Since so many people have stopped by to check out my post on 12 Vision Therapy Exercises You Can Do at Home, I thought it might be helpful for me to post a handful more for those who need them. As I mentioned in the previous blog post, we learned that our youngest child was in need of vision therapy, but the cost was not affordable. Immediately after learning this, I ran into a friend who happened to have a binder full of vision therapy exercises given to her for her OT work in a poor South African school. None of the pages of exercises have any publication information or copyright information, so I think I’m safe in rephrasing and sharing their content.
Mr. Pookie reads a story from The House at Pooh Corner.
We chose 2-3 exercises to do daily for a week, and then we switched to new exercises. After about 10 weeks, Pookie spontaneously started reading. We continued the vision therapy exercises for around six months before we petered out. That was about a year ago. His reading skills continued to improve steadily since then. At this point, Pookie can fluently read material like Winnie the Pooh, and he started telling me about the content of War of the Worlds this morning. He still prefers picture books, but that might simply be his age. If we see a need, we can always do more vision exercises in the future.
We were also told that our son had not integrated a bunch of primitive reflexes. Since I was trying to cover any possible deficit, I also added one primitive reflex integration exercise to our routine for each week. (A YouTube search will give you examples.) I have no idea if these had any impact, but I thought I’d mention that we did some of these exercises, as well.
Please let me know if you have any questions–or success stories! I’d love to help other parents stuck in a similarly stressful situation.Continue reading →
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.
*Update: We continued doing exercises for about 6 months. Pookie continued to make steady reading progress during and after, and can now (two years post-vision-therapy) read fluently well above grade level.* 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 →