Eye Therapy

I therapy.  Aye, therapy.  Eye therapy.  iTherapy.

A few years ago, I watched my homeschool dreams of laughter and learning crumble away before an onslaught of reading problems.  A smart, serious girl who seemed destined to be bookish just…wasn’t.  She could sound out “h-a-d” and say, “hald”.  She wouldn’t recognize a word from sentence to sentence. She struggled to read the basics even though she was so bright. We had her run through a battery of tests by a local child psychologist.  It wasn’t dyslexia; it wasn’t anything.  I switched phonics programs several times and tried sight reading and researched the literature on reading til I was dizzy.  Finally we found out that there was a developmental eye doctor in the province.  We drove 230 km to have her tested and then 230 km home again with the knowledge that it wasn’t me, it wasn’t her work ethic, it wasn’t the phonics programs, it was her eyes.  They didn’t work well.  Her 20-20 vision concealed a number of problems.

And so we drove there again and again, every two weeks or so.  It was like physiotherapy.  She’d do special exercises and tests with the therapist, then be sent home with things to do with me.  Two weeks later, we’d be back on the TransCanada highway, passing the iconic Halfway Tree with an audiobook keeping us entertained and awake.

Halfway Tree

Today we drove that road again.  Brooding, dripping skies, uncharacteristically green grasses, yellow leaves on the trees. Today we found out that Sandra doesn’t need eye therapy any more.  She doesn’t need to go back! No more tracking exercises, no more reading rows and columns of numbers, no more focusing on beads on strings, no more peripheral vision games.  What she needs, said the doctor with a huge grin, is to read.  What a relief.  What a lightening of this huge homeschooling load..

She might not need to go back, but I’ll be driving past the Halfway Tree every two weeks again.


On the theory that I didn’t want to look back in 4 years and slap myself on the forehead with a Homer-like, “D’oh”, I had Tias tested today.  Age-wise he’s in 4th grade, but for reading and math he’s more in tune with 2nd.  Part of this is due to the waiting time we have given him as he matures and learns to sit still(ish).  Still, I thought it worth at least having a look.  And…he needs help.  He has fewer problems and they seem less severe than Sandra’s and I just hope hope hope that this course of therapy lasts months rather than years.  Her problems were surprisingly stubborn, her habits entrenched.  I want to get on with watching them read, not teaching them to read.  I want to get to the good stuff.  In the meantime…

I therapy.  Aye, therapy.  Eye therapy.  iTherapy.


6 thoughts on “Eye Therapy

  1. V says:

    Oh honey, I hear you. We have this persistant problem in our kids too. And yet, they outgrow it, transcend it, whatever. Vision therapy works. It’s all a variation on a theme. But in the end, the kids are fine. Smart. Capable. Educated.

    I have enjoyed your blog this summer, your trip. You and I are not alike, though it enhnances my life very much to view the world through your eyes. You remind me of my oldest daughter, and through her eyes (yours) I enjoyed your trip, your kids, Rainer… your inlaws, the beautiful cities you visited, the food you ate, the whole beautiful endeavor. Thank you so very much for sharing your life with us. love, V

  2. livnletlrn says:

    My son has had vision therapy for the past few months. He has since been diagnosed with dysgraphia, with spelling and math difficulties, and will now be starting therapy to help with that. It’s a huge time and money commitment, but whatever it takes for our kids, right? Right!

  3. catalinakel says:

    aye, eyeeye. We had a shocker with eyes this summer. A regular eye check up for my ‘sandra’ ended up having us see a specialist immediately, then off to an mri, a catscan and a spinal tap. only to no avail. now we are told it might just be how she was born. parenting is harder on the heart than one who has not bore a child might guess…

  4. Schwester K says:

    Congratulations to Sandra!! And good on you for testing T.

    My heart twinged for you when I read that he needed eye therapy, too, but I was reminded of the day when you were all here and the kids were drawing on the sidewalk out front with chalk. Scott later commented to me that T intentionally turned around and started writing upside-down, like that was easier for him or something. So I’m not terribly surprised, but still a little sad that you have to burn up the highways like this again. (But it’s countered with the knowledge that things will get better, and more of your questions will be answered!)

    Then again, it probably means more stays in Hotel Katie, which makes me quite happy!!

    Love to you all!

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