Sunday, May 17, 2009

Oh my goodness!

I promised you some stories of patients helped through vision therapy and then I went and ignored all of you (that would be 'all y'all in Texan) I have a good reason, really I do. But first, I will give you the stories.

Some of the patients we see are just the average, run-of-the-mill type kids with a lazy eye or crossed eyes. They often present with low self-esteem, are quiet and withdrawn, and have been having trouble in school. At first it is difficult to draw them out of their shells. We tell them that nothing they do in our office is wrong, they will not be graded, this is not a test. They can feel free to tell us what they think and feel and that they should speak up and tell us if anything is hurting or bothering them. This can be very hard for them, at first.....and then they begin to blossom. Their smiles brighten when they see us. They tell us about the wonderful test grades they got in school, the book they read, the new friend they made. As their vision improves, they find themselves. It is amazing!

The real stories, though, that blow me away, are the kids with other issues. Children with Autism, Aspergers, Tourettes, ADD, ADHD, and many more diagnoses. As is the case with many things, when there is one problem with the way the brain works, there are many problems.  Since vision is mostly neuro (brain) it is not surprising that vision problems are an issue. Would you believe me when I tell you that I have seen a child with autism go from not being able to make eye contact, to looking in my eyes and talking to me (in a meaningful way) and actually spontaneously HUGGING me? A child that could not coordinate hands and feet well enough to play even basic childhood games to hitting a ball into the outfield in a baseball game? A child who never smiled, never spoke above a whisper and who seemed painfully shy, actually BOUNCE into the office to show me her new purse? Or how about the child who couldn't read without a blinding headache getting hooked on a fiction series that is 2 grade levels above their age and tearing through the first two books in record time? Let me tell you about the child diagnosed ADD who when we were halfway through the course of therapy went off meds and never needed them again and was no longer ADD? Or the child who had never passed one of the achievement tests in school who passed ALL of them for the first time?

I was a doubter. Seriously. How could these exercises really do anything? And yet, I knew enough to know how connected all of our systems are and how important vision is to everything. The patients I have seen have convinced me. You cannot fake that. It is real. And it is AMAZING! 

Did you know that most professional baseball players include a stipulation for Vision Therapy in their contracts? The therapy gives them an edge in seeing a ball coming at them at 90+ miles per hour. Or seeing a pop fly falling towards them. In fact, many sports are now adding Vision Therapy to their training. like hockey, football and basketball. Even eyes that function just fine can gain an advantage with this type of therapy. It seems like the sky is the limit in this area!

So what have I been doing that has me away from all of you? I have been painting our house. The inside. The builder grade flat paint is just NOT holding up. I am SICK of it. So in my usual manic-wild-hair fashion I have been re-painting everything. Let me tell  you, I am sore. Painfully sore. I am bruised and scraped and my muscles are feeling like hamburger. But it's starting to look better. Brighter, shinier, and new again. I just wish I could say the same for me. Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch.......

1 comment:

Deb said...

What colors???? I really want to pain my bedroom orange and I am getting the strangest looks from folks. I think next weekend will be painting weekend here, along with some gardening and probably finishing up the playset. Dang, I need husband to help with the hoeny do lists I have created for myself.

Love to you,