In kindergarten, our daughter was progressing well with all academic areas.  Then, to our surprise, we received a call on the last day of school, stating that Grace had not passed a standardized reading test after being tested twice and would be placed in a reading recovery program in first grade.  We were baffled, as sight words and early readers had never been a problem for her and school was an enjoyable place where she excelled.  The next piece of the puzzle came two weeks later, when Grace told us she was seeing objects in bedroom as double while she was going to bed at night.  She told us this repeatedly for a couple of weeks (and also told us she had “spy eyes”).  It was a huge blessing that she was able to convey her vision changes to us.  We had her eyes checked, and were referred to DVG.  After her evaluation with Dr. J Zolman, we learned that she had strabismus and convergence issues.   We began vision therapy twice a week late in the summer.  The start of first grade was extremely challenging.  Words were jumping all over the page… looking from the Smart Board to her paper was difficult… she was frustrated, exhausted, and having trouble processing directions.  Her handwriting was terrible and she could not grip the pencil properly.  Everything seemed chaotic.  She did not enjoy any aspect of school.  I can remember the day in the vision therapy where she learned how to take control of her double vision, and how much it helped her confidence to know that she could fix the problem.  The therapists gave her some tools and tips that she could activate when she started to see double.  That seemed to be a break through, because things began to improve at school too.  During her first quarter at school, her report card stated that she was below grade level in reading.  At the second quarter, she was at grade level and removed from reading recovery.  The third quarter report brought tears of joys to my eyes… reading was above grade level! And the 4th quarter showed a perfect report card in all areas, plus high scores on standardized tests.  Vision therapy is not easy, but it works.  The therapists are good at tailoring their program to meet the needs of the child.  For instance, Grace could not tolerate patch therapy, so other exercises were assigned to her.  I am grateful that Charleston has such a center, and am pleased to see all of the positive changes in Grace this year.  I would wholeheartedly recommend the program to any child or adult experiencing issues with convergence.

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