Right now E. has finished his first chapter book today. What? Yep, he is 11 and is just now finishing a first chapter book. However, this is a huge accomplishment for him. About two years ago we finally were able to figure out that E. has a vision issue, called Binocular Vision Disorder. We are so happy that we did, because he could finally get the proper help that he needs to strengthen his eyes. Will his vision ever be as good as most people's vision? Most likely not, but it can improve.
This all sounds simple and straightforward, but it has been a nightmare for him and for me. Attending public school has been, and for now is out of the question. 1. Just about everything that is done in school requires reading. 2. The school system does not have anyone trained to help with this. He would be lost. Last year we began with a really great reading and writing curriculum that is called PAF (Preventing Academic Failure). It is a multi-sensory approach to reading and writing and is phonics based, somewhat similar to the Orton-Gillingham Approach, which primarily is for use with persons who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing of the sort associated with dyslexia. We started from the very beginning, just as if he were entering kindergarten, and now we are just beginning level 3. We are so grateful to our pediatrician, Dr. Grove, as he first caught on that this may be the problem, and directed us to a great vision specialist.
This was not an easy thing to catch. I am happy that Eoghan was able to be honest and let his doctor know everything that he was feeling, so that he could be seen by his eye specialist, Dr. Keene. He had told me some of the symptoms, but I just didn't know. I had a feeling something wasn't right, perhaps that he might have dyslexia, but since he had seen the eye doctor many times and had always come up with 20/20 vision I assumed his vision was fine. Years of breakdowns, feelings he had as if he was not smart enough, perhaps that he was being lazy or just not paying attention. Poor kid! How could he possibly concentrate while all this was going on for him. It is difficult talking openly about this, but I feel as does Eoghan (he wanted me to post this) that if other parents hear about this maybe they could get their children or young adults, or themselves the help that they need.
You or your child may not have all of these, but here are some of the issues Eoghan has now or has had:
-headaches while looking at a page
-flipping of letters or numbers
-inability to sit for long and focus
-words that move around or float off the page
-if words, numbers, or images are written without being colored in or on a white background they can actually float up off the page
-skipping of letters, numbers, words, or sentences
-inability to track words while reading, even if following along with a finger
-learning a word or sound and then forgetting it seconds later
-unable to copy work from another page or blackboard, or doing it very slowly
We are sure that there are more, but can't think of more now. Eoghan and I both hope that someone out there will catch a vision problem because of this post. As Dr. Keene let us know, he believes that at least 50% of children or youth who are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, actually have some form of Binocular Vision disorder. Now, how horrible and horrifically exasperating would that be for anyone? And instead of getting the proper help, they end up being medicated for something they don't even have.Uggghhhh! Also, if you know of anybody that could be experiencing any of these, please send them this way.
So to end on a good note, it can get better as it has for E. You should have seen the smile on his face when he closed that book as he finished. Just lovely.
The book by the way was this: