When a child struggles with reading and learning, often times their vision can be overlooked – especially when that same child has 20/20 eyesight. However, vision is so much more 20/20 eyesight and there are several other visual problems that can affect a child’s ability to read and learn, even when they have 20/20 eyesight. And no one knows this better than young Peyton.
When Peyton was in preschool she received her first pair of glasses, and with her glasses, she had 20/20 eyesight. However, as her mom, Kelli explains, “I wish I had known then that having 20/20 eyesight while looking at an eye chart didn’t mean a person has perfect vision.”
After preschool, Kelli started homeschooling Peyton and when it was time for Peyton to read, Kelli was alarmed with how long it took Peyton to remember words such as “the” and “as.” Peyton not only dreaded reading, but she was extremely fatigued after their school day together. Kelli noticed that this behavior went on for the next two years, and by third grade, Peyton was certainly reading better, but she would do anything to avoid it. She could read bigger words, but would still skip small ones. Her self-esteem started to drop when her younger sister began surpassing her in schoolwork, and she saw how much easier math, reading, and writing came to her.
One day, Peyton told Kelli the words were moving around on the page. She said they would jump around and she couldn’t follow them. While trying to figure out their next step, Kelli came across a homeschool parent on social media praising Wow Vision Therapy for helping her child improve their reading. As Kelli put it, “Immediately I went to the website, and after learning about how Vision Therapy could help Peyton, my husband and I agreed that she should definitely try it.”
Kelli and Peyton went on to visit the Wow Vision Therapy team in Grand Rapids, MI where Dr. Alyssa Bartolini, O.D., FCOVD conducted a Developmental Vision Evaluation on Peyton. Kelli felt, “Dr. Bartolini put Peyton at ease during her initial consultations and testing.” After the evaluation, Dr. Bartolini diagnosed Peyton with Convergence Insufficiency, Accommodative Dysfunction, and Oculomotor Dysfunction. These conditions were affecting Peyton’s ability to use her eyes together as a team, focus, and track objects properly. After learning of Peyton’s diagnoses, Kelli went on the say, “Our hearts were broken to realize that she thought this was normal… no wonder why she tended to avoid near tasks like reading and even working on crafts!”
Shortly after her evaluation, Peyton started Vision Therapy with the Grand Rapids team. During her time in treatment, Peyton did exercises that were specifically tailored for Peyton. The team worked with Peyton on her visual memory, training her eyes to focus on objects up close, and working on getting her eyes and brain to work better together. They used new technology and many games and activities to accomplish all of this. Peyton even memorized all the presidents as part of her therapy! Shortly after starting Vision Therapy, Kelli noticed that her young child who hated to read suddenly asked if she could read to her parents! Surprised, Kelli told us, “This had never happened before! I noticed over the next six months that her writing was staying in the lines, math was becoming easier, she could read without skipping words, and if she did, she caught herself immediately, and best of all, she actually wanted to read and found that reading can be fun!” Shortly before Peyton’s treatment was over, Kelli asked Peyton if the words moved around on the page or looked blurry anymore. Peyton stopped, looked at Kelli and said, “No! Why would they do that? They don’t move around anymore!”
After their time with the Wow Vision Therapy team, Kelli said, “The hardest part of Vision Therapy was actually leaving Vision Therapy! Peyton loved going to her sessions each week and working with Miss Angela. She encouraged Peyton, challenged her, was fun and kind, and believed in her. Graduation from Wow Vision Therapy was a beautiful, proud time, but also bittersweet in having to say goodbye to Miss Angela and Dr. Bartolini.”
During Peyton’s final round of testing, Peyton surpassed all the goals that Dr. Bartolini set for her! She no longer sees double, blurry, or her words moving. Her visual memory has improved, and math facts are starting to stick better. Kelli was happy to report that Peyton, “often now has her nose in a book.”
After seeing improvements in their child, Kelli, “highly recommends Vision Therapy to anyone struggling with vision issues.” She went on to say, “Peyton is too young to fully understand the impact Wow Vision Therapy has had on her life now and in the future, but we do, and we are forever grateful to everyone here, especially Dr. Bartolini and Miss Angela.”
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