I’m Therapy the VIII I Am

Beautiful sunrise this morning in Edison, New Jersey, as I drove to the Crowne Plaza to do a day long seminar for OTs, PTs, Speech-Language Pathologists and Educators.  As mentioned before, these professionals are such a joy to interact with because they readily grasp the significance of vision beyond eyesight.  Today’s attendees were particularly engaged, and we had tremendous interaction and participation.

A thank you to Paul, our A-V pro from PESI  who set up the event as a live webinar for attendees to participate remotely as well.  I observed today, as I reflected on all the barriers to patients receiving vision therapy, that it’s remarkable that we do as well as we do.  When I relate to these professionals the fact that medical organizations have policy statements essentially saying vision has nothing to do with learning, they find it totally illogical.  When I ask if anyone working in a school system has their hand slapped for suggesting to a parent that they consider VT for fear that the school will have to pay for it, I get knowing nods.  Invariably parents have tried every other therapy known to mankind before finding us.  Hippotherapy, pet therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy,  psychotherapy.  I’m therapy the eighth I am.

So often by the time a patient gets to us they’re burned out, overburdened, and over-scheduled.  What?, Dad says.  Another therapy?  Yet despite these obstacles, when we select patients who can benefit from vision therapy, we can have a profound influence on patient’s lives.

Here’s one of the comments that was streamed in to us from a webinar attenedee:

Given the number of individuals who could benefit tremendously from visual behavior therapy, why hasn’t this become a mainstream curriculum requirement of all Ophthalmologists and ODs during training so that they can accurately recognize/identify individuals who have issues that are NOT acuity issues and then refer accordingly. This therapy can be life-changing but those who have these difficulties or parents with children who are struggling either don’t even know something is wrong but functionally struggle, oftentimes for YEARS! – OR – when they pursue evaluation for a vision test, they are told they are fine. Since schools regularly screen vision and hearing, seems like simple tests/tasks that might reveal those with focus, convergence insufficiency, etc. problems could be incorporated into the screening so that those with problems could be potentially be identified and directed for the right kind of evaluation with the right professional! Even a questionnaire like those on the COVD and/or CISS Surveys that a child or parent filled out would be helpful. Then those whose scores that indicate a possible problem in a particular area would be followed up and referred on etc. If my 21 year old had been identified and received this type of therapy when she was young (even though I asked all the right questions to all sorts of professionals), years of frustration, aversion to reading, and academic difficulties might have been avoided.

To that I simply said, “Amen”.

– Leonard J. Press, O.D. FCOVD, FAAO


2 thoughts on “I’m Therapy the VIII I Am

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