You’ve probably heard the phrase “Perception is Everything”.
For example, let’s say two people attend the music concert of a group that they both enjoy very much. Whether they sit on the same row, or are completely across the room from one another, chances are their perception of the concert will be different. Each person may see the same thing but interpret it completely different from one another. The same falls true in an educational setting. Two students, sitting in the same room with the same teacher whom they both like, are hearing and seeing the exact same information. Each student will interpret that information differently. One student will see it one way, and the other student will see it another, or not understand it at all.
Now let’s pretend you’ve been handed a Russian textbook. Can you see what’s on the pages of the textbook? Of course. Now, can you interpret, and tell me what the textbook says? Most likely not, unless you have been taught what the letters on the page mean, or how they should be interpreted. Patients with Visual Perceptual problems struggle much like someone who is given a Russian textbook but hasn’t been taught the proper skills or instructions to successfully interpret or perceive the information given them, even if it's in their own native language! Children may then have frustration, difficulty with self-regulation and behavior, they may avoid any or all tasks tied to reading or writing, attention and concentration may be more difficult for them, resulting in poor academic performance. Oftentimes, when patients have visual perceptual skills, they are labeled as “dyslexic”. This isn’t a term we use here at Today’s Eye Care, because the term Dyslexia is far too broad and doesn't address the specific issues that need help. While the term Dyslexia isn’t ideal, the following article may be helpful:
Some signs of Visual Perceptual issues may include, but not be limited to:
Difficulty differentiating between “b, d, p, q”.
Reversing numbers or letters when writing.
Often losing their place on a page when reading or writing. Needs to use finger or a ruler to stay in place.
Difficulty remembering left and right.
Forgetting where to start reading.
Difficulty sequencing letters or numbers in words or math problems correctly.
Unable to copy from one place to another (e.g.: from board to their paper)
Difficulty discriminating between size of letters and objects.
Difficulty remembering sight words.
Difficulty completing partially drawn pictures.
Attending to a word on a printed page due to his/her inability to block out other words
around it (words seem to “swim” around the page).
Difficulty filtering out visual distractions such as colorful bulletin boards or movement of other students in the room. This makes it difficult to stay on task with schoolwork.
Difficulty with sorting and organizing personal belongings, often seeming careless in their tasks (e.g.: bedroom or desk).
Difficulty finding a specific item in a cluttered bedroom or desk. May also struggle with seek and find books (I-Spy).
Clumsy or uncoordinated.
This is where Visual Perceptual Therapy (VPT) comes into play. VPT, or Vision Therapy, as we refer to it in our office, is an intensive and effective program that teaches the proper skills to interpret the educational information given to the student. As children grow and develop, there are certain skills that are necessary for proper visual perceptual development. For some of these children, certain skills don’t get the proper attention or practice needed for successful visual perceptual development (at no fault of the parents). But there is good news! Regardless of your age, there is help! It is never too late to learn and develop these skills to improve your visual perception! If done diligently, our VPT program can help people of all ages and backgrounds. If you are concerned about your student’s progress in school, the first place to start is with a comprehensive eye examination.It may be possible that your student could simply need glasses or contact lenses. However, if there are concerns during their examination, we will do a quick Visual Perceptual screening. This screening will only take a few minutes, but gives us a quick glance to see if more extensive testing may be necessary. If further testing is necessary, we can schedule your student for more comprehensive perceptual testing. This is a complete battery of tests that will measure your child’s abilities in each category of development. This test usually takes 1 ½ hours, so scheduling with our office is important. Parents are allowed (and encouraged!) to observe during testing, so please plan accordingly. From these results, we can see your child's strengths and weaknesses, and target therapy to each individual. Therapy is done on a weekly basis here in our office. Treatment generally runs 6 to 12 months, and can vary depending on how diligent both parent and child work. Much like anything else in life, with Vision Therapy, you get out of it what you put into it! Treatment consists of weekly private lessons in our office with both the patient and parent(s). Our vision therapist will work with your student to teach them special skill sets to practice for the week. It is important that parents be present for lessons, so these skills can be practiced properly and without error.
The following are comments from parents and/or patients that have completed our program:
“One thing that I appreciated about this program was its privacy. No one outside of the doctor’s staff and our family knew that our son was attending. Not even his friends at school. This did wonders for his self-confidence. He didn’t have to suffer embarrassment of Special Education classes at school.” --K.S.
“…it was so amazing. Here I am, 25 years old, and have never enjoyed reading a novel because I couldn’t understand what I was reading. Now, for the first time, I’m reading a difficult book, and understand every word without having to re-read sentences.” --S.B.
“…I was still a little skeptical through the gross motor skills section, until I noticed how much my son’s concentration and balance had improved. Not to mention his self-confidence!” --W. C.
“Each week, we see an improvement and the self-confidence is soaring!” --R.R.
“Up until nine months ago, my son had never had the desire to pick up a book. Now, you never see him without one!” --K.S.
“…he’ll sit down and read just for the fun of it now, not because I’m forcing him to do so, and he doesn’t have to constantly ask what each word is!” --T.B.
“…when we started the program, I had serious doubts if we could ever get my son to have the desire to read. It’s so good to see his self-confidence now, as he reads more confidently.” --J.P.
“Vision Therapy has been great. My son has gone from a C-D-F student, to a straight B.” (Age 10 years) --V.E. “My child has settled down because he feels he has more control of his life. His father can see the difference when they do math together.” (Age 10 years) --D.B.
Beyond frustrated! It was second grade and my son still could ‘t read. It wasn’t for lack of effort. It just wasn’t sticking! Why? I wondered about his eye sight, so I made an appointment with Today’s Eye Care. I walked out of their office learning his eye sight was fine, but he instead had a severe visual perception disability. With this diagnosis, I felt anxious but hopeful because of the therapy they could provide. Within just two weeks of working with them, my son could read. He could read! It was still a month after month process to keep him improving. Their specially trained therapist worked with him teaching him gross motor skills, sequencing, and drills to learn the left and right sides of his body. These homework assignments were then practiced at home until he was improving so much that he could function in a classroom again and keep up with the other students. Today, he is finishing up his freshman year in high school and has maintained A’s and B’s with little adaption. Math and spelling are still struggles, but he is growing and achieving at a level I never thought possible all those years ago. I will be forever grateful to the help our family received from these doctors and their specialist. Their expertise changed my son’s future. Now he has one; a future full of possibilities! --M.D.
Today's Eye Care
76 PROFESSIONAL PLZ REXBURG, ID 83440 P: 208.356.4585 F: 208.356.4587