Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Vision Therapy!

Our youngest has been getting vision therapy, today was the 4th session, although the first session was mainly evaluating. We're seeing Dr. Steve Gallop (http://www.gallopintovision.com/ ), and are really seeing progress! I definitely went into this with a good, positive attitude, and I think you'd need that for any type of therapy, whether alternative or traditional, so that you and your child have an open mind to whatever you start.
After the initial appointment, Dr. Gallop found that Z had difficulty with tracking objects and with focusing. His eyesight was not much beyond 20/20, so it wasn't nearsightedness. I had seen this with him particularly when he and I would work on his reading, his eyes always veered away from the words/pages. As I watched him, I could see it wasn't intentional, it was as if trying to focus for too long physically bothered him; this is what got us to finally make an appointment. Something I hadn't realized, that was evident during the exam, was his peripheral vision didn't seem to exist at all! Dr. Gallop explained this to me today--its not that the peripheral vision isn't there, its just too difficult for some people to focus on things in front, let alone all to the sides, so their field of vision narrows. From his explanation, and from observing these sessions, I see how per. vision is CRITICAL to reading, at least to reading fluently. Its something most of us take for granted and don't think anything about, but if you stop and think about it, when reading quickly, its not letter by letter, its word by word and even phrase by phrase, so you need to be able to process to the sides, too.
Z got his glasses at the 2nd visit, which was the first using the "eye gym", as we call it. ;) Dr. Steve called me in to witness something: he had had Z hitting a tennis ball on a string, standing in one spot, and alternating hands. It wasn't easy for him to do. He got his glasses, and WOW, he hit the ball again and again. Was it perfect? No--but he approached it differently, amazing.
I can't say too much about last week's appointment as far as what he did, because I wasn't there. What I can comment on is his reading. He is reading seeing whole words, its amazing and heartwarming to watch this happening. And as Z's reading is changing, he's comprehending the words and sounds so much more, and his speech is improving. Generally, talking to others, he still speaks to quickly and enunciates too little; but at home, he is gradually working on it, doing a lot of self correcting which is incredible. His balance is beginning to improve, also. I have no doubt whatsoever these things are improving because of the vision therapy.
His appointment today was so interesting to watch (as they all are), I'm going to try and be there each time. The things he did today were a lot of hand/eye coordination. He doesn't have difficulty in what a lot think of as traditional hand/eye, but these exercises I could tell were all geared towards working his eyes into focusing. Today, as he did some of the harder exercises, there was almost no bouncing or kicking of the feet, which does usually happen if something is hard or frustrating, or even boring. Dr. Gallop also can see improvement, which was a boon to my feelings, as well!
This is something that is good for all--Dr. Gallop has patients that are adults, as well as very young children (he mentioned one today that just turned 3). Its for people with all kinds of vision difficulties, and its terrific for those with all types of learning disabilities. Terrific doesn't cut it, its beneficial and fantastic, I can't say enough.

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