It was such a joy yesterday to be a plenary speaker and workshop presenter as part of the huge Profectum Conference in New York City. This is a very impressive organization of like-minded professionals and parents who are at the forefront of changing the way we help to guide the development of children with special needs. The work being done at Celebrate the Children in New Jersey is phenomenal. This school devoted entirely to children with special needs is the first, to my knowledge, to import the methodologies pioneered by the developmental optometrist Harry Wachs in Thinking Goes to School and more recently in his book co-authored with Serena Wieder, Ph.D.
I had the privilege of sharing the podium in a plenary presentation with Serena Wieder, and in a workshop presentation with Dr. Mehrnaz Green. Mehry, as she is known to her colleagues, is one of the many reasons why the future of developmental optometry is bright. Influenced at NOVA Southeastern by Drs. Stanley Crossman and Rick Morris in Florida, she became interested in chidden with special needs while under the tutelage of Drs. Celia Hinrichs and Cathy Stern in Boston. She then joined the practice of Dr. Harry Wachs in D.C., and the rest is history.
There was incredible energy in the room yesterday, at The Pennsylvania Hotel in mid-town Manhattan. Our colleague, Dr. Beth Ballinger, made the trip cross-country form California. Earlier this year, Profectum conferred its Humanitarian Award to pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton for three dimensional thinking in autism and stress related disorders. Drs. Brazelton and Greenspan formulated the seven irreducible needs of children, one of which is appropriate developmental experiences.
Clearly an understanding of the pervasive nature of visual/spatial development and its influence on Dr. Greenspan’s model is evident from the chapter written by Dr. Wachs in the ICLD clinical guidelines. It is equally clear that other eyecare practitioners have the potential to grasp the significance of this work. I received many nice comments about my overview of these issues, and the hundreds of attendees gained much insight into the multidimensionality of vision in contrast with the superficial approaches inappropriate to these populations.