Yesterday was our Resident’s final day with us, but “Dr. Nicole” as she was known in our office isn’t going far. She’ll be joining the practice of a colleague of ours in Northern New Jersey in order to help Dr. Offen expand her vision therapy services. We’ll now be referring to her as Dr. Kress, which won’t be as confusing as it would have been in our office, differentiating between Dr. Press and Dr. Kress. Some people have more trouble differentiating between faces than names, even to the point of not being able to remember a face that they’ve seen numerous times before. This is called prosopagnosia.
Such was the case with Alexander Ruales, a very special 6 year-old patient whose last day of active vision therapy coincided with Dr. Nicole’s last day. I’ve blogged about Alexander before in the context of children on the autistic spectrum who have developmental prosopganosia.
I asked Alexander if I could take his picture together with Dr. Nicole, and he was gracious enough to agree. His mother was pleased that I’d be sharing this information with you. Notice the chart that he’s holding up? It’s a creative idea that Dr. Nicole generated, modeling it after something that has worked for Alexander in his school setting using a banana chart. This is Alexander’s Vision Therapy Raspberry Chart.
At four intervals of 15 minutes into his 60 minute vision therapy sessions, Alexander pauses to color in as many raspberries as he can in sequence with a particularly selected color. He then keeps a running tally of the total number of raspberries colored in. Sure it feeds into his need for ritualistic activities, but the idea was to channel this in a way that effectively engaged him. I asked Alexander’s mother if she felt he would do a YouTube video for us, and we both agreed that you never know quite what to expect from Alexander. He is gifted in so many ways at age 6, his vocabulary and conceptual thinking on par with most college students, but he needs constant direction and re-direction. We were just one of many ongoing therapies that Alexander receives, and his mother was so grateful for what we had accomplished with Alexander in pattern recognition among other visual skills.
Alexander did a wonderful video, but I messed up recording it, so I’ll have to describe it to you in brief. I asked him what he felt the biggest changes were since he began vision therapy, and he noted that he was now able to solve puzzles much better. I asked him if he was referring to “Mind Games“, his mother already having clued me in to this being something that now enjoyed doing. As I was narrating the video, I mentioned that becoming more proficient at parquetry blocks created a skill set that Alexander could used to engage in visualizing how to arrange patterns in Mind Games. Alexander remarked that it was a little bit of a gray area as to how much parquetry blocks related to Mind Games.
Something tells me Alexander will not soon forget Dr. Nicole, nor will she soon forget him. Nor I either of them, and their interactions.