Monday, October 11, 2010

vision therapy boy

Tim's in vision therapy this fall. It's going well. He's going to be up to speed at reading shortly, probably by spring he'll be at grade level.

This is why we started homeschooling in the first place--dyslexia. It's a genetic thing--half the kids are dyslexic. They call things like this learning disabilities, but I don't believe it. I think it's a variation of normal.

(Now we homeschool for a lot of other reasons too.)

Vision therapy is done like physical therapy only for the eyes. The specialist involved is a developmental optometrist, and after evaluation, the kids go to the vision therapy lab twice a week, 45 minutes each time. It takes a few months to complete.

Progress isn't dramatic at first. Week by week, hardly noticeable at all. But month by month, definitely huge improvement. About a year later, their writing starts to take off too.

(The point I knew James' vision therapy was a success was the day I asked him to pick up toys in the family room, and a little while later saw him sitting on the coffee table in the middle of the mess--reading a People magazine.)

Insurance used to cover this completely, but no longer does. It even requires a referral from a pediatrician to cover any of it. So Tim went to the pediatrician for the first time in his life. It was okay. The doc looked him over, asked what medication he takes, what his health problems are. None.


"No, none. He's easy to live with, and so healthy it's sickening."

That made him laugh, "So healthy it's sickening."

It's true though.

Then we sat down to the question of the referral, and this doctor is not a jerk. The few times we've seen him, he's really tried to be respectful of our un-vaccinating, home-birthing, homeschooling weirdness. He never gives me a tone, a sneer, none of the condescending attitudes we used to run into in the past.

But he told me all about how vision therapy is unproven, probably doesn't work, and the kid would just learn to read when he was ready. He talked for a long time, giving me his most sincere medical advice, then brought me some literature from the board of ophthalmologists, and ended by saying, "In my opinion what he needs is a tutor."



Well, what the hell am I then? If I haven't been tutoring him for the last three years, what would you call it?? (I didn't say this.)

Way back when, our oldest son John had me helping him at home, PLUS two special ed teachers AND a regular teacher and he still battled to learn to read.

We finally discovered vision therapy when he was ten and had finally removed him from school entirely. He could read only a little--cartoon books with one line of print under a cartoon, for example. Six months after vision therapy he was reading the newspaper.

Anyway, so after giving me all this information he asked if I still wanted the referral. I said, "Yeah, I think I do." He nodded, and wrote it for me.

It might not work for every type of reading delay, but it does help whatever is going on with my kids.

Keep going Timmy. You're going to be reading in no time. love, Mom


  1. Ok, so vision-therapy non-believing aside, I think I need to get the name of that doctor from you. Because I would really really like to find someone to bring Gus to that is not condescending, and is maybe a little more open to some of the "weird" stuff. ;)

    Couldn't hurt. I dislike my dr. so much that I still haven't taken Gus to his 12 month appointment. Ugh. I can see why you pretty much forgo the dr. thing as a whole!

  2. A lay-midwife who has since died told me this, and it made so much sense: "It doesn't take that much to observe a healthy child."

    Okay, I needed to hear that and stop feeling bad for opting out.

    Yes. I can observe a healthy child. No treatment necessary, lol.

    I'll email you the names. love, v