If you read my last blog post, you know that we found out that our youngest needed vision therapy, but the price tag was beyond what we could afford. Immediately after that revelation, I took my kids to gymnastics, where a former-OT friend informed me that she had been given a whole binder full of vision therapy exercises during her time working in a low-income school in South Africa.
We’ve now been doing vision exercises about 3-4 times a week for 9 weeks, and little Pookie has gone from only sounding out single, large words written in magnets or on the white board to eagerly reading Biscuit books for bedtime. (In case you missed the last post, he’s been able to sound out single words in this manner for more than a year, but he just wasn’t making any progress.) While correlation does not necessarily equal causation, I figured it can’t hurt to share some of what we’ve done with other parents who might find themselves in a similar situation. Continue reading
When Pookie was three-and-a-half, he started putting letters together to make words. Though I was surprised–he still only recognized less than half of the alphabet–I hauled out my early-reading materials and prepared for him to progress. Only he didn’t. At first I assumed it was a readiness issue; he was very young, after all, and though his siblings also learned to read young, perhaps the fact that he couldn’t remember all of his letters was holding him back. But after a full year with no progress, I began to wonder if there was more going on. After all, ‘Love’s childhood medical records indicated that he had received vision therapy for tracking issues.
After receiving several recommendations for a particular optometrist, I called and made an appointment. I had been warned that it would be pricey, but $250 (sans vision insurance) for a 75-minute-long, in-depth assessment that included a retinal scan didn’t seem too shocking. The first appointment confirmed my suspicion–there were a few issues that deserved more attention. A second appointment (another $350) involved another hour of interactive assessments for my little guy while I was provided with information on vision therapy and was told to expect a price tag of $3-4,000 for six months of treatment. At the hour-long follow-up appointment (included in the cost, thankfully), the optometrist gave us a report on the testing that had been done and how our son had performed. It was very thorough and helpful, and most of what she said made a lot of sense with what I had observed.
Then came the bombshell: the cost was going to be $6,400 for 34 weekly, 45-minute therapy appointments (plus one or two additional progress assessments). Reeling from the unexpected price hike, ‘Love and I walked out with heavy hearts. We had been braced to pay $500 a month for treatment we thought would have long-term benefits for our son; this amount would have been a stretch, but it was attainable. Finding an extra $750 a month, however, was simply out of the question. But how could we walk away from something that would help our child succeed in life? Continue reading