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Vision Therapy Success Stories

RE: Reading Problems
by Mrs. Boxer

Reply to an exit questionnaire given by an eye doctor who provides Optometric Vision Therapy or Visual Training. Mrs. Boxer writes this about her son, Dustin Boxer, and Vision Therapy.

Question #1
Comments regarding improvement in school work (reading, spelling, handwriting, effort, attention, conduct, hyperactivity,etc.)

When Dustin started therapy, he could not recognize any letters of the alphabet, nor copy anything written down before him. Today he can copy sentences with proper spacing, read a beginners book with assistance and will ask for help in spelling only when he's baffled by the word. He now has total recognition of both lower and upper case letters. No longer does he invert numbers such as twelve for twenty-one, thirteen for thirty-one etc. As far as effort is concerned, that never was a problem with Dusty. He can be an extremely focused individual when he sets his mind to a project, it's just that now school work is no longer as painful an experience.

Question #2
Comments regarding improvement in home behavior and cooperation (study habits, use of time, following instructions, communication with family, hyperactivity, etc.)

This question really does not pertain much to Dusty, for he never was a behavioral problem. Like most seven year olds, playtime is more important than world peace, Vision Therapy, tutoring in reading or homework. As parents all we can do is hope that when he gets older he'll look back and thank us for our efforts, instead of casting us out on the streets or into the confines of a state-run nursing home.

Question #3
Comments regarding changes in peer group and social relationships (playing with other children, more active participation in games, reduction in withdrawal tendencies, etc.)

Dustin has always been a very social and caring child, but he did have a tendency to shy away from or withdraw from games that he felt challenged by. Recognizing his weakness, he would try to change the activities being done, so that no one would see his shortcomings. If other children were reading, he would say, "That's a dumb book. We should be out playing on a nice day." Or if another child asked him to read something, he would tell them to figure it for themselves and then walk away rather than admit that he could not do it. To quote him, "I don't want people thinking I'm dumb."

Question #4
Comments on changes regarding sports and recreation (greater and more effective participation in games, hobbies, spontaneous reading, etc.)

This is one aspect of the therapy that we wish had not been tampered with. Before Vision Therapy, Dustin hated any activity that dealt with a ball of any sorts. Roller-skating, bicycle riding climbing trees all came naturally for him. However, if you threw a ball at him, nine out of every ten times it would hit him in the face. On the tenth, he would just plain miss it. Now Dusty can't get enough of ball games and the thought of the ball getting away from him is just too much for him to handle. You would think that he was getting the salary of professional ball player, the way he dives for it. Pants generally have a life span of two days before we're mending them with iron-on patches. At this rate, keeping this child properly clothed may wind up being more costly than the vision therapy.

Question #5
Any comments regarding overall impressions not already noted above (any changes in performance, behavior, posture, etc.)

When we came to your office we were basically at our wits end. We knew that we had a very bright child on our hands and we were completely frustrated with the school system. Here was a child who at the age of four wanted to be a paleontologist -- not an archeologist -- and who knew the meaning of and difference between the two. By kindergarten we had checked out just about every book in the library for him pertaining to dinosaurs and then had to read and suffer through the pronunciations of their names. The school psychologist (who, in our opinion, is in need of evaluation herself) tested him and found him to be five points above functionally retarded. Mind you, at the beginning of first grade, Dusty was testing out on a fourth grade level in science and social studies, but was on a pre-school level for math and reading. When questioned as to how she came to her findings, she said that they had to base their testing on the child's ability to read and write. So, more or less, if little Johnny can't see and you ask him to point out the letter R, is he retarded? If little Janie, has no arms and you ask her to point to the number nine, is she retarded when she can't perform the task at hand? After having wasted the first two years of his schooling by listening to these mental midgets we had enough when they wanted to put him in a class with three Down's syndrome children, two autistic children and several "attention deficit" children.

When we started the Visual Therapy, we did not know how much or how long it would take before we started to notice an improvement. In a matter of two weeks, Dustin mentioned to his grandparents, during a visit, that for the first time, while wearing his glasses, "Things weren't moving around all over the page." Within less than a month, we started to notice improvement as far as letter recognition. By the time Dusty went back to school he could recognize eighty-five percent of his letters in both upper and lower case. Mind you, this was coming from a child that just three months earlier could not tell you the letters in his name when taken out of context, but could tell you from pictures the names of every dinosaur, and which ones ate meat and which ones were vegetarians.

Although Dusty is still not quite out of the woods, the differences between where he was and where he is at now go beyond a marked improvement. With the help he gets at home, and with the tutoring on the side, it's just a matter of time before his "TEACHERS" start coming to him for advice. We've also seen a noticeable improvement in his self-esteem that the schools worked so hard on destroying. Dusty is now beginning to flourish in all avenues. Before he would shy away from anything that required pen to paper. Artwork was more painful than pulling teeth, because he couldn't make it look like what it was supposed to be. Now he finds art a pleasure to do. He's always shown an interest in books and knowledge, but now he's pointing to words and trying to pronounce them with us. He even critiques the books he can read. Siskel and Ebert look out. Dusty says, "The beginner books are dumb! They.have no real story. Who cares about them?" or "Why is this book called Sad Sam when every picture of him has him smiling?" It goes on and on from there... all of which makes us most grateful!

Mrs. Boxer

To locate an eye doctor who provides comprehensive pediatric vision examinations and treatment, including Vision Therapy, request a referral through our Referral Directory: Find a Pediatric Eye Doctor.

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