My daughter, Chelsea, struggled in school. Even in Grade 5, teachers said that “she was a tough nut to crack”. She was described as an “emerging reader”. I didn’t understand how a child could be so smart, and be unable to succeed in school. None of her siblings struggled like this. Why was Chelsea different?
Each year started with the hope that “this would be her year!” I’d talk to the teachers, we modify her expectations, and I gave feedback. I spent hours and hours each night trying to get her through her modified homework. All the effort was in vain.
Chelsea never made the list for Occupational Therapy time or a Psych-Ed evaluation, though I talked to her teachers and the school admin every year. She wasn’t the most disruptive kid – so no one had her on the radar. She was quietly not succeeding at school.
Home was awful. I dreaded picking Chelsea up from school because it was another hour of her fighting with us. If I didn’t pick her up, her little sister bore the brunt of her temper on the school bus. It was clear she was well past her ability to cope by the time the school day was done. And then we’d have to start on at least 2 hours of homework.
Her teacher explained it best when she said she wished she could “zip open her skull and see what was going on.”
Her teachers couldn’t help. Doctors couldn’t help. No one could help us. I was spending my nights combing the internet looking for something; anything, that might help.
I found a blog about vision therapy and I finally found something that sounded like my kid. The I found a new Behavioural Optometrist in Victoria.
Through vision therapy, Chelsea is a new person. It’s not about being a better student, although she does now read at grade level. But now we only argue about normal 13-year-old things. Her sisters don’t feel threatened any more. I like picking her up from school.
All of this happened because I fell into a blog about vision therapy. I spent 6-plus years looking for help, asking for help and begging for help. Finally, I had found some answers.
If you watch the TEDx Victoria talk about Vision Therapy, the reader in Dr. McCrodan’s talk was my daughter….she was “riding the broken bike”. There are other TEDx talks that discuss vision issues, and particularly, convergence insufficiency. I encourage you to view them all. I’ve recognized Chelsea in all of them.
I have shared this story with Chelsea’s teachers, doctors, and other parents. Word seems to be getting out. Uniformly, people have been shocked that this isn’t general knowledge.
The school system needs to be aware of the issues surrounding vision to save families the heartache of what we spent six years battling.