Yo Harry n’ Hal, Am I Motor Enough?

Years ago there were a couple of practitioners who told me I wasn’t “motor enough”.  One of ’em was Hal Wiener, who wrote a monograph called “Eyes OK I’m OK”, long out of print, a primer on motor skills that had wide circulation in special education circles in the late 1970s.  The other was Harry Wachs, who helped set the tone in Optometry for the application of primitive reflexes.  Harry wrote a brilliant chapter in a book of clinical guidelines for the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders (ICDL) on Visual-Spatial Thinking.

By the way, there’s real irony in the ICDL clinical guidelines.  In addition to the chapter by Dr. Wachs, there is one by Dr. Harold Koller.  If the name’s familiar, it’s because he’s the author of the infamous Rubber Ducky article debunked by Dr. Jeff Cooper.  The Quacking Koller Article has been used and abused by various sources to try and discredit optometric vision therapy.  Reading Koller’s chapter in ICDL tells quite another story, essentially qualifying a role for optometric vision therapy particularly in the context of Wachs’s model.  Which brings me to Sophia, who I saw in the office this afternoon.

Sophia has a convergence insufficiency profile, with exophoria greater at near, but appreciable on a cover test at distance as well.  She compensates for her exophoria very well and is very bright, so I have not to date recommended vision therapy for her.  I related signs and symptoms for her father to keep watch on, and when I was discussing how things were going in general with her dad he mentioned that she was a trampoline champion as part of the Ultra Twisters Team, training at the Elite Academy in Middletown, New Jersey! It struck me that Sophia’s exquisite visual-vestibular integration in mastering the trampoline may have aided her in maintaining a very good fusion lock and range.

Sophia’s eyes widened when I told her that we sometimes use a trampoline to help children’s vision when they’re not motor enough.  I pulled it out of one of our vision therapy rooms, and as Paul Harvey used to say, now you know the rest of the story …

– Leonard J. Press, O.D., FCOVD, FAAO

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