At the beginning of our Vision Therapy journey, I can say I was skeptical. How can Vision Therapy change things like anxious behavior, confidence, and school performance? Little did I know, just six months of Vision Therapy would change my daughter's life!
At just seven years old, my daughter came to me with a secret. When she tried to read, the words walked off the page making it very difficult to concentrate and understand what she was reading. Up until that point, I thought my daughter just had generalized anxiety as I had noticed anxious behaviors in the home, and my daughter's teacher noticed it in the classroom. We started seeing a psychologist with the hope of working on coping skills. I also decided to take my daughter to an occupational therapist just to make sure sensory processing issues weren't interfering. The occupational therapy evaluation appointment changed everything.
The occupational therapist evaluating my daughter recognized visual motor issues right away. It was suggested I took my daughter to a Behavioral Optometrist. I hesitated. My daughter was seeing an Optometrist. I didn't know what a Behavioral Optometrist could do for us.
In January 2017, we had our very first appointment with Dr. Randy Schulman. Dr. Schulman's evaluation was very long and thorough more so than any eye doctor appointment I every had. At the end, Dr. Schulman explained to us our daughter had the visual system of a pre schooler. She lacked depth perception, the ability to focus at points near and far, and the ability to track making her visually impaired. My daughter struggled in every area you could struggle in. Dr. Schulman suggested 6-9 months of Vision Therapy.
After a short discussion, my husband and I decided to start Vision Therapy right away. Weekly, we met a therapist and spent time working on activities to stimulate the brain eye connection hoping eventually my daughter would be able to see the world like I could. My daughter and I also did 15 minutes of home therapy five days a week.
Within a month, we noticed a level of confidence never seen before. Prior to Vision Therapy, my daughter rarely smiled, said hello to people, or held her head up high. Now my daughter was laughing, interacting with peers who weren't in her tight circle of friends, and had this new sass that everyone was happy to see! We also noticed an overall decrease in the anxious behaviors we were seeing at home and in the classroom.
May 2017 my daughter participated in her dance recital. In years prior, I had noticed my daughter rarely looked out at the audience, she was always looking to her left and right which I now know was her trying to judge how far she was to the dancers next to her. Prior to Vision Therapy she has no spacial awareness. This year, my daughter danced the entire time with a smile on her face and even danced with a cane!
By the end of the 2017 school year, my daughter had made so much progress in reading. In the beginning of the school year, we had opted not to have her participate in extra reading help as she was noticeable frustrated reading. I am confident her growth in reading from January to June was due to Vision Therapy.
My daughter graduated Vision Therapy in August of this year. We are still committed to home exercises and regular checkups with Dr. Schulman. I highly encourage any parent who has a child struggling with anxiety around school, reading or math difficulties, or attention difficulties to see a Behavioral Optometrist. Dr. Schulman and her team forever changed not only my daughter's educational path but also changed her my daughter's ability to actively participate in activities with her peers.
Thank you, Dr. Schulman, for changing yet another life.