Getting In Sync With Optometric Vision Therapy

Vision is acknowledged to be our most important sense for learning, so it would be logical to think that optometric vision therapy has a significant role to play in the field.  We know that to be the case from research and clinical practice, but what do other knowledgeable and informed professionals have to say?  One of the best-selling books about children’s development and learning in recent years has been Carol Kranowitz’s The Out of Sync Child.

For the past 12 years, since the original edition of the book was published, we suggested to parents of children in our practices that they take a close look at its contents.  It paints a very positive and well-balanced look at Optometry and Vision Therapy from the view of an authority in education and human development.  Now there is another source for parents to consult that takes the Out of Sync Child concept to a new level.

Browsing the shelves of the Special Needs section at Barnes & Noble I came across Growing an In-Sync Child, which presents simple, fun activities to help every child develop, learn and grow.  In this delightful paperback, just published a couple of months ago, Carol Kranowitz is joined by co-author Joye Newman.  I was delighted to open the first page and see that Joye acknowledged her “mentor extraordinaire”, Amiel Francke, O.D., who shares his brilliance about vision and its importance in living an In-Sync life.

The influence of Dr. Francke, a well-known colleague of ours who has practiced in the D.C. area for many years, is evident.  The book is chock full of wonderful explanations, such as the difference between 20/20 eyesight and the visual skills necessary for learning and development.  We now have another source to give parents and other professionals who are looking for activities at home or in school to complement or supplement office-based optometric vision therapy (OVT) activities.  Though these procedures don’t substitute for OVT, there is very useful information categorized as beginning, intermediate and advanced perceptual motor therapy procedures.

Another professional who truly understands what behavioral and developmental optometry has to offer is Lindsey Biel, an occupational therapist I first met when she gave a continuing education lecture at the Annual Meeting of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD).

Lindsey’s book, Raising A Sensory Smart Child, initially published in 2005, won the NAPPA Gold Award and the iParenting media award.  It became available last year in a newly updated and expanded edition with a foreword by Temple Grandin.

In a chapter on dealing with developmental delays, Lindsey does a great job of helping parents understand the indications for seeing an optometrist knowledgeable in vision therapy.  She notes that if your child shows signs of visual problems, such as difficulty reading, headaches and eyestrain, or visual inattention and distractibility, you may be referred to a behavioral optometrist, also called a developmental optometrist.

Lindsey adds that parents should consider taking their child to a behavioral optometrist even if no one has referred them, because an undiagnosed vision problem is a major obstacle for any child.  She also addresses the inadequacy of vision screenings done in school or in a pediatricians office.  I’m proud to say that Lindsey acknowledges input from some of the very best professionals out there, and among them she includes Dr. Fran Reinstein, a developmental optometrist and former student.

Bravo to Carol Kranowitz,  Joye Newman, and Linsdey Biel, three cutting edge child development experts who understand the essential role of optometry and optometric vision therapy in learning.

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