Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vision therapy - analogous to Ear training?

Vision therapy is a lot like the ear training musicians go through. First the person has to become aware that the eyes can be tools for gaining information about the world. Some kids miss this idea preferring to touch everything or talk their way through life. Often these kids have not developed good intentional control of their eye muscles - this is what the activities in the Purple Book of the Eye Can Too! Read series helps. After they build automatic eye movement control, then it is time to work on eye teaming - skills that require the assistance of lenses, prisms, and other specialty equipment that eye doctors keep around. Kids who display dyslexia type symptoms like frequent reversals of letters and words when reading or writing, who can't easily cross their physical mid-lines. and who confuse left and right need to have an eye exam so that the eye doctor can rule out any deficits or delays in ocular motilities or eye teaming. Then they can work on the visual spatial skills of laterality and directionality - these are the topics of the Yellow Book of the Eye Can Too! Read series. At last it is time to consider the visual perceptual skills - discrimination, memory, figure ground, sequential memory, closure, and spatial relations. These are more analogous to ear training. What did you see and can you recognize it again or more specifically in another context or after it is slightly modified? These skills are the subjects of the Green Book of the Eye Can Too! Read series.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Helping a parent process through what the eye doctor said

Last week I received a call from a home-schooler who found my Eye Can Too! Read website and wanted to know which book she should order for her son. She recently took him to a developmental optometrist who diagnosed a cluster of visual diagnoses which do indicate a need for vision therapy. But the mother had not been given enough information to understand what had been found or what the therapy would accomplish. We talked for more than an hour. While the doctor did not use any of the normed diagnostic tools with which I am familiar, I could tell by the description of her assessment activities what she had done. The therapy assignment for the first several weeks was to use a Marsden Ball to introduce appropriate control of Pursuits, one of the two ocular motility skills we address in therapy. The therapy is only done at home facilitated by the parent - the mother was instructed to swing the ball three times in each direction for each eye once per day. She was to do nothing more for now. We concluded that her son would benefit from using either the Purple Book or the Yellow Book and since the activities are academic in nature, designed with home-schoolers in mind, they could be used without compromising the therapy prescribed by the doctor.