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Vision therapy helps kids in school

Even with 20/20 vision, some children could benefit from a trip to the optometrist. Vision screenings check visual acuity, while other testing can reveal problems with how the brain processes signals from the eyes.”Any time a child is struggling in school – not liking to read, can’t read for long periods of time or complains of headaches – we can help,” said Alpine Vision Optometrist Ty Reuter. His Falcon practice offers full eye services, including vision therapy, which strengthens the eyes and how they work together.The College of Optometrists in Vision Development promotes vision therapy to help patients develop or improve visual skills and abilities that are necessary for reading efficiency, comprehension, eye-hand coordination and information processing. Rueter said he performs visual tests to determine if a patient would benefit from vision therapy and then prescribes a series of sessions tailored to the patient’s individual needs.”Vision therapy averages between 20 to 30 sessions,” said Susanne Dunn, vision therapist at Alpine Vision. “It depends on how well the patient completes their 10 to15 minute at-home assignments.”Dunn said she enjoys helping children see and read better. “They come and they think they are stupid because they’ve been told this by teachers and other kids. At the end of the therapy … they gradate (to) a totally different child – full of self-confidence and self-esteem,” Dunn said.”One of my patients, a 10-year old boy, was very hyperactive. His verbal IQ was very high, but his performance was low.” Reviewing his school records, she said she saw pages of teacher comments describing his antics in the classroom, which made her hesitant to begin therapy with him.The child’s behavior began to change after just a few sessions of vision therapy, Dunn said. “He is 15 now, and in the Advanced Placement TAG programs with straight A’s,” she said. “He went from being the kid no one wanted in their class to the ideal student.”Dunn said many children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and similar disorders may actually be in need of vision therapy, instead of prescription drugs. She said the symptoms, such as an inability to focus, are similar.Vision therapy has helped Dunn personally, as well as her daughter, Brianna, who has worn glasses since she was an infant. “We used to spend two hours a night, pulling teeth to get homework done,” she said. After completing the therapy, Dunn said the struggles ended.”The good news is it’s like physical therapy,” Dunn said. “Once it’s fixed, it’s fixed.”

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