My son has always been the quiet one of our family. We have six children and five of them are boys. As a toddler, he played well with his brothers, running and jumping as little boys do. He seemed to have great coordination skills. As he grew, I noticed that he didn’t have much confidence in himself. He would often sit out of play if he didn’t think that he could do what his brothers could. Being our quiet one, I really didn’t think much about it.
Soon it was time for me to start to teach him how to read. I started with the same reading program I used with his brother. I had breezed through it with my older son and was excited to use it with the younger. About a third of the way through, I knew it wasn’t working and thought he just wasn’t ready yet. I put it aside for about six months and then tried again. It went a little better and he made it through the program, but not as easily as his brother.
I just kept telling myself that everyone learns at their own pace and that he would get it if we just kept working at it. I read every school subject to my son from kindergarten to second grade, with the exception of his assigned reading. He learned well, he just couldn’t read well. Along with the difficulty with reading, he was also tired all the time. He rarely made it through the school day without needing a nap.
My husband and I thought that we should have his eyes checked before he began the third grade. We found out that he was far-sighted, so much so that Dr. Qunell started him on only half of his prescription strength. What a relief for all of us! Our son could see and he was delighted to be able to see the words on the pages of his text books.
Unfortunately, he was still tired by mid-morning and often seemed to be “goofing off” instead of working on his studies. I was getting quite frustrated with him and even with myself for not being able to get him through his school day in a timely manner. He just couldn’t seem to stay focused. I was still reading about half of his school work to him which was stressful as I had two other sons who needed my attention with their school work too.Throughout the school year I again reminded myself that my son just needed a little more time than my other boys. He would eventually catch up to where he needed to be. Maybe it wouldn’t always be so hard for him.
We began fourth grade. He had another eye exam. Dr. Qunell gave him a stronger prescription but this time he noticed that my son had Convergence Insufficiency. He referred us to Dr. Winters for Vision Therapy. We had our first visit with Dr. Winters and his staff at Washington Vision Therapy Center. We listened as he described our son to us. It was the middle of December 2010 when my son started therapy. He finished at the end of June 2011. He worked hard at his therapy. The change in him over the last few months has been remarkable. He has stopped complaining about fatigue and rarely naps. He asks to read his own lessons. He asks his brothers to play catch and basketball with him. He even read his first chapter book and has enthusiastically started his second.
He is more confident in himself with each passing day. I have to say that I am excited to see what he will do in the fifth grade without the hindrance of having to use most of his thoughts and energy on simply getting his eyes to work properly and focus on seeing one letter or word at a time. Now he will simply be able to apply them and the tools he has learned to complete the task at hand.
Thank you to Dr. Aaron Qunell for diagnosing my son and sending us to Dr. Winters. Thank you to Dr. Winters for working with our son, and with us too. Thank you to Emmily who made him feel special from the very start, for showing him that he could anything he set his mind to and that he could take charge of his eyes and of himself with confidence. Thank you to Susan who completed his therapy with the same patience and care as Emmily. Also to Karen and Rene who always greeted us with their lovely smiles and willingness to answer whatever questions we have had. Vision Therapy has been a life-changing experience for our whole family.