attitude and behavior over the past six months since he began the therapy.
I must admit, in the beginning, my husband and I were extremely skeptical about the whole Vision Therapy process. It seemed as though it was a newfangled, hip medical condition that everyone was being diagnosed with. We only signed on because if there were a chance that you were correct in your diagnosis. We owed it to our son to explore that possibility.
When he started the therapy, he was a child who did not take on academic challenges well. We were told he was bright, but his reports from teachers did not mirror that evaluation. There were always reports that he could be performing better. In addition, he had developed a variety of subtle “tics” which were constantly changing, but it was clear that he was not happy in his own skin. At one point, a respected neurologist to whom we had gone diagnosed him with mild “ADD” and suggested putting him on drugs if the issues did not improve.
You must understand that all of these issues were subtle. He was a child that everyone liked. He was not a problem in school. He was not the kind of kid who was obviously troubled or making trouble. He was just not performing to his potential and was internalizing his stress. We took him to see you based on a recommendation from my friend whose child had similar issues and was in Vision Therapy.
About a month into the therapy, we began to see behavioral changes in our son. He was more cooperative at home and in school. Over the next several months, he unilaterally decided to elevate himself into the highest spelling group in his class. He began to get perfect scores and even took on bonus words with enthusiasm. He started to read without complaining and actually started enjoying books. His teacher began telling me that he was raising his hand more and contributing. His math skills improved tremendously, as did his self-esteem.
I could go on and on about all of his personality and academic changes, but I think I have made my point. His last evaluation from his teacher made me cry. It was the first such report we had ever received about him which was totally positive and full of observations about his improved attitude and resultant success in school.
We now have a happier, more cooperative son, whom, I may add, has been tic free for months! Making this decision may have changed his life forever. As a parent, my life has certainly gotten easier. We are all so much happier. Thank you for making his diagnosis. It was the best thing that ever happened to him.
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The two years we spent coming to therapy have paid off dramatically. Rob’s perceptual skills do not now appear to be a limiting factor in his development at all. He plays soccer, basketball, and baseball at near peer level. … And the constant spilling and bumping into things are gone. In short, Rob is not developing into a clumsy child and this is in large measure due to the program you designed for him. We are still not out of the woods with the epilepsy entirely, and Rob’s ADHD and delayed development issues still remain, but … Your program clearly has contributed to our progress here.
Dad of Rob (age 7)
Prior to Vision Therapy, Troyana complained of frequent headaches and struggled with her reading assignments. I took Troyana to a local optometrist who found no problems. Troyana was recommended to [a developmental optometrist] by her psychologist who was counseling her for ADD. With Dr. X’s help, we realized that although Troy’s eyes were fine individually, she was having difficulty getting the two eyes to work together as a team. After Vision Therapy, Troy’s headaches have disappeared and she now has an “A” in reading. She reads above her level from several books each day. As a parent, I am so happy to see that Troy is finally enjoying reading.
Mrs. Cook (mother of Troyana Cook), 6.10.99
Dear Dr. X,
We thought that others might be interested in hearing about the results that our daughter Chelsea has experienced with your Vision Therapy services.
As you will recall, Chelsea was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) as a result of behavior that she exhibited in her second grade classroom. She was having problems comprehending what she read because she was constantly loosing her place and skipping sentences. Her attempts to organize school materials and do simple tasks at home were met with great difficulty. She was also forgetful of her school assignments and responsibilities at home. As a result of her ADHD diagnosis, her doctor prescribed Ritalin, which seemed to help at first but the problems continued.
By the beginning of the fourth grade, Chelsea complained about a problem which she described as “seeing things in 3-D without the 3-D glasses” or double vision. We had already been to an optometrist who determined that Chelsea had good eyesight. We decided to get a second opinion and by shear coincidence heard about you and your Vision Therapy services from a co-worker. A little over a month into her Vision Therapy the double vision disappeared. Chelsea reads to us every night so her progress was obvious. We decided to discontinue her Ritalin at that time and her progress continued. After completion of her ninety-day therapy program, she demonstrated dramatic improvements in her reading and comprehension skills. She enjoys reading very much and her increased confidence is evident. She does much better at remembering her school assignments and her organizational skills are much improved.
Chelsea was very happy to share her story with the newspaper because she believes that it may help influence other families to get the help that they need. We are grateful for all you have done for Chelsea and our family.
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Source: ADD – ADHD
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.