According to the Optometrist’s Network, there are a disturbing amount of children who have been misdiagnosed with a variety of different learning disabilities. Often, medication or remedial education is recommended, until someone knowledgeable about functional vision problems steer parents toward an evaluation by a qualified developmental optometrist. In many cases, it is not a learning disability that has been plaguing these children, but a functional vision problem.
When advised of this, parents have implemented vision therapy in conjunction with home vision therapy with great success. The testimonials received have affirmed when a functional vision problem is corrected, many times children previously diagnosed with a learning disability have improved and even excelled in their class, completing homework and reading at a level that until now, had been out of reach.
The frustration for both parents and students can be quite stressful and even life-changing. Doug and his parents struggled for years with his reading problems, until evaluated by a specialist in developmental vision problems. He was diagnosed with functional vision problems and treated with vision therapy, and his parents are overjoyed at the changes. “Vision Therapy has changed our lives”, says Jane Mortenson, Doug’s mother. “With the functional vision problem corrected, it gave us a foundation on which to start remedying the learning skills Doug had missed along the way.” Doug is now taking college prep courses and doing great.
Over and over, parents have described the frustration level of their children, affecting the entire family and inspiring fear their child will be labeled as having a learning disability, which could affect a child’s entire educational career. They describe children who are angry, surly, and struggling with tasks so easy for their peers. When properly diagnosed with a functional vision problem and vision therapy is implemented, the improvement has been impressive and a big relief.
“When Alyson was initially evaluated for Vision Therapy, she was not reading for pleasure at all; it was too frustrating, slow, and straining to her eyes. She felt she was “not smart enough.” She also had regular headaches,” says Patty Seitz Butter, Alyson’s parent. “Alyson noted improvement in her reading ability from early on in her Vision Therapy program. By the end, she was truly enjoying it! Her writing, spelling, and self-esteem all improved!” The only regret Patty has, she said, is they didn’t start vision therapy sooner.
It is difficult for a parent to fight a learning disabled diagnosis from the experts. However, unless the evaluation has included a thorough examination for functional visual problems, it may be a good idea to ask more questions and seek better answers than a misdiagnosis of a learning disability and inappropriate treatment. Vision therapy under the supervision of a qualified specialist in conjunction with home vision therapy can make a huge difference in the life of a child – and the whole family.